9 August, 2020

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Be Mindful & Careful Before You Utter

By Ven. Horowpothane Sathindriya Thera

Ven. Horowpothane Sathindriya Thera

“Better than a thousand meaningless words is one meaningful word, hearing which one attains peace”

These are the profound and insightful words of great spiritual leader, the Buddha who compassionately emphasised for the edification and betterment of human beings.

We are truly fortunate to be born as human beings. But we are not perfect. We have numerous inabilities and limited capacities. Numerous mistakes and lapses are taken place in our lives due to lack of mindfulness. Some are very sagacious and intelligent. Some are well-cultured and well-mannered, but some are extremely contrary to what I mentioned before. This is the diversity and multiplicity in our human society.

Twenty-Six centuries ago, the Greatest Son of India, the Buddha had a long and cordial conversation with a young man called Subha who respectfully asked a question about the disparity of human society. Then the Buddha explicitly and precisely inculcate him by explaining the factors of Karma and result of karma.

In the discourse of Culakammavighanga Sutta (The Shorter Exposition Of Action) precisely explains it well.

It is terribly appalling that most people destructively criticise and brutally defame others hardly earned reputation and innocent characters. This is very obvious in political platform now adays.

Once the president John F Kennedy said thus:

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciate is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

Well known short story writer, journalist, and poet Ambrose Bierce once said: 

“Speak when you are angry, and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.”

Words we speak are immensely powerful. We are extremely fortunate to have the ability to express our feelings and thoughts through words, using numerous languages. What an amazing talent and stunning aptitude human being is endowed with the ability and capability of expressing one’s feelings and thoughts. But unfortunately, most humans never appreciate and honour it.

Every single parent is impatiently and eagerly waiting to hear the first voice and the tone of his or her child. It makes them extremely delighted and joyful. If a child is weak or unhealthy, parents would be perplexed and perturbed.

However, we must be extremely happy that we are able to express and articulate our views, thoughts and feelings perfectly. We should exercise this precious gift of speech very wisely. Because sooner or later our gifts such speech, vision, hearing, feeling and ability to smell will be faded or weakened. 

This will be the moment of truth. So, we must use them wisely and carefully.

The words that we speak disclose our true character.  

Some are intoxicated and arrogant due to their academic achievements, the accomplishment of wealth and the political power. They pompously overstate and exaggerate facts which are not relevant to their own lives or that of others. Mostly I have noticed that the purpose of these academics is to belittle others. They impolitely and senselessly let others down by uttering, insulting with abusive words. 

Unfortunately, we can see such disgraceful, despicable, detestable speeches and behaviour in our political arena. Though some individuals hypocritically say that they are Buddhists they have proven that they have violated and committed all crimes which is not acceptable in society where still discipline and moral conducts are accepted and respected  as principles in our human society.

During the presidential election campaign two supporters of late Mr. John McCain were trying to disparage and denigrate Mr. Barack Obama and his honourable character but in the multitudes of public late HONOURABLE John McCain rejected and turned down it rather entertaining it and insulting the opponent with cheerful henchmen.

This is the proof which non-Buddhist, but respectful and honourable leader behaved with dignity and nobility that our so-called leaders horribly lack.

Sometimes they boast of their paper qualifications with pride, but the words they use even when speaking with their family members and friends are repugnant and repulsive. None of their qualifications have helped them to refrain from using harsh words. How unfortunate it is to see them often try to deliver lectures on the subject of goodness. These people are very weak in reality despite their delusive and fallacious belief that they are superiors and exceptional.

Words must be pleasant and soothing. They must be consoling and comforting. Inspiring and encouraging words are constructive and productive. They are called wholesome words. Bitter and harsh words are distressful and traumatic. They hurt a lot.

The great Master, Gautama Buddha encouraged people to dissuade from unwholesome acts. He persuaded them to perform wholesome deeds. If one follows his advice, one will lead to a happy and peaceful life, here and hereafter. The truth is that no one can escape ‘Karma’. No one can avoid its outcome. It is like a never departing shadow.

Once the Buddha was highly appreciative of a person who had abandoned and abstained from using harsh speech and   comparing his words to honey.

“Here some person, having abandoned harsh speech, abstains from harsh speech. He speaks such words that are gentle, pleasing to the ear, and are lovable. Such words enter the heart, are courteous, are desired by many and are agreeable. This is the person whose speech is like honey,” The Buddha had once said. 

