Stef (firecat) wrote,

  • Mood:

What to say and do.

I am reading about the notion of "correct speech" from a web site on Buddhism. The Pali Canon teachings of the Buddha disapprove of:
talking about kings, robbers, ministers of state; armies, alarms, and battles; food and drink; clothing, furniture, garlands, and scents; relatives; vehicles; villages, towns, cities, the countryside; women and heroes; the gossip of the street and the well; tales of the dead; tales of diversity [philosophical discussions of the past and future], the creation of the world and of the sea, and talk of whether things exist or not

debates such as these -- 'You understand this doctrine and discipline? I'm the one who understands this doctrine and discipline. How could you understand this doctrine and discipline? You're practicing wrongly. I'm practicing rightly. I'm being consistent. You're not. What should be said first you said last. What should be said last you said first. What you took so long to think out has been refuted. Your doctrine has been overthrown. You're defeated. Go and try to salvage your doctrine; extricate yourself if you can!'

running messages and errands for people such as these -- kings, ministers of state, noble warriors, priests, householders, or youths [who say], 'Go here, go there, take this there, fetch that here'

scheming, persuading, hinting, belittling, and pursuing gain with gain

such lowly arts as: [various forms of quackery]

or they earn their living by counting, accounting, calculation, composing poetry, or teaching hedonistic arts and doctrines

From elsewhere on the site (I think this is written by the site's maintainer, John Bullitt, but I am not sure):
In the suttas, the Buddha speaks again and again of the many rewards awaiting those who follow the Path, long before they reach nibbana: the happiness that comes from developing generosity; the happiness that comes from living according to principles of virtue; the happiness that comes from developing loving-kindess (metta); the happiness that comes from practicing meditation and discovering the exquisite bliss of a quiet mind; the happiness that comes from abandoning painful states of mind; and so on.


purchasing a piece of dead animal meat....may indeed help keep the butcher in business, [but] I am not asking him to kill on my behalf. Whether he kills another cow tomorrow is his choice, not mine. This is a difficult but important point, one that reveals the fundamental distinction between personal choices (choices aimed at altering my own behavior) and political ones (those aimed at altering others' behavior). Each one of us must discover for ourselves where lies the boundary between the two. It is crucial to remember, however, that the Buddha's teachings are, first and foremost, tools to help us learn to make good personal choices (kamma); they are not prescriptions for political action.

I think I like that. It seems hard, in the subcultures I run in, to get clarity on the difference between personal and political action. I know that "the personal is political," but I know that I feel overwhelmed by that at times.
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