By Nhat Quan
Words are the means that you use to express your thoughts and feelings, as well as a means of communication between people and people in society.
Speech can take many forms:
- Speak from the mouth
- Write on the page
- Words without words are expressed through gestures, eyes, smiles...
Of the three ways of speaking, you find that words written on paper and expressed through gestures are relatively less dangerous because you have time to think, write, or express attitudes, so it is easy to modify and adjust. . So the chances of making others suffer are relatively small unless you want to do bad things and don't want to adjust for good. Only words expressed through the mouth are the most important and dangerous. Of course, there must be thoughts of the mind, and the mind can come out into words. Speech, if guided by an unrighteous, unwholesome mind, will create suffering and sin. Saying untruthful and unkind words is to create oral karma, and later suffering and afflictions are inevitable. A spoken word will be like an arrow that flies away at a terrible speed, the arrow will slam into the point where the shooter has aimed, and there is no way to stop it, the ancients said:
- One word, even four good horses are difficult to keep up.
The deep cause of speech comes from within, from the mind. Therefore, the evil words that come out through the outside mouth prove that you have evil from your heart. As for the evil that comes out of the mouth, it is from the heart, it is those evil words that make you unclean. Similarly, in the heart come evil intentions, murders, adultery, theft, false witness and slander, etc. Once the heart is bad, it cannot produce well. It is because they perceive evil in the hearts of bad people that the venerable ones have warned:
- Those poisonous snakes, when they meet people, must release venom. Because its heart is full of poison, only then will the mouth release poison.
You too. If you are good, then manifest the good from your good treasure. If you are the bad guy, show the bad from your bad store.
Because envy and jealousy are more or less in your soul, you are easily tempted to say harmful words to someone, ruining their reputation and spiritual life. Therefore, to be able to say what is good and beneficial for you, for others, and for the world, first of all, it is required of you:
- Edit and purify from within your lap
- Speak at the right time, the right moment
And the most important thing is to have love. When you have a heart that truly loves people, you naturally know how to speak appropriately and benefit the listener.
Using negative criticism shows that you don't have love. Negative criticism is a way of erasing someone else's name to replace your own. It speaks of jealousy and the intention to take unfairly and unjustly. This is a very mean treatment, but it still happens every day in human social life. This careless treatment is the way you create the most injustice for yourself. Therefore, words must be timely and always alert for situations:
1- Talk bad, say good about someone
The basic in love is to want good, and gentleness for others. You also want to see yourself as good among people, but when you speak badly of someone, you are no longer good. How can you speak ill of others when inside you want to love and do good to them? This contradiction shows that you are divided and confused. Moreover, when you speak badly of others, you want to judge them and humiliate them. If you are not conscious and drastic to prevent it by all means, then defamation becomes a lifelong disease habit:
- People who are used to saying insulting words to others will never be able to correct and teach them in their lifetime.
When talking about others, if you can speak well for them, then speak; if you can't, keep your mouth shut, lest the reputation of others be harmed and you yourself also bring disaster. Saying bad things about others is to show that you are good, but good people do not speak badly of others. Only those who are responsible have the duty to judge others.
Every word is just a way to show your inner self. Good words to others show the goodness of your heart. On the other hand, speaking ill of others shows the wickedness of your heart. Especially the words of lies, conceit, jealousy, and showing a pathetic soul. The Buddha said these things as follows:
- The greatest ignorance in life is a lie.
- The biggest failure in human life is pride and arrogance
- The greatest tragedy in life is envy.
          2- Perspectives on talking less, talking more
The question is: talking less is good, or is less talking good?
Depending on the nature of each person, speaking less, clearly, and concisely is still better. Say less, is not less talk, but speak just enough for each issue. Meanwhile, speaking less often makes it difficult for others to understand you, or misunderstand. Agree that, people believe in what you do, not in your words, but being quiet is easy to lose sociality and lose the openness that is necessary for everyday life. It's scary to talk too much. Proverbs shows:
- People who often talk often make many mistakes. Those who are careful with their words are wise.
Indeed, no matter how good it is to say it when you talk a lot, you will always come up with something bad. You have two ears but only one tongue, so you can hear more and talk less. Also, not every question deserves an answer. You must clearly understand the mind of the person who wants to ask, ask sincerely or want to provoke. Ask to find out or to retort.
3- Conscious of praise and criticism
Many times you overuse and squander compliments and criticisms, and belittle and encourage those around you, making them easily frustrated and discouraged, no longer interested in developing their abilities and creativity at work. To speak such words shows a shallow and poor soul.
Because they are shallow, they are superficial in their judgment, unable to see the excellence and goodness of others to praise. Because of poverty, there is nothing to give to others, even giving is for harm by disparaging words and contempt.
