Author Topic: Do we break our refuge vows if we make bitchy and sarcastic remarks?  (Read 25546 times)

Klein

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Re: Do we break our refuge vows if we make bitchy and sarcastic remarks?
« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2012, 08:47:29 AM »
The refuge vows relating to speech is to abstain from:-

1. Divisive speech 
2  Lying
2. Hurtful speech
3. Idle Chatter

Most of us at some point or another have made some bitchy or sarcastic remarks to others and have also been at the receiving end of other people's sarcasm and bitchiness.  It can hurt when someone is sarcastic or bitchy to us.  I was just wondering if sarcastic and bitchy remarks fall under the category of hurtful speech that if we hold refuge vows, we need to abstain from it lest we break our vows.

Anybody has any idea?

Dear woseltenzin,

I think making bitchy and sarcastic remarks in general are not good for Buddhist practioners because they are hurtful and can break one's vows. Some people may debate that it depends on the motivation of the person making the remarks. However, who are not in the capacity to decide how good our motivations are.

Perhaps if our teacher gives the green light to make bitchy or sarcastic remarks to certain people who are consistently difficult, uncooperative and create problems for example, then we can do so. Our teachers will never tell us to do things that create negative karma.

However, if we always receive bitchy and sarcastic remarks, then we must reflect on what we've done to receive such persistent remarks. If we are responsible for pushing others to treat us like this, then we should stop our negative ways. If we can't see ourselves clearly, then perhaps ask our teacher. That'll be the best.

Tenzin K

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Re: Do we break our refuge vows if we make bitchy and sarcastic remarks?
« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2012, 10:41:45 AM »
In general, for me it’s not good to be bitchy and sarcastic. If the mechanism of speech able to hurt people it’s bad. It’s is a mirror effect, you don’t like people to talk in such way is vice versa. Sorry to say I never see harmony can be achieve in such a way.

Not to mention if our motivation is good of being bitchy and sarcastic which I used to hear from people. Under these circumstances I’m not Buddha to able to determine and this is much more subjective. I’m not saying it’s wrong or good but just beyond what I can see sometime. But fr such circumstances happen t me I would just need to pick the key message of the conversation not the emotion part.

Aurore

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Re: Do we break our refuge vows if we make bitchy and sarcastic remarks?
« Reply #17 on: April 08, 2012, 07:40:30 PM »
This falls under hurtful speech depending on the intent of the person. However, as mentioned by Thaimonk, the 4 components (intent, action, completion, rejoice) are required for it to be considered breaking vows.

The intent is important but more importantly the delivery needs to be done skilfully even if the intention was meant to be good. As what everyone here states, perhaps, being sarcastic or bitchy can help a person transform. Who are we to know unless we have gained some kind of clairvoyance?

Some may use even use the excuse of being bitchy out of good motivation. It can't be convincing especially if we have not achieve some kind of respect and result to be able to be bitchy and aim to have good results from it. Whatever the intent is, it is best to refrain from using our own judgement and act to hurt people with our speech.

DS Star

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Re: Do we break our refuge vows if we make bitchy and sarcastic remarks?
« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2012, 03:24:25 AM »

 First, I will explain the concept of the refuge vows. The refuge vows are there to help you maintain a mind of refuge. That is what I believe. However, there are many benefits to keeping your vows. These are:
we become a pure Buddhist, we establish the foundation for taking all other vows and many others.
 
 To break a vow, the four factors must be present: intent, action, completion and rejoice. So, if you have completed all four then you really broke your vow. Also, on the ordinary daily level, even if you do not have intent, but you are bitchy and sarcastic, if it hurts the other person, whether you break the vow or not, you collect negative karma, because the other person was hurt. Also, if you speak softly and gently but your intent is to hurt or you are just careless resulting in another's cause of pain, that would be very bad also.

Also, sometimes when someone is bitchy to you, it might hurt but the intention is not to hurt but to help you become a better person. Then, you would have neither accumulated negative karma, nor have you broken your vows. But, of course, your speech must be skillful.

In my opinion, ilikeshugden gave the most accurate answer to WorselTenzin's question.

There are 2 parts to the question: 1. "bitchy and sarcastic remarks; 2. "break refuge vows". So, the answers by ilikeshugden have covered both aspects of the question.

Most importantly here is whether our "intention" or "motivation" to help the person is pure, and whether using this method will help (benefit) the other people. As rightly mentioned in a few posts here, unless we are a highly attained Guru, we would never know if the method we use will give the favorable results of helping the person or it may even back fire.

Secondly, using certain level of bitchy and sarcastic remarks with pure intention to help may work but we have to be mindful not to over-do it.

