Harsh Speech

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

Harsh Speech

Postby windsweptliberty » Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:03 am

In a forum such as this I think right speech is absolutely crucial! There are people relying on this forum to be free of fear, hostility, and opression - that which runs rampant in most lives. And there are those that may be guided by the advice given. Those seeking refuge. Sadly, I see so much harsh speech and ocassionally even ganging up in this forum. I suggest that all those envolved in this forum speak in a way that gives rise to happiness and peace in oneself and others; And not be so certain that their own point of view, their own references, their own knowledge is the only one worthy of common courtesy. This is what I suggest. :rules:
User avatar
windsweptliberty
 
Posts: 50
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:36 pm

Re: Harsh Speech

Postby lowlydog » Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:14 am

Right speech is very difficult to practice, at the retreats I attend noble silence is observed for this reason.
Chattering and serious meditation do not go well together.
Why do you put this forum on such a high pedistal, it's a public forum open to anyone with a computer.
Also, just because someone considers themselves a buddhist does not automatically free them from ignorance.
If you have expectations from this forum to be and act in a certain fashion them I'm sorry but you will suffer.

be happy :smile:
lowlydog
 
Posts: 371
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:50 pm

Re: Harsh Speech

Postby songhill » Mon Dec 17, 2012 4:08 am

windsweptliberty wrote:In a forum such as this I think right speech is absolutely crucial! There are people relying on this forum to be free of fear, hostility, and opression - that which runs rampant in most lives. And there are those that may be guided by the advice given. Those seeking refuge. Sadly, I see so much harsh speech and ocassionally even ganging up in this forum. I suggest that all those envolved in this forum speak in a way that gives rise to happiness and peace in oneself and others; And not be so certain that their own point of view, their own references, their own knowledge is the only one worthy of common courtesy. This is what I suggest. :rules:


The way you present it, perhaps not posting on Dharma Wheel might be the best solution for all of us. That way nobody gets their feelings hurt or their feathers ruffled. :smile:
User avatar
songhill
 
Posts: 245
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:23 am

Re: Harsh Speech

Postby windsweptliberty » Mon Dec 17, 2012 5:03 am

Thanks for the concern (no cynicism), I don't feel personally offended by the use of harsh speech on this forum but I certainly feel for other forum users that I have encountered who harsh speech has been inflicted upon. Fortunely, I haven't been a target yet. I can be honest, I guess I did expect that Budhhist discussion forum would practice right speech and by doing so, perhaps I did expect too much. (good dream) Still, I can see why the Buddha called right speech a gift. What a treasure it is to receive it.
User avatar
windsweptliberty
 
Posts: 50
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:36 pm

Re: Harsh Speech

Postby futerko » Mon Dec 17, 2012 6:38 am

Personally, it's water off a duck's back. Seeing beyond ego includes more than just seeing beyond one's own ego. If someone is insulting to make a point then the point may still be valid and require a response, which seems preferable to focusing on the insult.

The issue for me seems more about the modes of valid discourse. Some people take their authority from the scriptures, others from what their guru said...
It seems to me that there is something quite unsatisfactory about such appeals to authority based upon "the other" rather than speaking from the basis of one's own experience.
Questions of who is right and why seem to detract both from the enjoyment of participating in the forum, and from the practice of Buddhism (i.e. no-self, no views, no absolute right on this dualistic and relative medium).
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
User avatar
futerko
 
Posts: 993
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:58 am

Re: Harsh Speech

Postby Ayu » Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:17 am

From the inside point of view it seems to be a game or training to learn the buddhist qualities of empathy and patience. Easily one comes to say: "Uh, i'm out of the behaviour i wanted to show." That's interesting, really.*

But don't train too hard - otherwise there will be muscle ache. It is good to learn when to stop.


* it's interesting because it's a good warning sign. When i'm not able to act like a bodhisattva, then i am under some false views. Deseption / delusion is taking place in my mind. Good to have such a warning, good to see, and sit down and watch it, work on it.

So everybody is on his way, in training. :namaste:
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices
User avatar
Ayu
 
Posts: 828
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:25 am
Location: Europe

Re: Harsh Speech

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:27 am

I agree with windsweptliberty, if, as Buddhists, we do not make a conscious effort to practice right speech (speech that is not harsh) then who are we kidding? This whole: "Buddhists are (ignorant) people too" sounds like an excuse to not make right effort regardning ones speech. It sounds like an excuse to let ones negative emotions run free. It sounds like an excuse for harsh speech. ;)

Sure, many times we focus on the insult rather than the point behind the insult, but the truth is that the one trying to make the point does themselves a disservice by using an insult. They do themselves a disservice in two ways: 1. They generate negative karmic outcomes through their wrong speech. 2. Their otherwise valid point is lost amongst the ensuing storm of negative emotions.

