Right Speech

From the Flower Adornment Sutra, perhaps regarded as the King of Kings of Sutras on the fundamentals of right speech:

Abstention from Lying

By nature he does not lie. The Bodhisattva always utters:

  • True speech,
  • Actual speech, and
  • Timely speech,

to the point that even in a dream, he would never think of wanting to do so, how much the less deliberately commit violations. (FAS Ch26(2) 20)

Abstention from Divisive Speech

By nature he does not engage in divisive speech. The Bodhisattva, towards all living beings, has no thought of dividing them against each other. He has no thought of troubling or harming. He does not report the speech of one person to break his relationship with a second person, nor does he report the speech of the second person to break his relationship with the first person. If people have not already broken with each other, he does not break them up. If they have already broken with each other, he does not increase the break. He does not enjoy dividing people against each other, nor is he happy when people are divided against each other. He does not utter speech that would divide people against each other, nor does he report speech that would divide people against each other–regardless of whether it is true or false. (FAS Ch26(2) 20-21)

Abstention from Harsh Speech

By nature he does not engage in harsh speech, that is, cruel, malicious speech, coarse, wild speech, speech that brings suffering to others, speech that provokes anger and hatred in others, blunt speech, furtive speech, vile and evil speech, cheap and vulgar speech, speech unpleasant to hear, speech that does not delight the listener, angry hateful speech, speech that burns the heart like fire, speech bound up in resentment, heated, irritating speech, disagreeable speech, displeasing speech, speech that can destroy oneself and others–all such types of speech as those he completely abandons. He always utters:

  • Kind, encouraging speech,
  • Soft and gentle speech,
  • Speech that delights the mind,
  • Speech pleasant to the listener, speech that makes the listener happy,
  • Speech that wholesomely enters into people’s hearts,
  • Elegant and refined speech,
  • Speech agreeable to most people,
  • Speech that gladdens most people, and
  • Speech that brings joy to body and mind. (FAS Ch26(2) 25-26)

Abstention from Irresponsible Speech

By nature he does not engage in loose speech. The Bodhisattva always delights in:

  • Thoughtful, examined speech,
  • Appropriate speech,
  • True speech,
  • Meaningful speech,
  • Lawful speech,
  • Speech that accords with Way-principle,
  • Skilfully taming and regulating speech,
  • Speech which is reckoned and measured according to the time and which is decisive.

This Bodhisattva, even when making jokes, always weighs his words, so how much the less would he deliberately pour out scattered and abandoned talk. (FAS Ch26(2) 28)

Source:  http://online.sfsu.edu/rone/Buddhism/BuddhistDict/BDT.html

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