Right speech

Better than a thousand meaningless statements
Is one meaningful word
Which, having been heard,
Brings peace.
– Dhammapada 100 (translated by Gil Fronsdal)

We come now to perhaps the biggest topic of all: how to make our talk more wholesome. After sleep, talking is probably what most of us do for more hours in a day than anything else. Therefore, it’s an activity of interest if we intend to make our inner and outer world more beautiful.

I’d like to start this topic with a reflection on how pervasive verbal action is. If you include non-verbal communication, email, talking on the phone and whatever other type of communication you use, it covers a lot of ground. What would it be like if you always knew what your intention was when you spoke? It would be a sort of ongoing meditation, I think.

If you start by really listening to all of your talk for even one day, you might be amazed at what you hear. Give it a go. How much of your talk is unnecessary? Kind and supportive? Gentle or harsh? Connected to and of interest to the listener(s)? How does it affect those who hear it? What can you discover about yourself through listening to your speech?

About lynnjkelly

Australian/American. Practicing Buddhist.
This entry was posted in Speech. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Right speech

  1. keri says:

    What I love about silent retreats is the fact that I dont have to think about my speech…….the longest I have gone is 16 days and it was heaven , although in that time I did a lot of (silent) speaking to myself….. I would love to be able to think I am mindfull enough to go for a WHOLE DAY conciously aware about my speech but to be realistic I think I might just have start with an hour (or less) at a time.If one could write down every word one said in the course of a day spent with others it would be interesting to see at the end of that day what one would ‘edit’ and ‘delete’ or say a little differently…

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