What are the drawbacks to talking, the benefits of silence?

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What are the drawbacks to talking, the benefits of silence?

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:13 am

I was taught from an early age that talking is the best ways to dispel conflict, and I have become very attached to this view to the point where I am uncomfortable with observing silence when I should. I think it would be very beneficial to discuss the practice of silence, but I'm worried since I was also socialized into thinking if one doesn't talk over issues, anger boils over from quiet resentment into open conflict. I have seen it in myself, but also in others. Is there a a good way to dispel this view, and what in both your experience, and also in what you know from the Buddha Dharma helped you come to the realization about the benefits of silence?

I was also thinking for a few days I would just completely observe seclusion and silence in order to see if this feeling would be overcome, but without fully recognizing the drawbacks and benefits I worry it will only increase my feelings of discontent, and build the defilements, so I refrained from such a practice until I am ready. Can you all help me prepare a little?
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Re: What are the drawbacks to talking, the benefits of silence?

Postby plwk » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:36 am

Bhikkhus, if you develop and make much this one thing,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.
What is it? It is recollecting the Enlightened One.
If this single thing is recollected and made much,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.

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Re: What are the drawbacks to talking, the benefits of silence?

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:44 am

I love the Abhaya Sutta and the Ananda Sutta, but I'll admit I have not read the Kolita Sutta and it's really important. Thanks for helping me out brother! :anjali:

I think the Abhaya Sutta is more about how to determine when something is right to say, and the rest of the time it is better to keep quiet. The Ananda Sutta relates to how people are not often ready to entertain Anatta teachings, so the Buddha stays silent when Vacchagotta asks about whether self was eternal or finite. Both views affirm the idea of self, thus both are inherently the wrong question.
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Re: What are the drawbacks to talking, the benefits of silence?

Postby Reductor » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:51 am

Interesting.

If you think a great deal of thoughts to which you never give voice, then it will boil over in time.

If your mind is calm and quiet, however, what's going to boil over?

"In-&-out breaths are bodily; these are things tied up with the body. That's why in-&-out breaths are bodily fabrications. Having first directed one's thoughts and made an evaluation, one then breaks out into speech. That's why directed thought & evaluation are verbal fabrications. Perceptions & feelings are mental; these are things tied up with the mind. That's why perceptions & feelings are mental fabrications."
MN 44

Now...

Furthermore, with the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, he enters and remains in the second jhana: rapture and pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought and evaluation — internal assurance. He permeates and pervades, suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture and pleasure born of composure. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born of composure.


This is the second jhana, the "noble silence".

Train your mind to be still, then there is little left that might boil over.

34. DIDN'T THINK OF THAT

In one of Luang Pu's branch meditation monasteries there lived a group of five or six monks who wanted to be especially strict in their practice, so they made a vow not to talk throughout the Rains Retreat. In other words, no word would come out of their mouths except for the daily chanting and the bi-weekly Patimokkha chant. After the end of the Rains they came to pay their respects to Luang Pu and told him of their strict practice: In addition to their other duties, they were also able to stop speaking for the entire Rains.

Luang Pu smiled a bit and said,

"That's pretty good. When there's no speaking, then no faults are committed by way of speech. But when you say that you stopped speaking, that simply can't be. Only the noble ones who enter the refined attainment of cessation, where feeling and perception stop, are able to stop speaking. Aside from them, everyone's speaking all day and all night long. And especially those who vow not to speak: They talk more than anyone else, simply that they don't make a sound that others can hear."
Gifts he left behind

He defines speech a little differently. But good to keep in mind; esp that last bit in reference to your OP.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: What are the drawbacks to talking, the benefits of silence?

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:57 am

I think what is important in conflict is to be mindful of your own intentions. If your intentions are wholesome then whether you talk or not is not important. In some instances you would be better off giving an appropriate response rather than keeping silent (by that I mean a response not based on anger or aversion, but wisdom).
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Re: What are the drawbacks to talking, the benefits of silence?

