Episode 8, 7 December 2014, The Power Of Speech. [07:06]
Intro: Welcome to Buddhism Guide’s Audio blog.
- A contemporary look at Gautama Buddha’s Teachings, from Karma Yeshe Rabgye.
- Find out more, at http://www.buddhismguide.org
- A transcript of this episode is available at http://buddhismguide.org/audio-blog-archive/audio-blog-transcripts/episode-8-transcript-the-power-of-speech
This Episode: The Power Of Speech. [00:17]
1. Speech is a very powerful tool. [00:20]
- If we hit someone, it will hurt them for a short time and then go away, but if we verbally attack someone, those words can stay with them for many years.
- On the other hand, well thought-out words can stop conflict, make friends, and heal rifts.
- This is the power of speech, and this is why Gautama Buddha included Right Speech in the Eightfold Path.
- Right Speech can be divided into four parts:
- refrain from lying,
- refrain from divisive speech,
- refrain from harsh words, and
- refrain from gossiping.
2. Lying. [01:07]
- When we tell lies it is obviously going to hurt and mislead others, but it will also harm ourselves.
- Nobody like a liar, and once you get the reputation it is difficult to lose it.
- Whenever you tell people things they will not believe you, even if it’s true.
- They will try to avoid you, and you will find it difficult to make friends.
- This will of course make you angry and frustrated, but you will only have yourself t0 blame.
- There is a bigger picture here too, as lying can affect the whole of society, especially if the lie comes from a person of responsibility and trust.
- I am thinking here of politicians.
- There are not many people in the world these days that fully trust their politicians.
- You hear people say that they only voted for this particular politician because he’s the best of a bad bunch.
- The reason for this is, because they have told so many lies over the years that nobody trusts them.
- I am thinking here of politicians.
- We must remember that we do not like to be lied to, so don’t lie to others.
- This will free your mind of any guilt and leave it more peaceful.
3. Divisive Speech. [02:30]
- Divisive speech refers to speech that is intended to create a rift or division between people.
- It is used to alienate one person, or a group, from another.
- People generally do such things when driven by hatred of a person, or to win affection for themselves, or if they are jealous of someone else’s success, or even out of some perverse pleasure of seeing someone fall from grace.
- You can see this type of divisive speech in all walks of life, but it is more prominent within groups and in the workplace.
- What is the antidote to divisive speech?
- It is speech that promotes friendship and harmony.
- Speech based on kindness and compassion, which wins the trust and affection of others.
4. Harsh Words. [03:30]
- Harsh words are usually born out of anger, and cause harm and pain to the hearer.
- Swear words,
- bitter words, spoken in anger,
- words used for scolding someone, or
- words that belittle the hearer, or someone close to them, are all examples of harsh words.
- They are designed to take away someone’s dignity.
- Harsh words may make you feel good temporarily, but the receiver will feel downhearted.
- These words are usually spoken in the spur of the moment, and so are not as severe as words which are premeditated.
- There are several antidotes to harsh words, but the most important one is patience.
- If we are patient, and respect other people’s shortcomings, and do not react to others’ criticism;
- If we bear abuse without the urge to retaliate;
- Or respect other’s view points, we will not feel the need to let loose a barrage of abusive words.
- Gossiping is shallow and pointless.
- It is a form of communication that adds absolutely no value to anyone’s lives.
- It stems from the Three Poisons:
- Anger, and
- All it does is stir up everyone’s emotions and lead to negative feelings between all parties.
- To counter this, which is not easy, you should watch what you say, when you say it, and to whom.
- You should think before you speak.
- I believe to ensure we have Right Speech, we should ask ourselves the following questions:
- Is what I’m going to say useful?
- Is it going to hurt someone?
- Is my speech motivated by desire, anger, or unawareness?
- Would I like other people to say the same things to me?
- If we check our speech before we open our mouths, we will never speak words that do harm.
- Sometimes, it is more powerful to say nothing at all.
The Written Word. [05:50]
- Before I finish, I just want to say something about the written word.
- In Gautama Buddha’s day this was not a problem, so he didn’t mention the right written word, but today it is becoming a problem.
- The written words I am talking about are newspapers, magazines, the internet and social networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook.
- Obviously, freedom of speech is a human right, but if your written words are going to harm others, or stir up trouble, they should not be written.
- If you are going to write something down, you should check your motivation.
- Is it going to be productive and helpful?
- Or, is it going to harm, or waste the reader’s time?
- You can find more information about this subject in Karma Yeshe Rabgye’s books at http://www.buddhismguide.org/books/
- The best way to catch a snake – A Practical Guide to the Buddha’s Teachings;
- Life’s meandering path – A Secular Approach to Gautama Buddha’s Guide to Living;
- Ripples in the stream – A Pragmatic Journey Through Gautama Buddha’s Teachings.
- They’re available now, from Amazon and Kindle.
- Thank you for listening, and I hope you enjoyed this blog post.