Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Buddhist Principle of Right Speech


A bad word whispered
will echo farther than thought.
Please speak mindfully.

If only more people followed this rule, there would be a lot less suffering in the world.  According to Buddhist beliefs, a person should engage in Right Speech, which is the third precept of the Noble Eightfold Path.  This precept is the first part of ethical conduct, although it can be especially difficult to follow, especially when we are angry.

Right Speech can be further defined as:

  1. Abstaining from false speech, not telling lies, not speaking deceitfully.
  2. Abstaining from slanderous speech, not using malicious words against other people.
  3. Abstaining from harsh words that hurt and offend.
  4. Abstaining from speech that lacks purpose or depth.
Buddha indicated that words that are not true, beneficial, nor timely, should not be spoken.  This precept is another example among Buddhist beliefs of something that is easier said than done.  I have been struggling with this precept myself.  As I become more mindful of what I am saying and what other people are saying, I've realized that so much of what we say is either useless or hurtful.  

22 comments:

haikudoyou said...

Wonderful haiku - your message is something I think we all struggle with - mindfulness is half the battle

Heaven said...

A meaningful post; thanks for sharing it.

marielaochoa said...

Wise words! Beautifully expressed!

ananchorage said...

I believe in our society, people have forgotten that if something is true--it is not slander. I see adults who do not want their actions known, so they attack anyone who points out their behavior. I love the idea of Buddist beliefs, but how to they address dealing with people who continue to deal out injustices, yet if anyone trys to hold them accountable, the words get labeled hurtful.

Gloria

LV said...

All it takes it just be honest and tell the truth. Lying will get you nowhere.

robinsbluenest said...

Absolutely....
If you haven't anything nice to say, say nothing at all.
:-)

Wishing you a beautiful pink weekend

Birgitta - foto CHIP said...

That is very important words and meaning in your haiku! Well done!

http://fotochip.blogspot.com/2011/08/whisper-in-air.html

ananchorage said...

"If you haven't anything nice to say, say nothing at all"

My mother use to tell me this. What I saw in reality, was this phrase was used for people to stay silent rather than speaking up against wrong actions.

Christine said...

terrific post, thanks for the Buddist lesson, it reminds me of the feather proverb and how words can never be taken back

Robyn said...

Love your message and I WANT THAT PHONE!!! :) Hope you have a fun pink saturday!

Annesphamily said...

Very wise post! I am happy I stopped by. Wishing you a beautiful Pink Saturday! Hugs Anne

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

I'm afraid I still remember some bad words directed at me by teachers when I was a child--and they weren't whispered!

Mama Zen said...

Excellent!

Neni said...

Great post, very thoughtful... :)

razzamadazzle said...

Wonderful! This is certainly a message than many people would be good to hear.

beccagivens said...

Powerful message in 17 syllables ... nicely done. It reminds me of the quote:

"Be a good listener. Your ears will never get you in trouble." ~~ Frank Tyger

My garden haven said...

I like your haiku. Mindfulness can be achieved, like your haiku says, through cutting out useless chatter as well as eliminating cutting sarcasm from our speech. Thank you for the much needed reminder.
Rosie

Marydon said...

So love this share. & several comments. TY

Would you be so kind to (& tell your friends) comment on my BLOG ONLY (emails don’t count), for the Miracle Makeover fund drive. Charlie, 8 yr. old, & his story are fabulous. Every comment brings us a $1 for the next person that will be sponsored.

Have a beautiful weekend.
Hugs,
TTFN ~
Marydon
blushingrosetoo.blogspot.com

Lola said...

I think you have to look at all of these ideas about Right Speech in conjunction. I agree that if something is true it's not slanderous, but one does not necessarily have to say everything that is true. Things we say can be true, meaning they are not slanderous, but those things still might be speech that lacks in purpose or depth.

wordcoaster said...

Beautiful haiku--saying something less loudly doesn't blunt the pain of the person you speak badly about. :)

mjshorts said...

A great haiku and very wise words. Thank you.

Leo said...

Rumors are but whispered, yet they travel faster and longer than most sanity filled words.