Right Speech

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
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Geonny
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Right Speech

Post by Geonny » Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:42 pm

What are your thoughts on right speech?

Thus I have read. The Buddha advised to not speak if it were to cause unpleasantness or cause someone to be upset or to cause harm. And to not speak or “argue” if it is not about dukkha. At least that is how I interpret it.


“Five keys to right speech
Monks, a statement endowed with five factors is well-spoken, not ill-spoken. It is blameless & unfaulted by knowledgeable people. Which five?

It is spoken at the right time. It is spoken in truth. It is spoken affectionately. It is spoken beneficially. It is spoken with a mind of good-will.

— AN 5.198”

“Speak only words that do no harm:
One should speak only that word by which one would not torment oneself nor harm others. That word is indeed well spoken.

One should speak only pleasant words, words which are acceptable (to others). What one speaks without bringing evils to others is pleasant.

— Thag 21”

“Abandoning abusive speech, he abstains from abusive speech. He speaks words that are soothing to the ear, that are affectionate, that go to the heart, that are polite, appealing & pleasing to people at large.”

“Monks, do not wage wordy warfare, saying: 'You don't understand this Dhamma and discipline, I understand this Dhamma and discipline'; 'How could you understand it? You have fallen into wrong practices: I have the right practice'; 'You have said afterwards what you should have said first, and you have said first what you should have said afterwards'; 'What I say is consistent, what you say isn't'; 'What you have thought out for so long is entirely reversed'; 'Your statement is refuted'; 'You are talking rubbish!'; 'You are in the wrong'; 'Get out of that if you can!'

Why should you not do this? Such talk, monks, is not related to the goal, it is not fundamental to the holy life, does not conduce to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, tranquillity, higher knowledge, enlightenment or to Nibbana. When you have discussions, monks, you should discuss Suffering, the Arising of Suffering, its Cessation, and the Path that leads to its Cessation. Why is that? Because such talk is related to the goal... it conduces to disenchantment... to Nibbana. This is the task you must accomplish."

— SN 56.9”

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dha ... index.html

Does this outweigh your beliefs that right speech of the dhamma be upheld, even if it were to cause someone to be upset by proving them wrong? Is it more important to be right and prove someone else wrong? Or do you think you should let it be and let them have incorrect knowledge of the dhamma and not upset them?

With Metta
Grant
Last edited by Geonny on Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Geonny

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Zom
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Re: Right Speech

Post by Zom » Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:48 pm

MN 58 - the best sutta on Right Speech. Unfortunately, suitable in full only for The Buddha .)

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Geonny
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Re: Right Speech

Post by Geonny » Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:52 pm

Zom wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:48 pm
MN 58 - the best sutta on Right Speech. Unfortunately, suitable in full only for The Buddha .)
Thank you.
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Geonny

Dan74
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Re: Right Speech

Post by Dan74 » Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:54 pm

I am in favour of gente speech on Forums. When folks adopt an aggressive attitude, I tend to withdraw. Not sure if this is really the best way, but I confess to being averse to conflict. Especially in a dhammic environment. IRL, I've learnt to stand my ground when necessary.
_/|\_

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Geonny
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Re: Right Speech

Post by Geonny » Sat Aug 31, 2019 2:36 am

Dan74 wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:54 pm
I am in favour of gente speech on Forums. When folks adopt an aggressive attitude, I tend to withdraw. Not sure if this is really the best way, but I confess to being averse to conflict. Especially in a dhammic environment. IRL, I've learnt to stand my ground when necessary.
Thanks for your input. Appreciate you. Have a good weekend!
With Metta
Geonny

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WindDancer
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Re: Right Speech

Post by WindDancer » Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:45 am

I live an active daily life practice. Right (or wise) speech is one of my primary areas of focus. I have listened to several Dhamma talks on the subject, and I was inspired to stop the talk and write down what was shared. I wrote the following on a bright yellow sticky note, and I placed it at eye level on the door of a kitchen cabinet that I access every day. Each day the note reminds me to practice:

Wise Speech

1. Is it truthful

2. Is it kind

3. Is is useful

4. Does it build concord

5. Is it timely


I actively practice these principles in my daily interaction with others. In addition, I practice principles which I have learned from 12 Step recovery. I do my best to maintain Honest, Clear and Direct communication. I do my best to honor my word. I practice being a safe person, mindfully vigilant of my words, thoughts and actions which are guided by the spiritual principles of being loving, kind, patient and tolerant. I have learned that sometimes the most skillful speech is to not speak at all. Lastly, I have sponsored several men in recovery. I am guided to speak in ways, tone and in timing that creates the best opportunity for their spiritual growth. Sometimes this means that I mainly practice being a good listener, allowing them to find their way. Sometimes this means sharing a difficult truth with them which could put our friendship at risk. I was taught that at times we need to put their needs ahead of our wants, living by the principle that I love them enough to allow them to hate me. Their progress on the spiritual Path is more important than me trying to look good or trying to protect myself or our friendship.