Once Gautama Buddha proclaimed that some people are prone to anger and are easily exasperated. Even if a person criticizes slightly, he might lose his temper and becomes irritated, hostile, and stubborn, The Buddha had said. The Enlightened One had also added, 

“He who discloses irritation, hatred and bitterness is akin to a festering sore and if struck by a stick will discharge even more matter”.

True and heart felt words, kind and soft-hearted words compassionate and sincere words are the best and life changing words. Those who speak in that manner are appreciated and respected. Words will reveal and disclose the true nature of one’s character and mentality.

If one honestly concentrates on one’s own freedom from suffering one will never generate any such excruciating pain in one’s heart.

The amazing veracity of Gautama Buddha’s words is very impressive. They are accepted by multitudes of people. The Great Master never pronounced any harsh or abusive words even though he was abused and insulted by uncultured and undisciplined people, belonging to different faiths and beliefs.

People who take refuge in the religion of Gautama Buddha must be very mindful of what they say. These are Gautama Buddha’s instructions for Buddhists before they select their words for speech.

On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Rajagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the squirrel sanctuary. Then the Brahmin Vassakara, the chief minister of Magadha, approached the Blessed One and exchanged greetings with him…Then, sitting to one side, he said to the Blessed One:

“Master Gotama, I hold the thesis and view that there is no fault when one speaks about the seen, saying: ‘Such was seen by me’; no fault when one speaks about the heard, saying: ‘Such was heard by me’; no fault when one speaks about the sensed, saying: ‘Such was sensed by me’; no fault when one speaks about the cognized, saying: ‘Such was cognized by me.”

“I do not say, brahmin, that everything seen should be spoken about, nor do I say that nothing seen should be spoken about. (2) I do not say that everything heard should be spoken about, nor do I say that nothing heard should be spoken about. (3) I do not say that everything sensed should be spoken about, nor do I say that nothing sensed should be spoken about. (4) I do not say that everything cognized should be spoken about, nor do I say that nothing cognized should be spoken about.

“For, Brahmin, if, when one speaks about what one has seen, unwholesome qualities increase and wholesome qualities decline, I say that one should not speak about what one has seen. But if, when one speaks about what one has seen, unwholesome qualities decline and wholesome qualities increase, I say that one should speak about what one has seen.

“If, when one speaks about what one has heard, unwholesome qualities increase and wholesome qualities decline, I say that one should not speak about what one has heard. But if, when one speaks about what one has heard, unwholesome qualities decline and wholesome qualities increase, I say that one should speak about what one has heard.

“If, when one speaks about what one has sensed, unwholesome qualities increase and wholesome qualities decline, I say that one should not speak about what one has sensed. But if, when one speaks about what one has sensed, unwholesome qualities decline and wholesome qualities increase, I say that one should speak about what one has sensed.

“If, when one speaks about what one has cognized, unwholesome qualities increase and unwholesome qualities decline, I say that one should not speak about what one has cognized. But if, when one speaks about what one has cognized, unwholesome qualities decline and wholesome qualities increase, I say that one should speak about one has cognized.”

Then the Brahmin Vassakara, the chief minister of Magadha, having delighted and rejoiced in the Blessed One’s statement, rose from his seat and departed.

On many occasions the Buddha has advised and encouraged people to practice right speech thus:

Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, and idle chatter. This is called right speech.

“Monks, possessing five factors, speech is well spoken, not badly spoken; it is blameless and beyond reproach by the wise. What five?

It is spoken at the proper time; what is said is true; it is spoken gently; what is said is beneficial; it is spoken with a mind of loving-kindness.

Possessing these five factors, speech is well spoken, not badly spoken; it is blameless and beyond reproach by the wise.” ~ (The Buddha – AN)

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Latest comments

  • 8
    0

    Ven. Sir,
    .
    How can we ever expect them to be buddhists, while they dont even respect the ” five precepts ” today ?
    This is unfortunately, the truth also with the some monks that are placed before the parades of the current leaders.
    :
    I have no doubt, you got to see, how Primier Mahinda Rajapakshe of the country abused his mouth against the childless parents few days ago. He is the most shameless leader the mother lanka ever produced. All these he continues by continuing the term ” APE HAMUDURUWANEE” …. this has now been the cultre of this country, no matter you the like real buddhist monks would articulate it in this way.
    :
    Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom -Lord Buddha.

  • 1
    1

    Yes,Ven.Sir,

    Be Mindful & Careful and you yourself censure before uttering

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