Some people thinking they're emulating Guru's 'skillful means', so they use the so-called 'wrathful method' to help their fellow practitioners. In the heat of the situation, some had crossed the line of self-control and even subject to using rude and humiliating language. Profanity being used freely. Though I have seen a Guru using wrathful method before, like even shouting, to wake the person's mind but honestly, I have not heard any dirty words or foul speech being uttered by the Guru.

Last but not least, when we're at the receiving end of the bitchy and sarcastic remarks, we should take them with open heart and see if there are any basis for those remarks. It could help us to cut our ego and progress in our spiritual practice.

Q

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Re: Do we break our refuge vows if we make bitchy and sarcastic remarks?
« Reply #19 on: April 11, 2012, 05:23:34 PM »
bitchy remarks is really opinion based... what may seem to us as bitchy may not be bitchy at all.

For example: If i've promised my friend that I will meet her at a certain time at a certain place, but I fail to meet her. Then when she meets me she may touch a subject regarding that and I may think "hey she's being bitchy about it". So the remark my friend made is actually not bitchy but merely the truth, however I take it the other way since I'm technically trying to protect myself, coming up with some lame excuse for not making it to the meeting or even giving a phone call to cancel it.

Of course, there are people that intentionally say things in a way that although it is the truth, it is meant to hurt the person. For such remarks... then yeah, i suppose one breaks the refuge vows because what the person said is not to point out but to intentionally hurt someone.

DS Star

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Re: Do we break our refuge vows if we make bitchy and sarcastic remarks?
« Reply #20 on: April 12, 2012, 03:18:28 PM »
Well... it is true that most of the time the person who said the words may not think that as bitchy but the person listening felt that they are... it all depending on one's perspective, up-bringing, education level, faith/belief, or culture/ local customs, etc.

In dharma organization, this will happens mostly during heated dharma discussion or 'debate'. Everyone want to win or to be the one that is RIGHT... most evidently when they are in a group or with many people watching. So due to one's own ego, one may even subject to harsh and sarcastic words just to win the argument.

To quote from Lamrim, Liberation In The Palm of Your Hand:

"...as Butoen Rinpoche said:

They want to win and humiliate others;
They act deceitfully, swear, and fume;
Speak all manner of drivel, infuriate others:
This kind of debating takes them to hell!

That is, one should not act like this."

The point is we should at least be mindful and should not have any intention to use our speech to hurt others.

lotus1

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Re: Do we break our refuge vows if we make bitchy and sarcastic remarks?
« Reply #21 on: April 14, 2012, 08:55:35 AM »
Fully agreed with Triesa that we do not like to hear or receive bitchy or sarcastic remarks from others. Generally, I believe it is the cause that creating negative Karma and therefore would constitute to breaking the refuge vows on Hurtful Speech. 

Although some may argue that if our intention or motivation is good, it is OK to give bitchy and sarcastic remarks, eg. from parents to lecture their children. However, if our motivation is good, I believe there are a lot of better ways to talk to someone rather than being bitchy or sarcastic. Besides, we are not enlightened yet, it is really hard to be sure that when we are bitchy or sarcastic, our speech and mind is 100% pure and with compassion. Therefore, it is better to avoid being bitchy or sarcastic.

However, if our Guru, an enlightened being, is bitchy or sarcastic toward us, we should gladly accept it and use it as a chance for our mind transformation. It is a skilful means they use to cut-down our ego.

bambi

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Definitely! Why practice Dharma and do something of the opposite? Then we will be like the leaking pot, Dharma goes in but its contaminated and leak out into something of the opposite. If we are close to someone and we do so, it may be fine because we know that we are joking and we don't mean it in a bad way. We are given a brain to think hence we do not say hurtful speech without running it through our brain with logic. When we know something bad is going to come out of our mouth, keep quiet, change the topic or simply walk away. Why create more hurtful speech and negative karma?

http://www.existentialbuddhist.com/2011/01/the-fourth-precept/


Thich Nhat Hanh has interpreted the fourth precept to include all forms of unmindful speech and unheedful listening:

“Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I am committed to cultivating loving speech and compassionate listening in order to relieve suffering and to promote reconciliation and peace in myself and among other people, ethnic and religious groups, and nations. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I am committed to speaking truthfully using words that inspire confidence, joy, and hope. When anger is manifesting in me, I am determined not to speak. I will practice mindful breathing and walking in order to recognize and to look deeply into my anger. I know that the roots of anger can be found in my wrong perceptions and lack of understanding of the suffering in myself and in the other person. I will speak and listen in a way that can help myself and the other person to transform suffering and see the way out of difficult situations. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to utter words that can cause division or discord. I will practice Right Diligence to nourish my capacity for understanding, love, joy, and inclusiveness, and gradually transform anger, violence, and fear that lie deep in my consciousness.”


