Pilgrimage in Sri Lanka, Ch 2, no 4.
- Dear friends,
Abstaining from wrong speech is a form of s�la. We understand this in
theory, but do we remember it in our daily life, when we are about to
say something unpleasant? For example, someone may suggest a plan to
us which does not conform to our wishes. Are we impatient and do we
say straight away that we do not like his plan, or are we patient and
do we abstain from unpleasant speech out of consideration for his
feelings? We may know that when we shout there is wrong speech; that
is very obvious. But do we realize that there is also wrong speech
when we speak with lack of consideration for someone else�s feelings,
even though we do not shout? Showing one�s dislike through speech is
speech motivated by aversion. How can that be right speech? Even when
we do not say anything, but keep quiet with aversion at the moment we
do not agree with someone else, it is not kusala citta that abstains
form wrong speech.
In the suttas we read about gentle speech. For example, in the
�Lesser Simile of the Elephant�s Footprint�, the sutta Mahinda
preached to King Devanampiya Tissa, we read about gentle speech:
�... Abandoning harsh speech, he is one who abstains from harsh
speech. Whatever speech is gentle, pleasing to the ear, affectionate,
goiing to the heart, urbane, pleasant to manyfolk, agreeable to the
manyfolk- he comes to be one who utters speech like this...�
Phra Dhammadhara told me about an event which I find an excellent
reminder to be patient in one�s speech. One night the bhikkhus had no
microphone during the Dhamma session and whenever they wanted to
speak they had to wait for the microphone being handed over to them.
They all found this waiting very helpful. If one speaks straight away
one may speak with akusala citta when one does not agree with someone
e;se�s words. If one has to wait one has time to collect oneself.
How difficult it is to always speak with kusala citta. Even when the
topic is dhamma there can be attachment to one�s own words and ideas,
there can be pride in one�s knowledge, or there can be aversion
towards what others say. When akusala citta motivates our speech, we
cannot be of great help to others, even when the topic is Dhamma.
Thus we see that right understanding of our different cittas is most
helpful for the development of kusala.
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