In fact, it's not that you don't see the good and the right, as well as the good in others. But then because of arrogance, conceit, pride, and envy, you don't want to see them, you don't want to promote them. On the contrary, you also want to find a way to criticize to bring others down. Moreover, there are times when it is even taboo to dig up other people's private past stories to criticize and condemn ... Actually when you do so, you bring down your own yourself, and destroy your personality.
Faced with compliments, criticisms, and good or bad words about yourself, you need to train yourself to have a calm attitude:
- Not eager for praise,
- Also not upset because of the criticism;
- Not happy when people say good things, but also not discouraged because people say bad things.
Words of praise or criticism, good or bad of others, are only in relative terms. Not because others say good that you are good, people say badly that you are bad. Good or bad you know. Don't let the gossip or cover-up of others manipulate your soul, because:
- Compliments easily make you delusional; Criticism can easily make you mistaken.
So you must consider praise as an encouragement, and criticism as a warning. However, it is also important to be careful about compliments and criticisms.
Don't be afraid to be blamed, and don't like praise. Because there are things that are reproach but are actually praise, and there are things that are praise but are actually slander.
In fact, it is often right that people criticize you, and it is worth it to speak ill of you. All must be received and purified on your part, not generating negative reactions. The negative reaction is to choose a lowly, unreasonably self-deprecating attitude due to the words of others. Take it as a challenge to overcome yourself. That is the true attitude of a self-respecting person, and respecting self-worth is a call to rise above mediocrity.
4- Be careful with the speaker, the listener
Those who speak are sowing seeds, and those who hear are reaping fruits. Sowing is to know what kind of seed you sow, good seed or bad seed. The reaper must also know what you are reaping, reaping grass, or reaping rice. Knowing evil and still sowing is evil, knowing grass and still reaping is foolish. In addition to the speaker's intention to spread malicious news, and the listener's appetite for bad things, it is also an agreement and complicity with evil that creates more chaos in people's lives. While the spirit of Buddhists wants to gather and unite people, you cause division, which is the kind of people who break religion and harm people. While Buddhists want to spread love everywhere, listeners and speakers break together, people who are used to living under the influence of evil.
Accustomed to being restrained by bad things, you are no longer able to say and hear good things. You never accept that you are bad, but when others point you out, you consider it insulting. But see the fruit to know the tree, the fact has proven, you can not deny. The ancients said:
- Even talking about others is a way of talking about you, it is a way of exposing yourself.
Bad things, good things, mind, and character are all revealed in words. Those who are less experienced can't see it, but those who are experienced can see it quite clearly. Your words, tone, shape, and style of speech give others a fairly accurate assessment of your inner self. Of course, there are old foxes who can trick and fool people, but then time is still an effective way for people to grasp the basics of who you are good or bad.
When speaking, also know who you are talking to, who you are talking about, and whether it is worth talking about or not. Those who are worth talking to, but you don't talk about, lose people. Those who are not worth talking but I say, lose their words. Losing anything is a pity, but the most regrettable thing is losing yourself, when saying things that need not be said, should not be said, and are not allowed to be said, or said at the wrong time, at the right time, in the right place, with the right person, it is truly a pity
Listeners too must be very careful, not everything is heard, and must know what they are listening to. You listen only to what is worth hearing and discard what is not. Hear something, you always have to think again, can't follow the public opinion or the crowd, even the powerful. Can't let you listen to others easily. If anyone says anything, you will hear it, then you are no longer you because you have lost your active posture because you yourself have not considered and determined whether it is right or wrong. Therefore, you do not need to believe everything to accept it, but you must be careful to judge and select what you hear. You need to listen with your mind and heart, not with your ears. The ear is only the way in, but the truth must be screened by the mind and the heart to feel it honestly.
There are people who speak very well, but in relationships with people, even loved ones, listening is never associated with trust. If you combine these two into one, you are the most foolish, the most vulnerable, and the most likely to fail. Therefore, whatever you hear must be verified by reality, not only indirectly but also directly to notice. Not only with your ears, eyes, and mind but also with your own experience as well as that of others. That is the wisest attitude. Granted, people may tell you the truth, but sometimes the truth is distorted more or less, due to subjective emotions and prejudice when that person telling you.
Moreover, to understand what others say is not to understand their words or arguments, but to understand their mind. Fraudsters are often very clever in what they say, to seduce or draw you towards them, and there are always hidden traps that make you easy to fall into.
The purpose of every word is to reach mutual understanding, to find the truth, and to lead a harmonious life in a happy life. The important and useful thing is not the number of words, but the quality of what you say, and also knowing how to consider the dose to be just enough and appropriate in each situation and person. Also, don't think that by speaking harshly, other people can hear you. The stronger and more bitter the words, the more evidence of a weak argument, the more evidence of an immature and unconvincing soul. Therefore, the polite word, the gentle word, is, in all, the most powerful word.
