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Practicing Right Speech - Dhamma Wheel

Practicing Right Speech

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
jackson
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Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2009 4:40 am

Practicing Right Speech

Postby jackson » Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:06 pm

Hi everyone,
I'm wondering how all of you balance true speech with speech that does not harm, this is an issue I've been having trouble with, as sometimes I feel put on the spot because I do not want to lie to the person but I also don't wish to hurt their feelings. For instance, if someone asked you how some food they made tasted, and they clearly weren't looking for criticism but you weren't very keen on it, what would be a good response? Personally, I feel it's kind of deceitful to mislead someone into believing you really like something when you don't so there are times when I'm at a loss as to what to say...
Looking forward to hearing your replies, :smile:
Jackson
"The heart of the path is quite easy. There’s no need to explain anything at length. Let go of love and hate and let things be. That’s all that I do in my own practice." - Ajahn Chah

Kaktus
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Re: Practicing Right Speech

Postby Kaktus » Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:18 pm

Hi,

in my sight of view the main point in not lying is not to harm anyone. So in the case of a polite, but untruthful answer no harm has been done. On the other hand, a true, but unpolite answer will be harmful. Asking whether the meal was fine doesn´t normaly expect a true, but a polite answer. If i want to know a straight answer whether my cooking is ok i ask straighforward and not in an chating manner.

As in every other aspect of life just try to get the less harmful way. Try to find the middle way and don´t attach to the letters of a commandment without scrutinizing ist from case to case.

Frank
English isn´t my native language. So please accept my apologies for my kind of spelling and grammar ;-)

ajahndoe
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Re: Practicing Right Speech

Postby ajahndoe » Wed Jan 05, 2011 2:03 pm

The Buddha's "code" for Right Speech concerning lies was that any lie whatsoever was to be avoided. This would include what we call "white lies". For one who tells a deliberate lie, there is nothing that they might not come to do (in other words unwholesome acts). Lying casually creates a trend of untruthful/deceitful conduct; even white lies in this way are unskillful karma, maintaining or strengthening the habit of the mind to think of lying as an option in the first place. This is unskillful indeed when we consider that white lies are told to make people feel better or spare them some hurt feelings; they are not necessary lies, but ones told for self-comfort for both parties. Catering to the self's desire to avoid unpleasant realities is why we are bound in Samsara. We must fully experience and accept the dukkha of our lives as being mind-made through unclear vision, and then seek to correct that vision. Falsehood only further confounds our journey toward the truth of mind and all transient things.

A koan helps to illustrate this point.
(paraphrased) "The Buddha is sitting beneath a tree in a forest when a white rabbit goes running past him into a bush. Shortly thereafter a man comes running along and, spotting the Buddha, stops. He quickly explains that his son is in dire need of meat broth or will surely perish, as has been explained to him by a medicine man, and asks the Buddha which direction the rabbit went."

This seems a troublesome paradox, for the Buddha would be aiding in the taking of life if he tells the man that the rabbit is in the bush. On the other hand the child's life is on the line. What would the Buddha do?

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Spiny O'Norman
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Re: Practicing Right Speech

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Wed Jan 05, 2011 2:47 pm


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andre9999
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Re: Practicing Right Speech

Postby andre9999 » Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:04 pm


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cooran
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Re: Practicing Right Speech

Postby cooran » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:21 pm

---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Annapurna
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Re: Practicing Right Speech

Postby Annapurna » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:53 pm

http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/

jackson
Posts: 245
Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2009 4:40 am

Re: Practicing Right Speech

Postby jackson » Thu Jan 06, 2011 1:04 am

Thanks for your replies everyone! :smile:
They've been helpful and I can see that there's multiple ways to approach this problem. I think I'll try putting more of an emphasis on gratitude next time. Right speech can be so tricky!
With metta,
Jackson
"The heart of the path is quite easy. There’s no need to explain anything at length. Let go of love and hate and let things be. That’s all that I do in my own practice." - Ajahn Chah

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khlawng
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Re: Practicing Right Speech

Postby khlawng » Thu Jan 06, 2011 2:40 am


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Hanzze
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Re: Practicing Right Speech

Postby Hanzze » Thu Jan 06, 2011 3:17 am

_/\_
Last edited by Hanzze on Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Just that! *smile*


BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Nate sante baram sokham _()_

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ground
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Re: Practicing Right Speech

Postby ground » Thu Jan 06, 2011 4:49 am


pompous_ass1
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Re: Practicing Right Speech

Postby pompous_ass1 » Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:00 am

Right speech is not always saying what people want to hear. First and foremost, right speech is honest and truthful speech. Often people don't want to hear the truth and it offends and hurts their feelings. That is not the fault of the person telling it...that is just the way it is. This does not mean that the truth should not be expressed. Disillusionment is the doorway to enlightenment. If you are suffering from delusions, then hearing the truth may set you free. There is no good reason to be politically correct about your expressions of the truth so long as those expressions are intent on being truthful and using that truth for the good of those you hope will hear it. Just say what needs to be said and walk away...it will resonate in the mind of the hearer and possibly, without your knowledge, change something within them for the good. The truth is always the greatest compassion. The reaction of the hearer is not your sole responsibility...a person's reactions are also their responsibility, completely within their realm of control and there is nothing you can do about that except be as gentle in you expression as possible. After that, it's out of your hands. You can only control yourself, not others. You can only take so much to heart. Its better to say what needs to be said no matter the risks to peoples sensibilities, IMNSHO. It's a judgement call...but it's not that difficult if your loyalty is to the truth. Either way, you do what you think is right, and you live with the consequences...and things almost never turn out the way you would like them to, especially when it comes to people...and so be it. Accept it...do what needs to be done. There is no sense in walking around on eggshells uncomfortable about saying what you know to be true.
Last edited by pompous_ass1 on Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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bodom
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Re: Practicing Right Speech

Postby bodom » Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:25 am

To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

pompous_ass1
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:58 pm

Re: Practicing Right Speech

Postby pompous_ass1 » Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:40 am

Truth is not always agreeable to others...I find that dogmatic to say that what ever you say, even if it is absolutely truthful and demostrably so, it must be "agreeable" to the hearer. That is impossible, even if you have a good rapport with the person that they will always be "agreeable" to hearing the truth. People cling very strongly to their delusions and biases. Does this mean that you should never address them? I don't think so. Buddha never meant for us to be silent in the face of foolishness...or that we should take so much to heart that you cannot control about the reactions of others.

pompous_ass1
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:58 pm

Re: Practicing Right Speech

Postby pompous_ass1 » Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:44 am

If the wise never speak in fear that what they say will be disagreeable to the fool who disagrees because he is a fool, then the fools will rule the world.

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bodom
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Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Practicing Right Speech

Postby bodom » Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:45 am

To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

pompous_ass1
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:58 pm

Re: Practicing Right Speech

Postby pompous_ass1 » Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:53 am

It can very well be skillful to walk away and let them digest it themselves rather than have them further resent your expressions and resist them out of ignorant pride...let them hear your words, see the truth in them for themselves, rather than assaulting them with it.

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bodom
Posts: 5713
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Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Practicing Right Speech

Postby bodom » Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:57 am

To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

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Khalil Bodhi
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Re: Practicing Right Speech

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:59 am

To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

Uposatha Observance Club:
My Practice Blog:

pompous_ass1
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:58 pm

Re: Practicing Right Speech

Postby pompous_ass1 » Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:00 am

As for "the right time" ...there is no such thing. Ever heard the expression-- "The fool waits for perfect weather"...there is no such thing as perfect weather, and there is also no perfect time to say what needs to be said.


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