Thanks for the discussion on this topic.

Easy does it,

WindDancer
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Anthony
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Re: Right Speech

Post by Anthony » Sat Aug 31, 2019 1:25 pm

WindDancer wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:45 am
I live an active daily life practice. Right (or wise) speech is one of my primary areas of focus. I have listened to several Dhamma talks on the subject, and I was inspired to stop the talk and write down what was shared

WindDancer
Thanks for the great post, WindDancer. Any chance you happen to recall where you heard these talks? I’d love to listen to them too.

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Geonny
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Re: Right Speech

Post by Geonny » Sat Aug 31, 2019 1:53 pm

WindDancer wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:45 am
I live an active daily life practice. Right (or wise) speech is one of my primary areas of focus. I have listened to several Dhamma talks on the subject, and I was inspired to stop the talk and write down what was shared. I wrote the following on a bright yellow sticky note, and I placed it at eye level on the door of a kitchen cabinet that I access every day. Each day the note reminds me to practice:

Wise Speech

1. Is it truthful

2. Is it kind

3. Is is useful

4. Does it build concord

5. Is it timely


I actively practice these principles in my daily interaction with others. In addition, I practice principles which I have learned from 12 Step recovery. I do my best to maintain Honest, Clear and Direct communication. I do my best to honor my word. I practice being a safe person, mindfully vigilant of my words, thoughts and actions which are guided by the spiritual principles of being loving, kind, patient and tolerant. I have learned that sometimes the most skillful speech is to not speak at all. Lastly, I have sponsored several men in recovery. I am guided to speak in ways, tone and in timing that creates the best opportunity for their spiritual growth. Sometimes this means that I mainly practice being a good listener, allowing them to find their way. Sometimes this means sharing a difficult truth with them which could put our friendship at risk. I was taught that at times we need to put their needs ahead of our wants, living by the principle that I love them enough to allow them to hate me. Their progress on the spiritual Path is more important than me trying to look good or trying to protect myself or our friendship.

Thanks for the discussion on this topic.

Easy does it,

WindDancer
This is great. Thank you for taking the time to type this out and give us a peek into your daily life and practice of right speech. Much appreciated.

With Metta
Grant
With Metta
Geonny

binocular
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Re: Right Speech

Post by binocular » Sat Aug 31, 2019 2:35 pm

Dan74 wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:54 pm
I am in favour of gente speech on Forums. When folks adopt an aggressive attitude, I tend to withdraw. Not sure if this is really the best way, but I confess to being averse to conflict. Especially in a dhammic environment.
Then what's the point of a discussion forum, if one is supposed to walk on eggshells all the time?

Some people keep confusing use of force and violence/aggressiveness.
One can use force with a variety of intentions, not necessarily only with ill will. For example, when moving furniture before painting a room, one uses force, but not with ill will. Similar in conversation.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

sunnat
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Re: Right Speech

Post by sunnat » Sat Aug 31, 2019 3:32 pm

When someone wants to discuss something using wrong speech then the inclination to use wrong speech becomes the issue to deal with. Wrong speech is born of ignorance of the consequences, namely the creation of misery. Knowing that, it is wrong to encourage it but if a correct response is not timely or does not have a foundation of metta, it is probably best to be quiet. Everyone owns their kamma and if someone is generally looking towards nibbana there's every chance that the correct response will be given at some time by someone else or in time a self realisation will dawn. Basically, negativities are really opportunities to develop.

Dan74
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Re: Right Speech

Post by Dan74 » Sat Aug 31, 2019 5:56 pm

binocular wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 2:35 pm
Dan74 wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:54 pm
I am in favour of gente speech on Forums. When folks adopt an aggressive attitude, I tend to withdraw. Not sure if this is really the best way, but I confess to being averse to conflict. Especially in a dhammic environment.
Then what's the point of a discussion forum, if one is supposed to walk on eggshells all the time?

Some people keep confusing use of force and violence/aggressiveness.
One can use force with a variety of intentions, not necessarily only with ill will. For example, when moving furniture before painting a room, one uses force, but not with ill will. Similar in conversation.
I am all for robust discussion. What helps though, is active listening, that is, trying to understand where the discussion partner is coming from, interpreting their posts in the way that makes the most sense, not the way that most easily lends itself to an condescending rebuttal.

