DHARMA IN EVERYDAY LIFE
- OPPOSITE GOSSIP
- OF RIGHT AND WRONG
By Nhat Quan
Gossip of right and wrong is simply understood as
public opinion, a rumor. The words Gossip of right and wrong
go together to mean that the world's mouth is unpredictable,
whoever wants to say right can say it, and whoever wants to
say wrong can say it. Meaning, say whatever you like. There
are three types of Gossip right and wrong
1- Talking too much:
This type is the most common, along with the idea
that there is no smoke without fire and the spirit of copying
three times, and the original is lost. So after a few times of
spreading it to each other by word of mouth, the truth became
extremely big and dangerous. For example:
- Person A saw person Y coming home from work at
11:00 PM. When person A meets person B he says:
- Lately, Ms. Y has been coming home late from
anywhere, sometimes she only comes home at 1 a.m.
Person B heard Person A, and when he met Person
C, he immediately said:
- Ms. Y is now drinking and partying too much,
only coming home late at night.
Person C heard person B say, when meeting person
D, person C said::
- Ms. Y is really spoiled, she left home for a
few days before returning.
That's saying too much, and the more you say it,
the more untrue it is.
2. Make up stories and say bad words:
This type is less, but also more evil! Usually,
you are jealous of something about the object, so you find a
way to smear it to your satisfaction. You will make some
hypotheses and talk about them all day long, such as:
- If you don't do anything illegal, how can you
be so rich? Or say, it looks so decent, but who knows what
it's hiding? The other day I saw…
3. Stinging other people's past:
This type is the most evil. They talk about true
stories, but they are the subject's mistakes in the past. It's
over, but you keep repeating it over and over again. Now that
person has changed, but for you, you still say that person is
still evil and you want the whole world to know that. It seems
like when other people get better, you don't like it.
The three types I just mentioned above are all
types of gossip from ignorant people to bad people, and there
may be some other types.
Meeting each other in this world is fate, and everyone gets
caught up in gossip of right and wrong at least once or twice.
Even the Buddha during his time in the world also suffered
many scandals from the tongues of Brahmans. The only thing is,
if you encounter gossip of right and wrong and you walk past
it gently, you are a lucky person. If you see gossip of right
and wrong and reach out to grab it and hang it around your
neck as jewelry, you are a foolish person. So what should you
do so that when the gossip of right and wrong comes down to
you, you can still get over it easily?
According to some monks' instructions:
1- Absolutely do not argue or clarify with people
who intentionally say bad things about you, it will only
create more excitement for them. The more you talk, the more
mistakes will appear for them to expose and dissect.
Furthermore, outsiders will also begin to doubt you.
2- Silence, ignoring:
This is the solution chosen by many people, and
it is also effective in many cases, but it is not a stable and
long-term solution. Imagine wearing a raincoat and walking in
the rain. No matter how good the raincoat is, if you walk for
a long time in the rain, it will still be cold and wet. Be
quiet and be patient with the little rains.
3- The most effective but also the most difficult
solution is sympathy:
This is like buying a raincoat and buying a house
to protect you from the rain. But if you buy a house, you will
no longer be afraid of wind and rain, then you can comfortably
sit and watch the rain. When someone attacks or speaks ill of
you, first take the time to look back at yourself and see how
much of what that person said is true. Don't get angry, forget
the speaker and focus on getting to know yourself, that way
you will both benefit and not get angry. The next step is to
sympathize with the person who speaks ill of you:
- Why do they have to do that?
How angry are they, and how educated are they?
Saying so, what is the benefit or harm to them?... At this
point, you completely think about the other person and forget
that they are saying bad things about you. When you complete
this step, you feel sorry for them, that's all.
4- Use strong measures when necessary:
Life is not paradise so there are still many evil people. Evil
is not normal evil anymore. That means when you ignore, stay
silent, and sympathize, but they still keep doing it, over and
over again. Maybe they were ordered to or for some other
reason, but if they refuse to let you go and continue to
defame and smear your reputation, it's best for you to quietly
collect evidence and sue in court. Better yet, pretend you've
never heard what they say and remember the first rule: don't
argue with them for nothing. Hopefully, you never have to use
To supplement the solution when encountering the Gossip of
right and wrong that our ancients once taught their
descendants in an ancient story. The story goes that... During
a leisurely day, King Thai Tong asked his courtier Hua Kinh
- I see that your character is not a poor one. Why is there so
much gossip and hate?
Hua Kinh Ton replied, Your Majesty:
- Spring rain pours down like oil, farmers are happy because
the land is soaked, but pedestrians hate it because the road
- The autumn moon shines brightly like a mirror hanging in the
night sky, and rows of poets are happy to have the opportunity
to sing and recite poetry. But the thieves hate it because the
moonlight is so bright.
Heaven and Earth are impartial and unbiased, but the sun,
rain, and weather are still blamed and hated by the world. And
I am not a perfect person, so how can I avoid criticism? So I
secretly think that when it comes to the Gossip of right and
wrong in the world, you should calmly consider it, and don't
rush to believe it. The king believes that if he listens to
the Gossip of right and wrong, his officials will be harmed.
