By Nhat Quan
Words cannot be seen, cannot be grasped, yet they have caused many people to laugh and cry. So what is the truth of words? You cannot see or grasp it, but you can see and hear speech through a manifest person. If that statement is:
- Hot-tempered people often say offensive words,
- Liars speak fluently, can't refute them, but also can't understand their minds?
- A malicious person speaks insultingly to others with a gentle voice...
But in any case, all these languages arise from one root, which is the Mind; therefore the sign of language is the Mind. In the Buddha's mind, speech is good dharma, and in the mind of sentient beings, words become evil karma. The minds of sentient beings have thousands of signs, and words cause thousands of karma.
To observe a person's language is to observe his/her mind. The way the mind manifests in each person is different, so it is correct to call each person a language of their own. So when you come to anyone, understand them with your mind, don't just listen superficially with your ears. It is the observation of sound. When you don't like something, you usually say you hate it. In a more mature person, you would say not paying much attention. If only understood according to the hearing of the ear, these two words are two different interests. Since then there have been many misunderstandings.
In order to observe the sound as it really is, the venerable ones advise, you can't use your ears, but listen with your mind. Using the Mind to understand the mind, the Buddha's mind can understand all kinds of sentient beings' minds. You cannot see all the minds of the interlocutor, you certainly cannot understand their words. So don't be quick to react according to your own hearing. Speech is the mind, so an evil mind produces evil speech. Even if it is hidden, even if people do not detect it, or do not react, evil has been born and still brings evil retribution to the speaker.
In folklore there is a saying:
The mouth is a poisonous snake, but the mind is the mind of the Buddha
This sentence is completely wrong, Buddha never said cruel words, or harmed people. The reason for this saying is that people use it to describe poisonous snakes. Each person has a different way of saying it, a different way of expressing compassion. Like the differential conduct of the Bodhisattvas, appearing as a judge with the role of a just judge, it cannot be called an evil sign. The Patriarchs scold their disciples from the heart of emptiness, to teach patience or enlighten the True Nature, it cannot be called evil speech. But the person who considers himself to have a good heart should let go of his words without restraint, each word causing unspeakable harm to others, and makes excuses with the phrase:
- The mouth is a poisonous snake, but the mind is the mind of the Buddha, that speech karma is incalculable.
From the Buddha's Mind, that word will not benefit the listener no matter what. On the contrary, only causing harm is called evil speech. And an evil mind gives birth to an evil form, produces an evil speech, produces evil karma, and produces evil retribution.
Be careful with your words. Speech is the breath from the mouth. But life and death follow each breath coming in and out, so life and death also follow each word that comes and goes. Therefore, you should speak peaceably, without controversy which is the basic practice of a Buddhist disciple. In cohabitation, non-controversy plays a very important role in establishing harmony and purity.
Of course, you have the right to argue and discuss a certain issue, but you must speak in mindfulness, love, and harmony in order to build and perfect each other for the common goal, for your own benefit and the benefit of others.
After all, people in the world argue about not only fame and interests, attachment and ego. Cultivators, if you don't keep your mind steady, you'll also argue for fame and interests, just like people in the world. In an age where the karma of beings is biased towards the struggle for self-benefit, the controversy becomes more intense. Arguing to clarify the truth, clarifying right and wrong but still keeping a calm, compassionate mind is acceptable. Controversy because of ego and mine causes the breakage of brotherhood and creates a discorded living space, people are always suspicious and tense, it is not advisable, especially since such a thing happens in the Sangha. According to the Mix Agama Sutra, number 534 says:
When the Buddha was in his garden Anathapindika, the forest of Prince Jeta, in the country of savanna... Buddha told the monks:
This being, in the past in the country of Sāvatthi, ordained as a monk in the Dharma of Kāyapa Buddha, loved to argue, disturbed the Sangha, talked with many mouths, and lost harmony. The Bhikkhu-stilts residing before were bored and left, those who had not come did not want to come. Because of that sin, that sentient being is reborn in hell and suffers an immeasurable amount. Now, because there is still residual karma to report hell, that being has to carry this body and continue to suffer.
In fact, people like to argue because they are heavy on verbal karma and evil nature, and do not know how to transform so that the behavior of the mouth is pure. It is troublesome to live in a congregation with one or more such people. Those who have been residing permanently leave, and those who have not yet come, no one wants to come, which is a misfortune for the congregation. Looking deeper, there is nothing without a cause. The former is due to the oral karma of the controversial person. Next is the management and administration of the responsible people in the congregation. The leaders in the congregation, if they do not follow the principle of the six harmonies of the Buddha, sooner or later will cause conflicts, discord, and controversy.