Right speech benefits all those involved in a conversation, harsh speech benefits nobody.
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
User avatar
Sherab Dorje
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 7936
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Harsh Speech

Postby futerko » Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:29 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:Sure, many times we focus on the insult rather than the point behind the insult, but the truth is that the one trying to make the point does themselves a disservice by using an insult. They do themselves a disservice in two ways: 1. They generate negative karmic outcomes through their wrong speech. 2. Their otherwise valid point is lost amongst the ensuing storm of negative emotions.


...assuming of course, that such phenomena possess the inherent quality of being insulting. As we know this to be untrue, the karma belongs to the mind that perceives samsara.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
User avatar
futerko
 
Posts: 993
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:58 am

Re: Harsh Speech

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:52 pm

Another weak excuse for wrong speech. Now we use misinterpretations of emptiness to justify our negative actions?
You realise, of course, that there are two truths? Relative and ultimate?
Intelligent beings understand that nothing really exists, without being contaminated by the fault of viewing emptiness as nothingness. They are aware of the unfailing principle of the relative level, where the law of cause and effect of wholesome and harmful action and interdependent origination is effective in the unhindered dynamic expression of appearances. Even if their realisation is vast as space, they are extremely conscientious in their conduct and train to unite the two levels, being concerned about auspicious coincidence. They train themselves on the path of the union of view and conduct without ever moving out of emptiness...This present explanation takes into consideration the relative aspect and is supposed to prevent beginners who take these concepts too literally, to get into destructive talk.
Karmapa Wangchug Dorje Mahamudra - The Ocean of True Meaning
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
User avatar
Sherab Dorje
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 7936
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Harsh Speech

Postby futerko » Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:57 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:Another weak excuse for wrong speech. Now we use misinterpretations of emptiness to justify our negative actions?
You realise, of course, that there are two truths? Relative and ultimate?
Intelligent beings understand that nothing really exists, without being contaminated by the fault of viewing emptiness as nothingness. They are aware of the unfailing principle of the relative level, where the law of cause and effect of wholesome and harmful action and interdependent origination is effective in the unhindered dynamic expression of appearances. Even if their realisation is vast as space, they are extremely conscientious in their conduct and train to unite the two levels, being concerned about auspicious coincidence. They train themselves on the path of the union of view and conduct without ever moving out of emptiness...This present explanation takes into consideration the relative aspect and is supposed to prevent beginners who take these concepts too literally, to get into destructive talk.
Karmapa Wangchug Dorje Mahamudra - The Ocean of True Meaning


I wasn't attempting to justify anything. Merely suggesting that ideas such as right speech are better used to develop ourselves rather than as rules for making judgements about other's activity, development, or karmic accumulations.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
User avatar
futerko
 
Posts: 993
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:58 am

Re: Harsh Speech

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:07 pm

A right speech for me and a different right speech for you? :shrug:

Of course we should always start by looking at our own actions, but this does not mean that we cannot see and advise others about their negative behaviour. That's the beauty of ignorance, many times you don't know you are guided by it until it is pointed out to you. This is true for any of the poisons. I find it helpful, when I am overcome by negative emotions, that somebody points it out to me. I tend to lose perspective when caught up in strong emotion. After a while you begin to notice it for yourself, but in the beginning...
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
User avatar
Sherab Dorje
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 7936
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Harsh Speech

Postby futerko » Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:55 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:A right speech for me and a different right speech for you? :shrug:


Indeed, I think you have to really defer to the person taking offence.

I've had friends with phobias so bad that they cannot even stand to hear certain words spoken - there's little point trying to reason about the "objective" meaning, you just have to respect their idiosyncrasies - that's what it means to have compassion for suffering beings - it's their suffering due to their "thinking", hence their karma to deal with.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
User avatar
futerko
 
Posts: 993
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:58 am

Re: Harsh Speech

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Dec 17, 2012 2:37 pm

This (the original post) is a very good point.
And there are different ways of approaching this situation.

On the one hand, it certainly is better if people address the topics rather than using some negativity towards the person posting.

On the other hand, a lot depends on a person's own impression of things. Sometimes people have misunderstandings or make assumptions about Dharma teachings, or reshape the Dharma teachings in their own minds to fit their own needs, and then get defensive when it is pointed out to them when their view is mistaken.

But another thing one can do, is to consider a passage from the Dhammapada:
"He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me."
Those who harbor such thoughts do not still their hatred.
"He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me."
Those who do not harbor such thoughts still their hatred.


Nobody likes to be insulted or put down. That is one of the things people hate the most. Even if we are not being robbed or abused, we have a tendency to point to the actions of others (rather than to our own minds) as the source of our misery, and then cling to that, because we don't like the way it feels to be spoken to harshly, or to have someone tell us that what we have posted is full of crap or whatever. So, there is this aspect of clinging to one's feelings of wanting to be happy.

