Right Speech

The Benefits Of Perfecting Truthfulness

by Peter Carlson on July 20, 2017

This talk focuses on the Parami of Truthfulness (Sacca in Pali).  Truth is a core concept of Buddhism, most importantly at the core of the Four Noble Truths.  The traditional application of this Parami relates to verbal action, that is, Right Speech.  In this talk, Peter refers to the recently talk entitled “Buddhism And Existentialism”, posted on July 12.  Existential terms such as freedom, anguish, bad faith and authenticity can be understood from a Buddhist perspective as sunnata (emptiness), dukkha (distress and confusion), tanha and upadana (craving and clinging) and sanna (wisdom, that is, clear awareness and benevolent intention).  Peter emphasized that truthfulness is perfected as internal subjective experience is guided by mindfulness, investigation and benevolent intention.  This explanation was followed by discussion among the participants regarding how to bring truthfulness to fruition.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  The Benefits Of Perfecting Truthfulness

Next week’s talk will involve a report by a sangha member on a 10 day retreat in the Goenka body sweep practices.

Lojong And Wholesome Speech

by Peter Carlson on October 15, 2015

This week’s discussion broached two aphorisms: Don’t speak about others’ defects, and Don’t become preoccupied with the opinions, behaviors and motivations of others.  These aphoristic commitments focus on activating Wholesome Speech, Action and Livelihood from the Eightfold Path.  Peter emphasized the practical steps for cultivating the mental clarity and constraint necessary to check one’s speech, avoiding anything that may create a sense of separation and diminishment of others, most exemplified by gossip.  He also commented on the common human mistake of “mind reading”, that is, the inclination to jump to conclusions about what someone’s intentions are.  This was followed by discussions among those present of  examples of gossiping and mind reading, along with what benefits regular daily meditation and memorizing the aphorisms can bring to interrupting hurtful and thoughtless behaviors.

Here are the notes developed for the talk:   AVOID FOCUSING ON THE DEFECTS OF OTHERS

Next week’s talk will focus on the benefits of intentionally investigating the emotionally charged self-states with mindfulness and equanimity.

Right Speech in the 21st Century

by Peter Carlson on July 18, 2013

This dhamma dialogue continues on the theme introduced last week on the  contemporary meaning of the teachings of the Buddha found in the discourse on the Four Noble Truths.  In particular, the topic reviews the classical characteristics of Samma Vaca, Right Speech, then explores the modern view that the sense of self is largely realized through internal narrative, before emerging into the spoken word.  Peter emphasized that the impulse that generates the internal narrative is a feeling, which is the urgent impulse to either become enmeshed in a pleasant feeling, or to avoid an unpleasant feeling.  Therefore the focus of mindful investigation is most skilfully applied at the level of feeling in the body, to prevent being “enchanted” by the emerging narrative, through craving and clinging.  This focus is in agreement with the Buddha’s teachings on how to modify karma through wise attention to feeling, found in the doctrine of dependent origination.  In next week’s dhamma dialogue, the focus will be on contemporary approaches to Samma Kammanta, Right Action.

Right Speech In The 21st Century

by Peter Carlson on February 17, 2012

This discussion reviewed classic Buddhist Suttas to describe the qualities of Right Speech and some insights from modern psychology that support the development of virtue.  This talk should be integrated with the previously recorded discussions on the value of virtue and effective listening.

Right Listening

by Peter Carlson on February 9, 2012

In reviewing the Virtue aggregate of the Eightfold Path, this week’s focus is on effective listening.  We live in a culture that doesn’t support a long attention span, which leads to poor interpersonal communication.  Using Right Speech as a guideline, ways of cultivating mindfulness for effective listening were reviewed.  Next week’s topic will be Right Speech.

The Power Of Narrative

This dialogue further explores how modern cultural influences affect our sense of the Buddhist Dhamma in the 21st century.  The fact that humans experience selfhood through the ability to string together various moments of awareness into a narrative creates the need for virtue to integrate the process.  When our personal narrative is distorted, lacking awareness […]

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The Value Of Virtue

This dhamma dialogue continues an ongoing exploration of the importance of using mindfulness practice to examine the classic Buddhist teachings so they can be adapted to a world experience that is much more complex than the time of the Buddha.  Virtue is examined as the manifestation of wisdom (clear awareness plus benevolent intention) in our […]

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