We have covered the first two steps in the Eightfold Path of Buddhism; Wise Understanding and Wise Intension that make up the wisdom guidelines for practitioners. The third step in The Eightfold Path is Wise Speech. Buddhists place great emphasis on practicing Wise Speech as part of their ethical guidelines. It is said to promote wholesome communication and skilful use of language.
Here are some principles and practices that Buddhists follow to cultivate Wise Speech:
- Abstaining from false speech: The aim is to refrain from lying, deceiving, or intentionally spreading falsehoods. It is to strive to be truthful and honest in all speech.
- Abstaining from divisive speech: This is to avoid engaging in speech that creates division, discord, or conflict among individuals or groups. This is to promote harmonious communication and seek to bring people together.
- Abstaining from harsh speech: This is to make the effort to avoid using words that are harsh, abusive, or hurtful. Instead, cultivate speech that is gentle, kind, and compassionate.
- Abstaining from idle chatter: The aim is to reduce meaningless or frivolous speech that serves no beneficial purpose. To aspire to use words mindfully and purposefully, focusing on meaningful and constructive communication.
- Cultivating truthful and meaningful speech: To value speech that is rooted in truth, wisdom, and compassion. To seek to use words to promote understanding, goodwill, and support for others by engaging in discussions that contribute to personal and spiritual growth.
- Practicing active listening: This is to emphasise the importance of listening attentively and empathetically to others. Be here now. By being fully present in conversations, it helps cultivate deeper understanding and the ability to respond more skilfully.
- Mindful speech: To be aware of the intentions, emotions, and the impact words when share with others. Is what you talk about coming from a place of fear or love? There is an acronym THINK. Is it thoughtful? Is it helpful? Is it inspiring? Is it necessary? And is it kind? The aim to speak with mindfulness and consider the consequences of the words before speaking.
By following these principles of Wise Speech, one seeks to develop a compassionate and skilful relationship with communication. Recognising that words have the power to either uplift or harm, be helpful or hurtful, to be supportive or tormenting. Wise Speech encourages the Yogi to strive to use speech as a tool for promoting harmony, understanding, and positive transformation.
There is a practice for “Noble silence.” Noble silence serves several purposes:
- Deepening concentration
- Cultivating mindfulness
- Reducing distractions
- Cultivating restraint
- Creating space for reflection
It is a temporary practice aimed at creating an environment to practice Wise Speech as you have to hold back reacting to a reply and sit with witnessing what comes up and how to apply the principles of Wise Speech to respond ethically.
So in our practice today we are going to apply Noble Silence. Notice in this practice your own internal dialogue, how you speak to yourself and react to my teachings. Notice the commentary, story telling and options. Notice the conversation your mind creates as you practice. Training the ‘Mind Puppy’ to sit and stay practicing Yoga and having a relationship to the body.
This practice will include Pranayama Kriyas like OM, AUM, Bhramari Pranayama, Ujjayi Pranayama to address the Granthis in creating a practice that leaves you feeling fulfilment, contentment and free.