http://buddhasadvice.wordpress.com/speech/

Silence

Talking comes naturally to most people. Sometimes it’s as if we don’t really know what we think until we’ve produced words on a particular subject – “thought out loud”. But how can we make sure our speech is worthwhile, and not just blather? Without a bit of silence woven into the conversation, there’s no time to think, to hear, or to connect. Filling our surroundings with continuous noise generates a nervous and uncomfortable urgency. It’s a way of blocking out reflective thinking, and it wears out both the speaker and the listener. Allowing for silence invites listening, thoughtful speech, absorption of what’s said, and contemplation.

Allowing silences has the added benefit of slowing things down. We’re likely to make fewer mistakes if we think and speak at a deliberate pace. We can take responsibility for what we say more easily if we’re not rushing.

For an extrovert, try moving in the direction of more silence. For an introvert, maybe the best way to develop right speech is by overcoming your reluctance to speak. If you listen closely to yourself, it will be easier to find the right balance.

Observe speech and silence in others. What do you see? Is the non-stop talker an admired person? Some quiet people are keen observers and listeners, others might just be tuned out. Notice the effects words have on the people hearing them. Is the speaker aware of how she’s being received? Who do you most enjoy listening to? What is it about their talk (or tone) that makes it welcome?

biggyboy

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No matter how bitchy or sarcastic remarks/speeches made, itself has the negative consequences be it intentionally or not.  For its action does hurt either parties.  How many times or anyone are free from these negative speeches.  Once done, one would be debating in thoughts...."If only I hadn't said that," or something like "When I saw the look on her face, I knew that what I said had hurt her feelings." Wrong speech causes us many problems. We lie and then get caught in it; we say something nasty about a co-worker and get him into trouble; we speak inconsiderately and offend a client or friend; we spend a whole day in meaningless chatter and get nothing done.

No doubt that no one is free from not experiencing or speaking sarcastically or with bitchiness.  Hence, mindfulness to check oneself is crucial at all times though it is not easy.  But with mindful effort and intent to resolve, right speech will prevails over time.  One has to constantly veto these negative speeches before one speaks for this is training of one's mind.  The 3rd verse of  8 verses of mind transformation holds ....   

In all actions I will examine my mind
And the moment a disturbing attitude arises,
Endangering myself or others,
I will firmly confront and avert it.

pgdharma

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Fully agreed with Triesa that we do not like to hear or receive bitchy or sarcastic remarks from others. Generally, I believe it is the cause that creating negative Karma and therefore would constitute to breaking the refuge vows on Hurtful Speech. 

Although some may argue that if our intention or motivation is good, it is OK to give bitchy and sarcastic remarks, eg. from parents to lecture their children. However, if our motivation is good, I believe there are a lot of better ways to talk to someone rather than being bitchy or sarcastic. Besides, we are not enlightened yet, it is really hard to be sure that when we are bitchy or sarcastic, our speech and mind is 100% pure and with compassion. Therefore, it is better to avoid being bitchy or sarcastic.

However, if our Guru, an enlightened being, is bitchy or sarcastic toward us, we should gladly accept it and use it as a chance for our mind transformation. It is a skilful means they use to cut-down our ego.

I totally agree with you, lotus1. Some may argue that it is OK to give bitchy and sarcastic remarks if our intention and motivation is pure. However, no one like to be criticized or to be put down with hurtful speech. Also we are not at that level to tell them off using  bitchy and sarcastic remarks. Well,  I feel that the right choice of words are very important so that it will not hurt that person. Why, because we are not enlightened and we still have ego.

Unless it is our Guru, a fully enlightened being, that use skilful methods to tame our mind and ego then it is acceptable. Until we are enlightened it is better to use proper speech for now.

Midakpa

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Hurtful speech, whether intentional or not, is bad, even though one may not have broken the refuge vow based on the four components. There is a difference between harsh words used by an ordinary person and "harsh" words from a qualified guru. The guru's words, even though spoken harshly, do not hurt the student because of the compassion on the guru's side and the trust on the student's side. This is why students remain with the guru for years because they know they are being trained and they will benefit in the end. However, harsh words from an unenlightened person, spoken unskillfully, have a negative effect. People are hurt and there is mental suffering. I suggest that unless one is attained, one should refrain from hurtful speech in order not to create negative karma.

Manjushri

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We shouldn't do or say to others what we don't want others to do or say to us. From that alone, if we don't like to receive bitchy, sacarstic, hurtful remarks, then as a rule of thumb, the same shouldn't be said to others.

