Speaking Compassionately and Mindfully to Others
April 12, 2007
Dear Still Water Friends,
This Thursday evening, after our sitting and walking meditation, we will recite together the five mindfulness trainings and focus our discussion on the fourth training, which begins:
"Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I am committed to cultivating loving speech..."
Our dharma discussion this Thursday will focus specifically on unmindful speech and cultivating loving speech.
Albert Einstein said a year before his death: “…the struggle for human rights is an eternal struggle in which final victory can never be won. But to tire in that struggle would mean the ruin of society. “
This may not at first seem apropos to the fourth mindfulness training, but the struggle for human rights and against anger, hatred and discrimination is partly rooted in language, terms and what we say to those we love, our friends and colleagues. We all know that when we call children stupid or stunt their dreams, it can engender lifelong handicaps and problems with self-esteem. History has shown us that prejudice for those who are poor or physically challenged or are of a different skin color has caused great pain and suffering because of the racial, ethnic or religious slurs spoken in anger or hatred. How we talk to colleagues on our jobs can determine how productive we are in our goals. Sometimes our harshest and most hurtful words are directed at those we love the most. Words can create wars and strife. What we utter makes a difference. Equally how we utter it counts as well. Our struggle to speak mindfully is eternal.
We will begin our discussion on Thursday with the question of how we struggle in our daily lives to speak mindfully in a world that often inundates us with the urge to engage in negative hurtful speech and how as a community we can influence others to speak mindfully as well. Please join us.
A related reading from Thay is below.
Peace and Love,
Thich Nhat Hanh from True Love, in the chapter titled “Everybody Should Practice Mindfulness”
…there is a great deal of hatred and anger and discrimination. How is it possible…for people to practice deep looking with the aim of achieving a deep knowledge…So it is necessary to practice mindfulness – it could be Buddhist or Christian – but it is necessary to bring mindfulness to our everyday life. If you are a journalist, a teacher, or a filmmaker you should practice mindfulness – for the sake of your own calm and your own happiness, but also for other people as well. Because we need your calm, your compassion, your understanding. So we should be mindful as individuals, but also as a community, as a family, as a nation.