Cultivators mainly practice pure precepts, that is, the three karmas of body, mouth, and mind should be pure. Remember, oral karma is one of the three most difficult karma to overcome for spiritual practice; It is the biggest hindrance to the practice of attaining enlightenment. Is the greatest life-killing power for spiritual practice; Is the main karmic force that brings you down to the evil path; It is the greatest hindrance to rebirth. Causing inner turmoil, gossip of right and wrong none cease; Causing the Sangha not to harmonize, and the Dharma not to flourish. Causing sentient beings to lose their way of mind, and to lose their good roots as human beings. While, less arguing, happiness comes closer to you.
In today's society, some of you think that those who do not know how to compete for benefits, status, and material wealth are stupid and dull people. But the ancients believed that the things that people achieve in this life are due to their blessings. Competing only harms others and damages your own virtue. Once the heart is more open, friends and wealth will also be more. Less arguing, happiness comes closer to you. Controversy often occurs, especially:
- Couple:
The argument with your spouse, if you win, the feelings fade. In life, you often see a scene where the wife is not favorable at work and immediately uses an excuse to get angry with her husband. The husband, for his own face and in front of his friends, should be patient. In response, when there are no friends or outsiders, the husband tries to command the wife, treating her as a slave. The wife could not stand it and so the peaceful relationship turned into discord. You should know, the couple is not 100% each, but each person is half, which is only 50%, due to the pairing of two people, it becomes 100%. Therefore, two people must learn together to face each other's mistakes, to promptly help each other to improve the other, and also to improve themselves. As a couple, there is no need to argue about who is right and who is wrong for what?
- Parents & children:
Children are at odds with their parents because they argue more than lose. Those of you who have a dispute with your parents should note this point. In fact, there is not a single person in this world who is obligated to be kind to you. Only parents do not compare, and calculate the return of their children, on the contrary, love, and care for you only. Sometimes, parents' worries are unfounded, and parents' attention is unnecessary, but parents do so all because they want their children to have a good life later. Don't argue with your parents, that's the greatest filial piety!
- Friend:
Arguing with your friends, if you win, the friends will fade away. Friends come together because they are destined to meet each other thousands of miles away because they have a mutual understanding. The Ancients had a saying:
  - Gold and silver are easy to get, and soulmates are hard to find, so never argue with friends.
- Client:
Arguing with customers, if you win, the customer goes away; Arguing with colleagues, if you win, your colleagues will fade away…
People in life are always staring at others, if you always want to win against others, your life will be very tiring! Live in the world, don't think that everything has to be competed high and low! There are some things in life that are not controversial to have, but also not necessarily happy to have. Others have their splendor, you also have yours.
The important practice of human life is in deeds, not in words and arguments. Truth does not need to be argued every day, nor is it necessary to argue every day to find the truth. All truths and righteous paths, only genuine use of the heart to practice can truly understand.
If you think about this carefully, you can understand the logic that an honest person is more likely to not need to argue with others. They won't use words to prove they're right. Whether facing defamation or being attacked by others, they can use their intellect to prove their innocence and purity. Storytelling:
During the Buddha's lifetime, there was a monk named Kondaahana. Since this young man left home and became a monk, wherever he went, a woman followed behind him, but he did not know that there was a woman following him, but everyone all see.
When going for alms, the benefactors put two tablespoons of rice in Kondaahana's bowl. The first spoon they said: This spoon is the portion of the Master, and the second spoon is the portion of the friend of the Master.
The bhikkhus, seeing this, thought that Master Kondaahana had broken the precepts, so they went to the elder Anathapindika and asked him to expel Bhikkhu Kondaahana from the temple. Mr. Anathapindika did not dare to do. The bhikkhus let the female believer Visakha know, but she did not dare. The monks went to the palace to meet King Prasenajit and tell the story. The king accepted, in the afternoon when the king entered the temple, the king had his army surround the main hall, while the king went up to the palace, Master Kondaahana heard the noise and came out to see, the king saw a woman behind him. Master Kondaahana, when he heard that the king was coming, he immediately went back inside. When he met Master Kondaahana the king did not bow down, but the king did not see the woman's figure as outside.
Whenever Bhikkhu Kondaahana came out, a woman immediately followed him. When Thay entered the palace, the image of that woman suddenly disappeared again. The king was surprised to ask:
- Master, where is that woman?
- My Lord Great King, I do not see any woman.
- Please tell me honestly.
- Dear Great King, the assembly here all say that there is a woman behind me, but I do not see.