Parents who believe in listening to the Gossip of right and
wrong will have their children abandoned. The husband and wife
believed in listening to Gossip of right and wrong and the
family separated. The Gossip of right and wrong in the world
is more venomous than snakes and centipedes, sharper than
swords, killing people without seeing blood.
The story above is the best example for you to learn when
facing the Gossip of right and wrong. That is:
- Can't see and
- Not interested!
In this spirit, according to Buddhism, the karma of speech is
one of the heaviest karmas a person can create. The wound you
cause on another person's body will heal someday, but the
wound caused by words will never heal. So be careful with your
words, don't cause Gossip of right and wrong because of
unconsciousness, and don't use harsh words to torment them
because someone has made a mistake in the past, as Oscar Wilde
- Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.
You are all human, no one is perfect. Forgive and look at each
other for good things, compliment and encourage each other to
grow together, and don't oppress or mock each other. You can't
get higher just by kicking others down. And here is another
story worth learning. The story told by Socrates is:
One day a neighbor came to see Socrates:
- Hey Mr. Socrates, have you heard this story?
Socrates interrupted his neighbor:
- Are you sure that everything you are about to tell me is
- Oh... not sure yet. I just heard people say it.
- Is that so? So you don't need to worry about it unless it's
a good thing. Is that a good thing?
- Oh no, not good. This is a bad story.
- Well, do you think I need to know that to help prevent bad
things for others?
The neighbor replied.
- Oh, well... there's really no need,
- Very good, then forget about it, okay? There are countless
more valuable things in life. You can't waste time worrying
about trivial things, things that are neither true, nor good,
nor necessary for anyone.
That's why, in conversations, I always try to avoid mentioning
someone who is absent. If I do speak, I only say good things
and try to find common topics. Thanks to that, I have never
had the gossip of right and wrong affect my mind for a long
time. I don't agree with anyone when I hear them say good
things about me, and I also don't hate anyone when I hear that
they say bad things about me.
Most of you have the habit of hearing someone say something
bad about you through a second or third person's mouth, then
you look for clues to recognize who said that, then get angry
and sad, that is a bad thing. Therefore, you need to be
mentally prepared in advance, or at least have your own path
available, and when something happens, just follow what you
know in advance. I chose a direction for myself when there
were incorrect words said about me. First, I consider whether
what people say about me is true. At this point, I have to put
my ego aside to have an objective concept to look at. This is
a bit difficult if my ego is big. If it's true, I should bow
my head and admit my mistake so that things don't become more
complicated when I try to justify it. If I'm wrong, before
being completely silent and saying nothing more, I use gentle
words to explain if the other person wants to listen.
The situation will become even more complicated when words are
exchanged, in which everyone defends their own opinion. So
whether you are right or wrong, if you try to justify, try to
clarify the problem by arguing over and over, it will only
make things worse. In all cases, silence is always the optimal
solution. Silence shows your capacity. It can bring out the
truth. It could be rhetoric. It can calm anger. It can
comfort. It is composure. Sometimes it's braver than speaking
You can explain and talk about this again later if necessary
when things have calmed down. If you think it's not worth
paying attention to anymore, just leave it aside. There's more
to life than holding on to resentment and frustration just
because others don't understand you correctly.
Let me tell you the following story:
One time, Buddha went to teach in a village of Brahmans. The
Brahmin monks saw that their disciples were following Buddha
too much, so they tried to stop Buddha and scold him. Buddha
still walked leisurely, they followed behind and cursed.
Seeing Buddha calmly remaining silent, they got angry, stopped
Buddha and asked:
- Are you deaf?
- I'm not deaf.
If you're not deaf, why don't you hear me cursing?
- Brahmin, if your family has a party, your relatives attend,
and when the party is over they leave, you give them a gift,
but they don't accept it, so whose hands does the gift go to?
- That gift is about me.
- Likewise, you curse me, if I don't accept it, you accept it.
The Brahmin called Buddha's name and cursed him, but he did
not receive it. As for you, when you hear innuendos and
whispers everywhere, you always listen carefully, to be sad or
angry. Thus, with an enlightened person when he heard the
foolish words of sentient beings, the Buddha was neither
attached nor sad. As for you, due to ignorance, just one harsh
word speaks louder, holding it forever in your heart, so you
In short, when faced with gossip of right and wrong, most of
you have the habit of hearing people say bad things about you
through the second or third person's mouth, then you have to
find the person to say it and then get angry, foolish, and
defilement, which is not good.
Of course, not all gossip of right and wrong is easy to
ignore. There are words that insult your personality,
affecting not only you but also creating a wave of public
opinion on the psychology of those around you. They may use
negative comments to perceive you incorrectly. But anyway, you
just stay calm. Because gossip of right and wrong will only
affect those who superficially evaluate the issue from their
mouths. But people who are profound, thoughtful, and
knowledgeable know how to look deeply and only make comments
after careful evaluation. Therefore, if you are right, then
maintain the steadfastness of your mind, then you will have no
difficulty when you face such baseless gossip of right and
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