Author Topic: THE FOURTH PRECEPT: DEEP LISTENING AND LOVING SPEECH  (Read 3900 times)

sonamdhargey

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THE FOURTH PRECEPT: DEEP LISTENING AND LOVING SPEECH
« on: January 27, 2013, 01:26:45 PM »
And the world will be a better place.

By THICH NHAT HANH

Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I vow to cultivate loving speech and deep listening in order to bring joy and happiness to others and relieve others of their suffering. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I vow to learn to speak truthfully, with words that inspire self-confidence, joy, and hope. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to criticize or condemn things of which I am not sure. I will refrain from uttering words that can cause division or discord, or that can cause the family or the community to break. I will make all efforts to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.

Read more here: http://www.globalone.tv/profiles/blogs/the-fourth-precept-deep/

DS Star

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Re: THE FOURTH PRECEPT: DEEP LISTENING AND LOVING SPEECH
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2013, 04:17:31 PM »
However, when we are certain of wrong doings, we ought not to keep quiet and let them be....

Bodhisattva Vows – Secondary Downfalls

(16) not correcting others who are motivated by delusions:

When we see somebody is making a mistake, we must talk to them with the right motivation and try to help them correct that mistake. If we help other people not to make a mistake again, that is very helpful for that other person but it will also indirectly help us as well.


(45) not acting with whatever means are necessary according to the circumstances to stop someone who is doing harmful action:

When a person or a group is causing themselves or others pain and difficulties, really unlawfully or immorally treating great numbers of sentient beings badly, we should not just accept that, saying we are Buddhists and therefore passive people. We should oppose them skilfully.

Tenzin K

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Re: THE FOURTH PRECEPT: DEEP LISTENING AND LOVING SPEECH
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2013, 05:59:18 PM »
The Fourth Buddhist Precept is written in the Pali Canon as Musavada veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami, which usually is translated "I undertake the precept to refrain from incorrect speech."

The Fourth Precept has also been rendered "abstain from falsehood" or "practice truthfulness." Zen teacher Norman Fischer says the Fourth Precept is "I vow not to lie but to be truthful."

The Buddhist Precepts are not rules everyone must be compelled to follow, like the Abrahamic Ten Commandments. Instead, they are personal commitments people make when they choose to follow the Buddhist path. Practice of the Precepts is a kind of training to enable enlightenment.

How can speech help us realize enlightenment? Let's take a look.

The Precepts and the Eightfold Path

The foundation of Buddhist teaching is called the Four Noble Truths. Very simply, the Buddha taught us that life is frustrating and unsatisfactory (dukkha) because of our greed, anger, and delusion. The means to be liberated from dukkha is the Eightfold Path.

The Precepts relate directly to the Right Action part of the Eightfold Path. The Fourth Precept is also directly connected to the Right Speech part of the Eightfold Path.

Right Speech goes beyond simply trying to not tell lies. It means speaking truthfully and honestly, yes. But it also means using speech to promote good will and reduce anger. Right Speech is using speech to benefit, not to harm.

The Buddha said, "And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, and from idle chatter: This is called right speech." (Samyutta Nikaya 45)

However, "Right Speech" does not imply that one must never disagree or criticize. In his book Being Upright: Zen Meditation and the Bodhisattva Precepts (Rodmell Press, 2001), Zen teacher Reb Anderson suggests that we distinguish between what is harmful and what is hurtful. "Sometimes people tell you the truth and it hurts a lot, but it is very helpful," he said.

Truth and Intention

In Theravada Buddhism, there are four elements to a violation of the Fourth Precept:

a situation or state of affairs that is untrue; something to lie about
an intention to deceive
the expression of a falsehood, either with words, gestures, or "body language"
conveying a false impression
If one says an untrue thing while sincerely believing it is true, that would not be a violation of the Precept. However, lawyers sometimes refer to "reckless disregard for the truth." Recklessly spreading false information without making at least some effort to "check it out" first is not practicing the Fourth Precept, even if you believe the information is true.

