On cussing

No holds barred discussion on the Buddhadharma. Argue about rebirth, karma, commentarial interpretations etc. Be nice to each other.

Is cussing wrong speech?

Yes - always
7
27%
No - never
0
No votes
Yes, but only when in public
0
No votes
Yes, but only when used with anger/frustration
4
15%
Yes, but only when with intention to do harm to another
15
58%
Yes, but only when used around children
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 26

On cussing

Postby Ogyen » Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:20 pm

Is cussing (in any language) and the use of profanity wrong speech?
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Re: On cussing

Postby underthetree » Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:29 pm

I really hope not.
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Re: On cussing

Postby Blue Garuda » Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:23 pm

Ogyen wrote:Is cussing (in any language) and the use of profanity wrong speech?


Depends upon your intention.

Yelling at a child about to run into the road and including the odd swear-word at the time, in order to shock them and get their attention, would be highly compassionate.

Profane also implies sacred as its opposite, but I can't see a difference between cussing based on religion and cussing based on sex organs - in the end it is done for shock or emphasis by those who often regard it as normal. So again, someone whose every third word begins with 'f' may not have a negative intent.

It's like a stick - to some it is a crutch, to others a weapon. ;)
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Re: On cussing

Postby kirtu » Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:27 pm

Ogyen wrote:Is cussing (in any language) and the use of profanity wrong speech?


Yes. This is definitely true when directed against others and is used to aggressively control others. When used to alert people to a life and death issue it is upaya (this doesn't happen that much). When used privately as a comment it is still a form of aggression and thus at least wrong speech. When used in frustration it is still wrong speech.

Observe your mind and see if this isn't true.

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Re: On cussing

Postby Tara » Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:37 pm

Ogyen wrote:Is cussing (in any language) and the use of profanity wrong speech?


Would you be interested in setting up a poll to run alongside this thread? Sometimes people don't post but may consider making an anonymous vote. There have already been differing views posted.

Just a thought.

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Re: On cussing

Postby dharmagoat » Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:39 pm

I will swear occasionally in fun, but almost never in anger. Swearing can be humorous, especially if one is parodying the kind of things that an angry person might say. I don't know how buddhist playful swearing is, but it seems harmless enough. There are however a few disrespectful swear words that are always harmful and therefore never funny.
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Re: On cussing

Postby Blue Garuda » Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:39 pm

Tara wrote:
Ogyen wrote:Is cussing (in any language) and the use of profanity wrong speech?


Would you be interested in setting up a poll to run alongside this thread? Sometimes people don't post but may consider making an anonymous vote. There have already been differing views posted.

Just a thought.

Regards,


I think we should vote on whether or not a poll would be useful here. LOL :)
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Re: On cussing

Postby dharmagoat » Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:42 pm

I vote that it is not useful to vote on whether we should vote.

Edit: Apologies Tara, I couldn't resist.
Last edited by dharmagoat on Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: On cussing

Postby Tara » Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:44 pm

Blue Garuda wrote:I think we should vote on whether or not a poll would be useful here. LOL :)


Image :lol:

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Re: On cussing

Postby Ogyen » Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:03 pm

A poll would be great! I'm curious to take it to a vote.
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Re: On cussing

Postby Tara » Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:24 pm

Ogyen wrote:A poll would be great! I'm curious to take it to a vote.



OK. I am not sure whether you will still be able to create a poll yourself because of the time limit for editing posts, you get one hour. :)

Maybe you could have a quick check. If you cannot create a poll please let me know via PM what you want the poll consist of and I will be happy to set it up.

Regards,
Tara

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Major texts, personal instructions, private notes, whatever.
If you haven’t practiced, books won’t help you when you die.
Look at the mind – that’s my sincere advice.

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Re: On cussing

Postby Adumbra » Sat Jun 23, 2012 1:39 am

I never understood the concept of a curse word until very recently.

In english, every curse word I know of has a synonym that is not a curse word and can be uttered on network television:

Shit = feces
Prick = penis
vagina = vagina
frak = intercourse, coitus

I wondered why only one of these synonyms is considered taboo while the others are okay.

When I studied linguistics, my question was answered: All curse words are derived from old saxon while most of their non-cursing equivalents are French interlopers. Our culture's taboo against cursing is really is cultural taboo against the saxon language. Apparently French words (derived from Latin) are just more cultured and classy than crude, anglo-saxon ones. It's cultural imperialism at its most subtle!

Kind of off-topic I know; but I thought you might find this interesting.
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Re: On cussing

Postby Ogyen » Sat Jun 23, 2012 1:59 am

Adumbra wrote:I never understood the concept of a curse word until very recently.

In english, every curse word I know of has a synonym that is not a curse word and can be uttered on network television:

Shit = feces
Prick = penis
vagina = vagina
frak = intercourse, coitus

I wondered why only one of these synonyms is considered taboo while the others are okay.

When I studied linguistics, my question was answered: All curse words are derived from old saxon while most of their non-cursing equivalents are French interlopers. Our culture's taboo against cursing is really is cultural taboo against the saxon language. Apparently French words (derived from Latin) are just more cultured and classy than crude, anglo-saxon ones. It's cultural imperialism at its most subtle!

Kind of off-topic I know; but I thought you might find this interesting.