However, it also depends on situations, if you're bitchy to your close friends, and its a joke between both of you, and you know that there's no intent to hurt, harm whatsoever, then I don't consider it as breaking of refuge vow.

If you are bitch to someone, and hurt them, even maybe if you didn't intend it to be, then I don't know if it is considered as breaking of your refuge vows.. It depends on the severity I think. In my opinion, if being bitchy makes someone not like you, then better to refrain from it. Imagine because you are bitchy to someone, and you deter them away from a spiritual path! That would create much negative karma, no?

Anyways, it is one's practise to always be mindful of our body, speech and mind.

negra orquida

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The refuge vows relating to speech is to abstain from:-

1. Divisive speech 
2  Lying
3. Hurtful speech
4. Idle Chatter

Most of us at some point or another have made some bitchy or sarcastic remarks to others and have also been at the receiving end of other people's sarcasm and bitchiness.  It can hurt when someone is sarcastic or bitchy to us.  I was just wondering if sarcastic and bitchy remarks fall under the category of hurtful speech that if we hold refuge vows, we need to abstain from it lest we break our vows.

Anybody has any idea?


I think bitchy / sarcastic remarks could fall under all four categories, and hence be a transgression of our refuge vows.  How?

1. Person A saying bitchy things about person B could cause the listener Person C to form negative perception about B, and result C shunning B. It could even backfire and cause C to shun A as well --> divisive 

2. Person A bitches about B based on half truths or even outright lies (heard from other sources or personally created by A without thorough investigation) to C --> this is lying and also could be divisive, and also hurtful when C finds out that A has been talking behind C's back.

3. Person A says bitchy/sarcastic things to B --> hurtful to B

4. Person A says bitchy / sarcastic things to anyone who cared to listen but not feel anything or be bothered by it or just treat it as something mildly entertaining --> idle chatter which serves no purpose except to waste time.

Conclusion: avoid being bitchy! You never know who could get hurt by it.  Even if there was no intention to hurt anyone, bitchy talk would fall under idle chatter... which is also "bad" karmically speaking!

This reminds me of a quote from Bambi... I still remember it until now: If you can't say somethin' nice, don't say nothin' at all (watch the particular super cute scene here!
If you can't say something nice Small | Large
)

DS Star

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Right on negra orquida! " If you can't say somethin' nice, don't say nothin' at all."

Actually the teaching on avoiding hurtful speech not only found in Buddha Dharma, other religions forbid it too...

Do not gossip or listen to gossip (lashon hara). This is one of the biggest mitzvot. You are not to gossip, insult, lie, deceive, or slander. When you listen to gossip, your fellow man is brought down. This can be so serious that when you insult someone in public and he blushes, you are considered to have killed a part of that person's soul.

by Brenda Shoshanna in Jewish Dharma

lashon hara (or loshon hora) in Hebrew means "evil tongue". It is the halakhic term for derogatory speech about another person.

As Buddhist, we should practice Right Speech. We should use our ability to speak to do the 'right' thing or 'right action'. We can make or break another person with our speech. That is why it is very important for us to use our speech ability wisely... so as not to cause others' unhappiness.

diamond girl

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Resuscitating this thread reminds me of the song by Ronan Keating - When You Say Nothing At All. There is the line - "You say it best when you say nothing at all" - to me this can be very good advise. Of course some females have told me they find it offensive as it is like a "shut up" song.... This just shows me yet AGAIN, how people like to make things "hard and personal" for themselves...

Also brings me to my point about our topic - Bitchy and Sarcastic remarks... Personally I have been hurt by sarcasm and bitchyness, and I have hurt others with the same. I like what Thaimonk put up:

"To break a vow, the four factors must be present:

1. Intent
2. Action
3. completion
4. Rejoice

On the ordinary daily level, even if you do not have intent, but you are bitchy and sarcastic, if it hurts the other person, whether you break the vow or not, you collect negative karma, because the other person was hurt as you were not skillful. Also, if you speak softly and gently but your intent is to hurt or you just are careless resulting in another's cause of pain, that should be very bad also."


I would also like to add that we also need to take into consideration the power of listening… This we have control over the power of others hurtful speech. What do I mean by this? Well if someone decides to exercise their freedom of speech at the expense of their karma, we have the power of choice to walk away and be unaffected by these words. This is my personal practice if not it is not possible to survive people’s irresponsible words flying all over the place.

Last but not least, should one’s words affect you could it also be possible that there is some truth in the bitchy comment and sarcasm and we are ego-bruised and self-indulging? Something to think about….. Normally when I get offended or “hurt” it normally tells me that perhaps I need to look at what is really bothering me…