In life, everyone has an opinion, no one is the same, it is difficult for you to avoid collisions and conflicts because of disagreements with each other. But even if there are conflicts, people who know how to cultivate will choose words to say to each other in a peaceful and friendly manner. When speaking, it must be at the right time and in the right place, so as not to hurt or upset others. Peaceful mouth without controversy, peaceful speech, and non-controversy are one of the six dharmas of a pure and peaceful life of the Buddha's disciples.
The words are gentle, friendly, and do not hurt or bother others ... called loving speech. This is also one of the four ways that Bodhisattvas use to subdue and teach sentient beings. But, it is not necessarily in the noble work of the Bodhisattva that love speech is needed, but even in the daily life of people together, loving speech is always needed. At the initial simple level, without any great treatment, you can be friendly and love each other, first of all, because of the way you talk to each other. On the contrary, you hate each other, resent and enmity with each other also from the words at the beginning.
There are love words that make listeners remember for a lifetime. Having the right words at the right time is for you to change the direction of your life toward honesty. But there are also bad words, you hear and still carry to death without forgetting. There are words that are not in time, not in place, burying a good future of the listener. There are words with high, far, and profound meanings that are handed down from generation to generation, from country to country, becoming immortal quotations. Thus, it shows that words at first glance seem to be nothing, but are of great importance. Therefore, the Venerable Virtues guide the students, in daily life, they should treat each other with good words. Because we realize that loving speech is one of the four methods of capturing people's hearts. However, in the end, loving speech is still not as meaningful as good language. The loving language that is called good language requires 5 elements:
1- Speak politely:
It is soft-spoken, gentle, and humble. The speech shows politeness, tact, politeness, respect from top to bottom, proper address, and not empty speech, accompanied by a gentle and courteous attitude...
2- Speak in a timely manner:
It is speaking at the right time, with the right person, in the right situation. You can't say whatever you want to say, say it when you meet anyone, and say it wherever you go. Speaking inappropriately, even if it is a love language, will be criticized for being ungrateful.
3. Tell the truth:
Is to speak truth to the objective truth, that is, how you see, you are said like that, and how you think you speak with your mind. Either way, you say it right, whatever you think you say it. Otherwise, the more you speak, the more you will reveal the so-called cunning. Speaking dishonestly, the listener may deceive you the first time, but then they will no longer believe you. People's trust in each other is extremely important.
4. Useful speech:
Even if you say gentle and friendly words that are useless to the listener, it is only a waste of time. Useless words no one wants to hear.
5. Speak with compassion:
It's for people to say, out of love for people, who want to bring benefits to people should speak. To speak without kindness is to speak for your own needs, to say it to brag, to show off. This is something you often stumble upon because your big ego makes you only see yourself and want everyone to hear you. So you often speak for your own need to speak rather than for others.
Because of fear of words harming you, harming others, the ancients were very careful with their words. In order to control speech from harming oneself and others, there is a story in Chinese Literature:
- The people of the country of Lu cast a bronze statue nearly 10' high, with three locks in the mouth. When the people of the Qi country came to see, they did not understand the meaning, so they found someone to ask, but no one wanted to clarify. Finally met an old man who told the people of the Qi state:
- That statue concretizes the aphorism: The hole in the mouth has three keys.
The people of Qi asked again:
- Why lock up to three keys?
The old man replied:
- If there is only one lock, where is the lock? Lock where the right edge is, then the middle of the mouth, and the left edge is open. Lock on the left edge, then between the mouth and the right edge is open. Lock in the middle of the mouth, then the two sides are open. Lock one, then open two places. Lock two and open one. A slightly open mouth or a lot of it is harmful. If you want to be really secret, you have to lock three locks.
It seems that keeping your mouth like that is really thorough. Looking at the old stories left behind, you see that people in the past as well as in this life like to talk, and like to talk a lot. But remember, speaking is the purpose of transmitting to others to understand your intentions. So it is not necessary to say much to lose breath, but only to find a way to say so that your words reach the listener's ears to achieve the goal.
In short, the purpose of speech is to convey information and share thoughts and feelings between you and the listener. If that goal is not achieved, the word is considered useless. And, the words spoken with sweetness, and gentleness... must also come from the true heart. If you need to choose your words, and correct your mind to have loving and kind words, I think, first of all, you have to take care of your mind, be honest, be at peace with people, and speak from inner peace and goodness is naturally filled with human love. Having loved each other, the words themselves will be gentle and lovely.
Therefore, choosing what to say means that you need to carefully consider when using words with people to avoid unfortunate mistakes, and avoid creating speech karma. You also need to always consider the consequences of your words. Cause and effect is an eternal law that leaves no one behind. To speak is to sow, to hear is to reap, but sow the wind and reap a whirlwind.
Words are the expression of the human heart. And more than that, words are what judge a personality and measure the height and width of a mind. Language is the adornment that Buddhism calls the dignity of man, the flowering of personality.
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