Having studied linguistics as well as speaking 4 languages, the etymology of words and the contextual/cultural applications of cussing are of great interest to me. Language largely shapes/colors how people think and formulate their perceptions of the world. The FCC has JUST changed the long-standing regulation of censoring language on US broadcast tv (and showing nudity) which gave rise the question in my original post. Now broadcasts on tv will air with all the 'explicit language' unedited out of its original scripting. Live performers can openly curse as well. So the question is... is this wrong speech when it becomes accepted in the main stream?

What IS the context of verbal profanity from a Buddhist perspective?
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Re: On cussing

Postby Indrajala » Sat Jun 23, 2012 3:00 am

Ogyen wrote:Is cussing (in any language) and the use of profanity wrong speech?


It would probably be classed as harsh speech, therefore unwholesome.

However, it depends on the motivation. It is also community specific.
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Re: On cussing

Postby Nighthawk » Sat Jun 23, 2012 7:02 am

The precept of abstaining from false speech is probably the most difficult by far as false speech can also include sarcasm, talking about irrelevant things, joking around etc.
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Re: On cussing

Postby tomamundsen » Sat Jun 23, 2012 7:49 am

I'm not a Kagyupa, but Kenpo Karthar Rinpoche explains harsh speech:

Harsh and Offensive Speech
This type of unvirtuous action of speech means engaging in speech that is generally offensive. It includes obscenity and other kinds of coarse talk that tend to upset people. Harsh speech is involved mainly with the emotions of anger and ignorance. It is possible, but not very likely, for this to involve attachment. Speaking harsh words out of ignorance often happens for those who are raised in an environment where such words are common and they become very accustomed to such language. People may develop a habitual pattern of harsh words that are offensive to others without really having any intention of hurting anyone. On the other hand, harsh and offensive speech under the influence of anger means using such language to hurt others, to give them pain and suffering. There is also the possibility of harsh words involving attachment. If we are very attached to relatives or friends and fear losing them, we may think we can control them by using harsh words.

The Tibetan word TSIK TUK, which means "harsh words" also means "criticism." It has a lot to do with the intention of the words being used. Some words may seem to be very gently spoken, but if their intention is to misguide someone, that is regarded as harsh words. In contrast, someone may speak in a very rough, angry or aggressive way, but if their intention is to help we must not misunderstand that. Speaking with an aggressive intent is what is meant by harsh words.
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Re: On cussing

Postby odysseus » Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:06 am

kirtu wrote:
Ogyen wrote:Is cussing (in any language) and the use of profanity wrong speech?


Yes. This is definitely true when directed against others and is used to aggressively control others. When used to alert people to a life and death issue it is upaya (this doesn't happen that much). When used privately as a comment it is still a form of aggression and thus at least wrong speech. When used in frustration it is still wrong speech.

Observe your mind and see if this isn't true.

Kirt


I totally agree. Although I´m no better than the next man regarding such speech. To my credit I have started to become disgusted with myself when using bad language and I´m trying to tune it down as best I can.
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Re: On cussing

Postby seeker242 » Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:34 pm

Depends entirely on the situation, IMO. I once overheard a Zen Master monk cuss at a novice monk for not doing what he was supposed to be doing. There was a plumber there to work at the temple. The monk was supposed to be helping and watching the plumber to make sure he did the job right, etc. Instead, the monk took it upon himself to jump in the car with the other monks to go to the store or something and leave the plumber there by himself. The Zen Master saw him and came running out to the car. He asked him "Why are you not in there with the plumber like I asked you to be?!" The monk said "Umm...well...he seemed ok by himself..." The Zen Master said "What?! He seemed ok?! That guy is in there smoking a Fuc*&#% cigar!" The monk got all flustered and then ran inside, lol. You could tell the Zen Master was not actually angry or upset but was only teaching the monk. He cussed at the monk, but it wasn't wrong speech I don't think. :)
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Re: On cussing

Postby Dechen Norbu » Mon Jul 09, 2012 2:56 pm

Seldom we can have universal rules that prescribe a certain type of behavior relative to speech. Cussing is not an exception. If there are situations and cultures where it is acceptable - environments where not using this speech is even a motive for being ostracized - in other occasions it is seen as offensive. Of course people getting offended by words that they consider "impure" are having a problem in its own right, but those aware of it should try to respect each one's sensibility for the sake of not causing pain. Among prudish people, in most cases, it wouldn't be wise to use such language as they would find it offensive. Prudish people also tend to be rather self righteous and the two are quite linked in terms of psychological processes it seems.

So it depends, not only of the intention but also of the overall context, environment and so on. Some Buddhists will feel offended by hearing such vocabulary, especially those who pay more attention to form and less to substance.

Nevertheless and especially to a serious Vajrayana Buddhist, feeling offended when hearing a certain word is sign of a very poor practice and little understanding. The word, in itself, has no intrinsic value. Feeling offended or having one's "sensibility" hurt by hearing it is ridiculous to a serious practitioner. At most, if the word is spoken by someone in anger for instance, compassion should arise for such person instead of repulsion for the word itself.
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Re: On cussing

Postby odysseus » Tue Jul 10, 2012 7:29 am

Dechen Norbu wrote:Nevertheless and especially to a serious Vajrayana Buddhist, feeling offended when hearing a certain word is sign of a very poor practice and little understanding. The word, in itself, has no intrinsic value. Feeling offended or having one's "sensibility" hurt by hearing it is ridiculous to a serious practitioner. At most, if the word is spoken by someone in anger for instance, compassion should arise for such person instead of repulsion for the word itself.


What do you think about racist name-calling? OK, compassion for the person is well-developed practice but I would not say that your practice or understanding is poor just because one finds such words disturbing.
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