After trying many times, the king thought: It is indeed a fake image and said:
- Master, once something is not clean like this, there is no one to make offerings to you, so from now on, you just go to the inner palace, and I will make offerings to you.
The bhikkhus were not pleased when the king treated Bhikkhu Kondaahana in such a special way. So they told Master Kondaahana that:
- Hey, you break the precepts! The king is a coward like you.
As for Master Kondaahana, before he had no evidence to answer, but now he has been testified by the king, he immediately replied that:
- You are the ones who break the precepts, you are the ones who lead women to beg for food.
After arguing for a while, the bhikkhus brought this matter to the Blessed One:
- Venerable Sir, how did Kondaahana master create karma in the past?
The Buddha just taught that:
- In the time of Kassapa-buddha, there were two monks who loved each other like brothers and sisters from the same mother and father. At that time, every year the Sangha held a ceremony to express their thoughts. Near the day of expressing their thoughts, the two teachers invited each other to go to a deserted place to have a ceremony to confess their feelings
While walking in the middle of the road, there was a deity in the Trayastrimsàs realm, seeing the two loving each other, he thought:
- These two monks love each other very much, can we separate?
While the deity was thinking of a plan of division, one of the two masters said:
- Please wait a moment, I need to go to the toilet.
The deity waited for the monk to finish going to the toilet, and when he came out from the bushes, he turned into a woman with one hand on his pants and the other on his hair as if he had just made love to that monk finished. The deity deliberately waited for the other monk to see it, then disappeared.
Therefore, when this bhikkhu came, the other said:
- You are a precept-breaker.
- Master, I have not!
- Recently, I saw a girl following you.
- Master, I really don't have this.
The two Masters quarreled, and in the end, they two Masters parted ways, because they were not willing to do the ceremony together to confess their mistakes.
Seeing such a disastrous result, deva thought:
- I have committed a terrible sin.
Thinking like this, the deva immediately appeared and said:
- This monk's virtue is still pure, this is because I want to test the two of you. Please join the ceremony to express your repentance.
At that time, the two new bhikkhus obeyed and happily performed the ceremony to show repentance.
Because bad karma created controversy, after enjoying all the blessings, this deity fell into Avìchì, after many lifetimes, until now, he was born as a Kondaahana.
When he finished mentioning the previous life of Bhikkhu Kondaahana, the Blessed One said:
- Because of bad karma that creates controversy, there is something extraordinary like today. Yet you still keep that bad character and refuse to repent. You should not argue with bhikkhus. You have to be silent like a dumb person, when you can do that, you can pay off your karma and attain the path and fruition!
In order to support the disciples, the Blessed One built six principles of peaceful coexistence, which are six peace in order to establish purity and harmony for the Sangha. In addition to guiding the practice of transforming controversial karma, the Blessed One also used many means to warn his disciples. Specifically, if you do not transform your oral karma, you will fall into hell because of that sin, and suffer immeasurable suffering. Now because of the hellish karma of Bhikkhu Kondaahanan, he has to carry this body and continue to suffer. This is the wisdom and compassion of the Blessed One for those who deliberately cause discord in the assembly. Buddha taught:
- Resentment can never destroy resentment, only love can destroy resentment. Arguing does not solve discord, only tolerance and goodwill to see things from the other side's point of view can mediate the dispute.
And once President Lincoln advised a young officer when he was arguing violently with a colleague:
- No one wants to get ahead and waste time in private disputes. It only spoils your temper and takes away your self-control. Sometimes you also have to know how to yield to others, even though you know you have a point. It is better to give way to a dog than to fight with it to be bitten by it. Because even if you kill the dog later, the bite will not heal immediately.
In short, you often think that words are like the wind that flies but doesn't know where to go, so you keep saying bad things to your mouth, creating hot suspicions and arguments. But you didn't expect the evil word because it was so heavy that it followed the wind of karma to go to hell. Therefore, you should practice saying words of love, words of solidarity, and words of construction are necessary virtues to sublimate yourself, contributing to the establishment of a pure and peaceful living space. So while talking, if there is no control, according to Ph. Chesterfield says:
- When you see the other person starting to get angry, end the argument with a funny sentence.
And Diodore
- When arguing with a person, you need to orient so that after the argument, you will have another friend.
Or better yet, America's first president, George Washington, encouraged:
- Never try to argue with someone higher up, but express your opinion with humility.
Remember, anyone whose speech is not pure will be punished in hell. So every moment you have to control yourself, don't let loose or talk indiscriminately. Because if you plant an unclean cause, in the future you will definitely reap an unclean fruit. While cultivating pure causes, you will surely reap good fruits.
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