I think a lot of time people on for a tend to talk past each other, because 1. they start from a very different set of initial premises/assumptions/life experiences, and 2. because they are not really interested in understanding what the other person means, but rather to reaffirm their views, by winning the argument/trying to persuade the other/etc. A gentle kind approach and an open, active interest in the others helps, in my experience. Not to say that I excel at it or anything. But also as a teacher, I try to cultivate this attitude in the classroom.
_/|\_

Dan74
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Re: Right Speech

Post by Dan74 » Sat Aug 31, 2019 5:57 pm

Geonny wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 2:36 am
Dan74 wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:54 pm
I am in favour of gente speech on Forums. When folks adopt an aggressive attitude, I tend to withdraw. Not sure if this is really the best way, but I confess to being averse to conflict. Especially in a dhammic environment. IRL, I've learnt to stand my ground when necessary.
Thanks for your input. Appreciate you. Have a good weekend!
Thank you, Geonny. Have a great weekend too, there in New Jersey.
_/|\_

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WindDancer
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Re: Right Speech

Post by WindDancer » Sat Aug 31, 2019 7:01 pm

Anthony wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 1:25 pm
WindDancer wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:45 am
I live an active daily life practice. Right (or wise) speech is one of my primary areas of focus. I have listened to several Dhamma talks on the subject, and I was inspired to stop the talk and write down what was shared

WindDancer
Thanks for the great post, WindDancer. Any chance you happen to recall where you heard these talks? I’d love to listen to them too.
As you know, Right Speech is part of the Noble Eight Fold Path. I think the talk that had this list was by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Here is a link to the page that offers this talk: https://www.dhammatalks.org/mp3_collect ... html#eight

I don't know your experience. I just offer this in case it may be helpful. I have listened to hundreds of hours of talks and guided meditations. As suggested by others, I started listening to talks from the Insight Meditation Center found at https://www.audiodharma.org. Being from the USA, I found that the talks offered at IMC were oriented in such a way to help those of us from the West enter into an understanding of the Dhamma. I like the fact that on the left side of the screen there is a list of topics from which to choose. You can also select talks from various teachers. This is how I learned of the Thai Forest Tradition. This led me to listen to talks by Ajahn Amaro and others at Amaravati. https://www.amaravati.org/category/teachings/

As I grew, I was led to listen to talks by teachers at Abhayagiri Forest Monastery. https://www.abhayagiri.org/talks

Most recently I have been listening to a wide selection of talks by Thanissaro Bhikkhu at the Metta Forest Monastery. https://www.watmetta.org/

I have also listened to talks by teachers at Spirit Rock and the Insight Meditation Society found at https://www.dharmaseed.org/talks/
Live Gently....

binocular
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Re: Right Speech

Post by binocular » Sat Aug 31, 2019 8:35 pm

Dan74 wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 5:56 pm
I am all for robust discussion. What helps though, is active listening, that is, trying to understand where the discussion partner is coming from,
Except to some extent for the Personal experience section, forum discussions are about exploring and understanding a topic, not the other person.
The people are often quite irrelevant per se and replaceable in such discussions; someone with sufficient knowledge can pick up where the other person has left off, because Dhamma topics are not personal. That's the whole point. Like in mathematics where all that is needed and all that matters to discuss mathematics is knowledge of mathematics.

It's tough to have to discuss the Dhamma on terms suitable for the setting of a family dinner or a watercooler conversation.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Re: Right Speech

Post by DooDoot » Sat Aug 31, 2019 8:53 pm

Geonny wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:42 pm
What are your thoughts on right speech?

Thus I have read. The Buddha advised to not speak if it were to cause unpleasantness or cause someone to be upset or to cause harm.
Buddhist right speech is probably not 'political correctness' & 'censorship'. In this era of 'political correctness', getting upset is a considered a 'virtue'; therefore anything we say may cause a SJW to get 'upset'.
Potaliya, of these four people, it is the person who criticizes those deserving of criticism at the right time, truthfully and substantively; and praises those deserving of praise at the right time, truthfully and substantively. That is the person I consider to be the finest. Why is that? Because, Potaliya, understanding of time and context is the best.

https://suttacentral.net/an4.100/en/sujato

Potaliya, of all those four kinds of people, whichever kind of person blames those who should be blamed, according to the truth, at the proper time, and praises those who should be praised, according to the truth, at the proper time; this kind of person is the most beautiful and refined of these four kinds of people. What is the reason for this? It is fair and right because such a one knows the right time in those circumstances

http://pintojukjun.blogspot.com/2011/09 ... WreuS4zZnI
:candle:
Geonny wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:42 pm
He speaks words that are soothing to the ear, that are affectionate, that go to the heart, that are polite, appealing & pleasing to people at large.
So when the world or people at large delight in immorality, do we speak words that appeal to this immorality? :shrug:
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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