Speech rooted in the Three Poisons -- hate, greed, and ignorance -- is false speech. If your speech is to get something you want, or to hurt someone you don't like, or to make you seem more important to others, it is false speech.

Working With the Fourth Precept

Reb Anderson points out in Being Upright that "All speech based on self-concern is false or harmful speech." Speech based on self-concern is speech designed to promote ourselves or protect ourselves or to get what we want. Right Speech, on the other hand, arises naturally when we speak from selflessness.

In other words, speaking truth comes from a practice of truthfulness, of deep honesty. And it is based on compassion rooted in wisdom. Wisdom in Buddhism takes us to the teaching of anatta, not-self. Practice of the Fourth Precept teaches us to be aware of our grasping and clinging. It helps us escape the fetters of selfishness.

The late Robert Aitken Roshi said,

"Speaking falsely is also killing, and specifically, killing the Dharma. The lie is set up to defend the idea of a fixed entity, a self image, a concept, or an institution. I want to be known as warm and compassionate, so I deny that I was cruel, even though somebody got hurt. Sometimes I must lie to protect someone or large numbers of people, animals, plants and things from getting hurt, or I believe I must."

Telling the truth requires mindfulness of what is true. It also requires that we examine our own motivations when we speak, to be sure there isn't some trace of self-clinging behind our words. For example, people active in social or political causes sometimes become addicted to self-righteousness. Their speech in favor of their cause becomes tainted by their need to feel morally superior to others.

Sometimes not speaking is false speech. Recently a well-respected educator was found to have been sexually assaulting children over a period of years, and some of his associates had known about this. Yet for years no one spoke up, or at least, did not speak up loudly enough to stop the assaults. The associates possibly kept silent to protect the institution they worked for, or their own careers, or possibly they couldn't face the truth of what was going on themselves.

Working with the Fourth Precept is a deep practice that reaches into your whole body and mind and all aspects of your life. It is also a great gift to others. The Fourth Precept is an essential part of the Buddhist path.

apprenticehealer

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Re: THE FOURTH PRECEPT: DEEP LISTENING AND LOVING SPEECH
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2013, 10:36:00 AM »
Being able to listen deeply and speak lovingly are qualities that one should develop into oneself to be a good person and a true practitioner of The Dharma.

Sometimes, all a person who is suffering just needs a good ear to pour out all their problems , to just have a shoulder to cry on. There usually is relief after voicing out his troubles, and in talking about it, he sometimes finds the answers that he is looking for. We should listen closely and attentively and not be critical or judgemental about what he is saying, and of course to keep the whole conversation private and confidential.

In cases as mentioned above, we console , comfort and offer practical suggestions to the person, to speak lovingly and gently , and in certain cases , when necessary , speak firmly. We should not add to more suffering onto the person by belittling, deriding, criticizing or speaking harshly. We would only create more bad karma for ourselves playing judge, jury and executioner.And even worse karma if we would then start gossiping about this person and his situation.
Words spoken can never be retracted, and most times words said in haste, anger , pain , bitterness cause a lot more damage than one can imagine.

When we come from compassion and loving kindness, these qualities will reflect outwards to whoever we come into contact with.

Midakpa

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Re: THE FOURTH PRECEPT: DEEP LISTENING AND LOVING SPEECH
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2013, 06:05:58 PM »
The fourth precept is refraining from false speech. One abstains from lying deliberately and cultivates truthfulness. According to the Buddha, there are four types of wrong speech. One of them is lying. In the Majjhima Nikaya, i. chap.41, the Buddha described four unwholesome practices in speech to the Brahmin housefathers of Sala of the Kosalans. The first type of wrong speech is lying:

'Now, housefathers, what are the four unrighteous practices in speech? In this matter, housefathers, a man is a liar. When he goes to the court of justice or the assembly, or goes amongst the company of relatives or the folk, or to the royal ministers, being brought up and forced to give evidence (they say to him):

"Now, good fellow, say what you know."
Then he, though not knowing, says, "I know" : or knowing he says, "I know not." Or not having seen he says, "I saw" ; or having seen he says, "I saw not." Thus to save himself or others, or for the sake of some trifling gain, he deliberately utters lies.'