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:01 am

@ thereductor That's a very good point. When we think in the mind we use words to formulate these thoughts and then in turn give rise to verbal fabrications especially when these thoughts are false. I hadn't thought of it that way. Thanks for that! :thumbsup:

I've got to be even more guarded with speech then too especially if it is in my mind. This helps cut of the nutriment that gives rise to spoken conflict. You don't speak without first thinking about it. So in turn, I need more meditation to let this boil over and cease to exist. The silence observation might help a lot then

@rowyourboat

That's also true, and the problem lies with not knowing when to learn how to stop for me.
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Re: What are the drawbacks to talking, the benefits of silence?

Postby Reductor » Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:34 am

Wizard in the Forest wrote:@ thereductor That's a very good point. When we think in the mind we use words to formulate these thoughts and then in turn give rise to verbal fabrications especially when these thoughts are false. I hadn't thought of it that way. Thanks for that! :thumbsup:

I've got to be even more guarded with speech then too especially if it is in my mind. This helps cut of the nutriment that gives rise to spoken conflict. You don't speak without first thinking about it. So in turn, I need more meditation to let this boil over and cease to exist. The silence observation might help a lot then


And one last thing on this.

Having first directed one's thoughts and made an evaluation, one then breaks out into speech.

If you notice another's fault, that is not so bad. If you spend some time thinking it over, evaluating it for a time, then you'll be full of thing to say about it: how much of it good?

227-228

This has come down from old, Atula,
& not just from today:
they find fault with one
who sits silent,
they find fault with one
who speaks a great deal,
they find fault with one
who measures his words.
There's no one unfaulted in the world.
There never was,
will be,
nor at present is found
anyone entirely faulted
or entirely praised.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Directed thought is a kind of attention. A verbose and clumsy kind. And like attention, it must be appropriate attention, appropriate thought. If you find you have a lot to say which brings conflict, then I'd hazard that your attention has not been appropriately placed.
:namaste:
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: What are the drawbacks to talking, the benefits of silence?

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:24 am

Probably not. It reminds me of that story I remember hearing once when a guy who was about to say something was asked by the wise man who asked, Are you 100% sure what you're about to say is absolute truth? To what the man says, "no" Is what you're about to say friendly and will the person who is listening want to hear what you're about to say? To which the man replied "No". Does what you're about to say have a beneficial contribution to the conversation? to which the man replied "no", and then the wise man said, "Why say it then?"
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Re: What are the drawbacks to talking, the benefits of silence?

Postby Kim OHara » Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:36 am

Wizard in the Forest wrote:Probably not. It reminds me of that story I remember hearing once when a guy who was about to say something was asked by the wise man who asked, Are you 100% sure what you're about to say is absolute truth? To what the man says, "no" Is what you're about to say friendly and will the person who is listening want to hear what you're about to say? To which the man replied "No". Does what you're about to say have a beneficial contribution to the conversation? to which the man replied "no", and then the wise man said, "Why say it then?"

Hi, WitF,
I have come across that threefold test before but couldn't remember (or never knew) its origin, so I googled it and found this: http://jim-mcbeath.blogspot.com/2008/09/true-kind-necessary.html
It's not quite what I wanted but it's relevant and well said.
:namaste:
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Re: What are the drawbacks to talking, the benefits of silence?

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:42 am

It is very good, I like it. I don't think that was the one, but it's very good too.
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Re: What are the drawbacks to talking, the benefits of silence?

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:32 am

Wizard in the Forest wrote: I was also thinking for a few days I would just completely observe seclusion and silence in order to see if this feeling would be overcome, but without fully recognizing the drawbacks and benefits I worry it will only increase my feelings of discontent, and build the defilements, so I refrained from such a practice until I am ready. Can you all help me prepare a little?


I think you would find a short solitary retreat helpful. Also attending a retreat with others that is held in silence can be very illuminating, it becomes appararent quite quickly that much of what we usually say is unecessary. ;)

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Re: What are the drawbacks to talking, the benefits of silence?

Postby Goofaholix » Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:36 pm

Spiny O'Norman wrote:I think you would find a short solitary retreat helpful. Also attending a retreat with others that is held in silence can be very illuminating, it becomes appararent quite quickly that much of what we usually say is unecessary. ;)


Yes, doing a few meditation retreats I think will produce some interesting insight into this for you I think.
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