So, I think the original post is right when suggesting that people should be kinder when they post here. After all, it would make the whole experience much more agreeable, and that in itself is good for the exchange of ideas and opinions.
But I also think that if one finds someone's words to be too harsh, or they seem to be insulting the person, one should also examine why that seem so bothersome, so irritating.

There is a certain Dharma teacher in the United States who has a growing number of students and is quite popular wherever this teacher is known. I knew this person for many years, long before they became a teacher. I am glad that this teacher is very devoted to teaching the Dharma, and is very qualified to do so. But I can barely stand this person, and could go on and on with all sorts of criticisms of this person's personality. One of the things about this person I really can't stand is that their first response to everything seem to always be to make sure everybody is happy and smiling and all nicey-nice. But is the fact that I can't stand this my problem or theirs?
However, I also have respect for that fact that this teacher is not concerned with my negative opinions.
This teacher is not really attached to their own happiness.
So, in spite of everything, we are long time friends.

Naturally there is always some attachment on each side a discussion or argument.
But I think it is important not to let that attachment become so overwhelming
that we start expressing ourselves negatively, and lose sight of compassion,
and at the same time,
not allow ourselves to be provoked by the negativity of others
so much that we lose sight of mindfulness.
.
.
.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
 
Posts: 2800
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: Harsh Speech

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Dec 17, 2012 2:48 pm

futerko wrote:
I've had friends with phobias so bad that they cannot even stand to hear certain words spoken - there's little point trying to reason about the "objective" meaning, you just have to respect their idiosyncrasies - that's what it means to have compassion for suffering beings - it's their suffering due to their "thinking", hence their karma to deal with.


I know people who are very insecure, who are motivated primarily by the fear of negative consequences.
If you open the curtains of a window to let in the light,
they worry that a prowler might look in and spy on you.
Those people tend to be on the defensive a lot and might take anything you say to be an insult.
It is a sad thing. They remind me of hungry ghosts.
You just have to be really patient and reassure them
that they are not under attack.
.
.
.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
 
Posts: 2800
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: Harsh Speech

Postby CrawfordHollow » Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:45 pm

Wow, really good post PadmaVonSamba!

I also agree with the sentiments of the OP. Personally, I am very new to this forum thing. I really enjoy posting here because I enjoy writing- something I haven't done since college- and communicating with other practitioners. I am still getting used to the medium, though. I find that there is a lot of room for miscommunication. I have posted things in the past with the best of intentions, only to come back a couple of days later to find that I have ticked a whole buch of people off! I find that I am always trying to explain myself and what I have written. Like I said, this forum thing is very new to me. Let me now officially apologize if I have offended anyone with anything that I may have written. I try to only post on topics that I have had experience with in my life. Unfortunately, I have been struggling with addiction issues for much of my life, so many of my posts reflect that. I would like to also officially thank everybody for allowing me to speak openly about this. Thank you. Especially Greg K. Greg has always been willing to give his support whenever I have needed it, which seems to be a lot these days. I am already veering off topic. I think that it is good whenever we are reminded to be mindful of what we do or say. I know that I could use more mindfulness in my life, so thank you windsweptliberty for pointing this out.

Troy
CrawfordHollow
 
Posts: 258
Joined: Fri May 11, 2012 10:56 pm

Re: Harsh Speech

Postby Nosta » Mon Dec 17, 2012 6:41 pm

windsweptliberty wrote:In a forum such as this I think right speech is absolutely crucial! There are people relying on this forum to be free of fear, hostility, and opression - that which runs rampant in most lives. And there are those that may be guided by the advice given. Those seeking refuge. Sadly, I see so much harsh speech and ocassionally even ganging up in this forum. I suggest that all those envolved in this forum speak in a way that gives rise to happiness and peace in oneself and others; And not be so certain that their own point of view, their own references, their own knowledge is the only one worthy of common courtesy. This is what I suggest. :rules:


Completly agree.

This forum can even be a good "training ground" for the practice of Right Speech.
User avatar
Nosta
 
Posts: 671
Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2010 10:28 pm

Re: Harsh Speech

Postby songhill » Mon Dec 17, 2012 9:24 pm

It is interesting to point out that without right view (sammâditthi) right speech (sammâvâca) is not possible.

As to this, monks, right view comes first. And how, monks, does right view come first? From right view proceeds right aspiration, from right aspiration proceeds right speech, from right speech proceeds right action, from right action proceeds right livelihood, from right livelihood proceeds right effort, from right effort proceeds right mindfulness, from right mindfulness proceeds right concentration, from right concentration proceeds right gnosis, from right gnosis proceeds right liberation” (M. iii. 75–76).


