Offering some observations on Right Speech and ‘the Two Truths’,
for my dharma sisters and brothers everywhere.
I see that many of you get really excited,
eager to spread your brand of truth.
On the internet, we are not much more than words (and pictures).
Right speech is very important in this context.
“And how is one made pure in four ways by verbal action?
“There is the case where a certain person, abandoning false speech, abstains from false speech. When he has been called to a town meeting, a group meeting, a gathering of his relatives, his guild, or of the royalty, if he is asked as a witness, ‘Come & tell, good man, what you know’: If he doesn’t know, he says, ‘I don’t know.’ If he does know, he says, ‘I know.’ If he hasn’t seen, he says, ‘I haven’t seen.’ If he has seen, he says, ‘I have seen.’ Thus he doesn’t consciously tell a lie for his own sake, for the sake of another, or for the sake of any reward. Abandoning false speech, he abstains from false speech. He speaks the truth, holds to the truth, is firm, reliable, no deceiver of the world.
“Abandoning divisive speech he abstains from divisive speech. What he has heard here he does not tell there to break those people apart from these people here. What he has heard there he does not tell here to break these people apart from those people there. Thus reconciling those who have broken apart or cementing those who are united, he loves concord, delights in concord, enjoys concord, speaks things that create concord.
“Abandoning abusive speech, he abstains from abusive speech. He speaks words that are soothing to the ear, that are affectionate, that go to the heart, that are polite, appealing & pleasing to people at large.
“Abandoning idle chatter, he abstains from idle chatter. He speaks in season, speaks what is factual, what is in accordance with the goal, the Dhamma, & the Vinaya. He speaks words worth treasuring, seasonable, reasonable, circumscribed, connected with the goal.
“This is how one is made pure in four ways by verbal action.”
You disagree with someone?
State your reasoning and move on without getting angry.
“If, bhikkhus, others speak in dispraise of me, or in dispraise of the Dhamma, or in dispraise of the Sangha, you should not give way to resentment, displeasure, or animosity against them in your heart. For if you were to become angry or upset in such a situation, you would only be creating an obstacle for yourselves. If you were to become angry or upset when others speak in dispraise of us, would you be able to recognize whether their statements are rightly or wrongly spoken?”
“Certainly not, Lord.”
“If, bhikkhus, others speak in dispraise of me, or in dispraise of the Dhamma, or in dispraise of the Sangha, you should unravel what is false and point it out as false, saying: ‘For such and such a reason this is false, this is untrue, there is no such thing in us, this is not found among us.’
It is not complicated.
Yet, it is not always easy!!
Strive on with diligence.
Sila is important for Samadhi and Prajna.
If your conduct is bad,
you probably will have your own bad conduct on your mind,
it will be distracting you.
(abrasive, unpleasant, unskillful, angry)
will be on other people’s minds.
Then, they may seek to distract you!
In either case, you will be distracted.
You will lose concentration.
You will not attain Prajna.
You will not perfect wisdom. (prajnaparamita).
On the internet,
many people are there to distract you,
your conduct is constantly being tested.
There are skillful ways to disagree and there are unskillful ways to bicker ceaselessly.
I notice many people ‘mixing categories’.
Expecting the practical level of ‘truth’ to act as the ultimate level of ‘truth’,
or expecting the ultimate to be open to the language of the practical.
Let me show you what wikipedia tells people about this:
The Buddhist doctrine of the two truths (Wylie: bden pa gnyis) differentiates between two levels of satya (Sanskrit), meaning truth or “really existing” in the discourse of the Buddha: the “conventional” or “provisional” (saṁvṛti) truth, and the “ultimate” (paramārtha) truth.
The ultimate reality cannot be adequately described by language originating from the discriminating mind which has evolved to deal with **practical** reality.
All ideas/notions/views are born of dualism.
- This is not that.
- White is not black.
- Up is not down.
- Left is not right.
- Good is not bad.
- Here is not there.
- Now is not then.
- We are not them.
- I am not you.
- ETC… forever.
We sentient beings seem to have a craving for wholeness. We are tiny fragments of a vast body. We are threads, individual story-lines, that together make up one giant, whole, story. We are little bytes/bits of information in a gigantic ocean of information flow. There is stress born from being so small and temporary– in this stress is born the desire for wholeness.
Unfortunately, this discriminating mind, which we are so used to, is not designed to deal with whole things. Whole things cannot be captured by notions. They cannot be expressed by words.
Fortunately, wholeness is our true nature. We don’t need to limit it. We don’t need to conceptualize anything. But, at the same time, on our path toward Nibanna, away from Dukkha, we are **discerning**. We do make some skillful assertions 😉
We know, ‘this is in reference to practical reality and is therefore logical and we are capable of intellectually exploring the thing’.
Or, we know, ‘ this is in reference to ultimate reality and therefore, it cannot be limited by logic. It cannot be trapped by words. It must be experienced. We must taste the fruits ourselves.’