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Sri Lanka Revisited, Ch 2, no 4.

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  • Nina van Gorkom
    Dear friends, With regard to idle, useless talk, we may find it very difficult to refrain from it when we are in conversation with others. We are tempted to
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 30, 2008
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      Dear friends,

      With regard to idle, useless talk, we may find it very difficult to
      refrain from it when we are in conversation with others. We are
      tempted to think that since only the arahat has eradicated conditions
      for this kind of talk we can wholeheartedly engage in it. We cannot
      be perfect, but if we realize more often whether the citta of the
      present moment is kusala citta or akusala citta we shall see the
      value of abstaining from wrong speech, even if it is more subtle such
      as idle, useless speech. Khun Sujin adviced us to speak more often
      with mett� and karun�. Even when the conversation is about the
      weather or about relatives we can speak with kusala citta. There are
      many types of citta which can think of such topics as the weather or
      relatives. Mett�, karun�, mudit� (sympthetic joy) and upekkh�
      (equanimity) have to be developed in daily life, also during our
      ordinary conversations. When we, for example, speak about the weather
      that has improved we may think of the wellbeing of other people who
      may profit from good weather. Is the citta kusala citta or akusala
      citta while we are talking? The citta that motivates speech cannot be
      �neutral�, it is either kusala citta or akusala citta. Most of the
      time it is akusala citta. The best cure for wrong speech is right
      mindfulness of the n�mas and r�pas that appear through the six doors,
      no matter whether we are speaking or whether we are silent. When
      there is right mindfulness, the six doors are �guarded�, and this is
      a way of s�la, the �virtue of restraint of the faculties� (indriya
      samvara s�la, Visuddhimagga I, 42). When there is no mindfulness, all
      kinds of akusala are bound to arise on account of what is experienced
      through the six doors.

      Politeness which is sincere and paying respect are ways of s�la.
      Bhante Dhammadhara pointed out that politeness may not always be
      sincere. We may have selfish motives for politeness, for example,
      when we want to have a good reputation, or when we want to obtain
      favours from someone else. Politeness which is kusala must be
      sincere. As regards paying respect, do we really understand what it
      is? It is not an empty gesture. Why is it wholesome to pay respect?
      What are the reasons for paying respect? When we see good qualities
      and virrtues in others we can show our appreciation of these
      qualities through the body or through speech. We pay respect to the
      Buddha, not to his statue, but to his virtues; we think of his
      wisdom, his compassion and his purity. We pay respect to the monks
      because they have left their homes for the homeless life in order to
      �fare the brahman life completely fulfilled�. For a layman it is
      difficult to observe s�la perfectly. Since one has to live in a house
      and one has to prepare food, one may find oneself in circumstances
      which make it difficult to always observe s�la perfectly. A person
      who has accumulations for monkhood leaves his home for the homeless
      life, he leads a life of non-violence and of fewness of wishes.

      ******

      Nina.

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