As for right view, according to the Buddha right view is cankerless (anâsrava), supermundane, etc. (M.iii.72).
User avatar
songhill
 
Posts: 245
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:23 am

Re: Harsh Speech

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Dec 17, 2012 11:01 pm

How does one start to practice right speech?
I think a person needs to be accurate in what they are saying.
There was once a famous nightclub in New York City called CBGB.
I lived near there in the 1980's, during the big punk rock scene. A lot of people were putting on concerts and this was a good place to book if you wanted to draw a big crowd. I had become briefly acquainted with a guy I'll call D.K. who was related to the owner of CBGB. Another person I knew wanted to put on some kind of benefit concert there, I think, maybe, to raise awareness for Free Tibet or something like that. Anyway, D.K. came up to me on the street and asked me did I think he should let that guy book CBGB for a show. What I told him was that in my own experience I did not know that guy to ever organize much of anything, much less a rock concert.

So, the point is, maybe that guy could organize a concert and maybe not,
but the only truthful answer i could give was that I didn't know,
and that there was nothing to suggest to me that he had the ability.
In fact, I really doubted that he could organize a show.
I only use this as an example because so often we are asked to give our thoughts about one thing or another,
and we have a choice.
We can give our own biased opinions, we can say, "oh that guy? He's totally incompetent" or something like that,
which is only a reflection of our own clinging.
Or, we can try to be a little more accurate in what we say,
and respond with what we do know or do not know about a situation.

When people ask me things, I often begin to answer by saying: "It is my understanding that..."
Because this is usually a true statement, even if my understanding is flawed.
And then, I remind the person who asked me that I might have made a mistake.
There is nothing wrong in being gentle with speech,
and slowing down and trying to express what one wants to say accurately.
It is really a great courtesy to others.
.
.
.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
 
Posts: 2800
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: Harsh Speech

Postby Zealot » Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:09 am

I honestly don't think right speech is possible in large groups unless they've all come to hear what you have to say with an open mind. Sometimes for an individual seemingly harsh words are needed in order to get the point across to them. There are countless examples of Dharma teachers doing rude, harsh, brash, and even violent things to bring the Dharma to their students. They didn't do it to be abusive, they did it because it was what was needed for the student. The point being that as much as we may try to please everyone, there will always be offense taken somewhere or another, especially on an internet forum where egos seem to multiply ten-fold. I think the best we can hope for is caring individuals who are willing to apologize for any toes stepped on while trying to open our minds and hearts to the Dharma.

I, for one, don't think my post will offend anyone, but if so, I am truly sorry.
"My life for Aiur!" - Protoss Zealot
Zealot
 
Posts: 86
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2012 6:38 pm

Re: Harsh Speech

Postby lowlydog » Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:22 am

Zealot wrote:I honestly don't think right speech is possible in large groups unless they've all come to hear what you have to say with an open mind. Sometimes for an individual seemingly harsh words are needed in order to get the point across to them. There are countless examples of Dharma teachers doing rude, harsh, brash, and even violent things to bring the Dharma to their students. They didn't do it to be abusive, they did it because it was what was needed for the student. The point being that as much as we may try to please everyone, there will always be offense taken somewhere or another, especially on an internet forum where egos seem to multiply ten-fold. I think the best we can hope for is caring individuals who are willing to apologize for any toes stepped on while trying to open our minds and hearts to the Dharma.

I, for one, don't think my post will offend anyone, but if so, I am truly sorry.



Hi zealot,

I agree with you in that at times harsh speech is necessary, so long as the volition behind the speech is full of compassion.

It is difficult to have conversations about finer points of the dhamma on the internet, although we may use emoticoms to try to convey our volition there is something deeply missing.

Plus, as meditators our practice at times may be bringing deep rooted sankharas to the surface and we may be facing storms, a post may be made that on another day we would not have made.

I think you need a thick skin to communicate on the internet, I've witnessed many express meditative attainments and experiences only to be heavily scrutinized by other members. I personally disagree with this method and would love to see a more open discussion at times but this doesn't seem to happen and I know I personally hold back out of fear of ridicule but mostly out of fear of being banished.

I have a deep love for the dharma, these teachings have truly saved me, and it is with great joy and excitement that I wish to share my knowlege and learn from others.

I'm a construction worker who by day cusses with the boys amid the filth, and on some evenings I find myself driving buddhist nuns(in training) to the subway station after our weekly dhamma talks. Talk about different ends of the spectrum, sometimes I get on the computer after work and its hard to turn the construction guy off. I write a post and am about to hit the submit button and a little voice says re-read this one more time, and when I do I end up erasing the whole thing and starting again, not because what I've written was wrong speech but because I'm still in construction mode and I know some will find my delivery offensive.

I am pro expression not supression, but in case I have stepped on any toes I apologise.

This lowlydog loves all his dharma bitches :heart:
lowlydog
 
Posts: 371
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:50 pm

Next

Return to Open Dharma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: daverupa, jeeprs, MSN [Bot] and 14 guests

>