abstain from gossip/idle chatter?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).

abstain from gossip/idle chatter?

Postby Cessation » Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:37 pm

Can someone fill me in on the details on this precept for a lay-disciple? How do I know I'm going to far and breaking this precept?
:anjali:
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Re: abstain from gossip/idle chatter?

Postby BlackBird » Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:27 am

Well it's not actually a precept. But it is part of 'Right speech' of the Noble Eightfold Path.

To be frank it's pretty hard for lay people to abstain from idle chatter, speaking from my own experience, your peers and loved ones might think you're being despondent or even that you feel yourself superior to them. It's not a good way to act around others in a lay environment.

But as far as abstaining from gossip goes, that is quite possible and beneficial.

If you want to learn more about Right Speech, this page here has a lot of good words of the Buddha on this subject:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... amma-vaca/

Speak only the speech
that neither torments self
nor does harm to others.
That speech is truly well spoken.

Speak only endearing speech,
speech that is welcomed.
Speech when it brings no evil
to others
is pleasant.

- Snp 3.03

Beautiful words.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: abstain from gossip/idle chatter?

Postby daverupa » Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:34 am

There is such a thing as "courteous and amiable talk", one of the ways people would greet the Buddha, and which does not seem to invite censure. Drawing the line between this and idle speech seems to be a difficult task, but there is a place for sociability.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: abstain from gossip/idle chatter?

Postby bodom » Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:41 am

Cessation wrote:Can someone fill me in on the details on this precept for a lay-disciple? How do I know I'm going to far and breaking this precept?
:anjali:


I'm finding myself quoting this passage quite a bit lately around here but explains this facet of right speech for a laymen nicely:

(4) Abstaining from idle chatter (samphappalapa veramani).

He avoids idle chatter and abstains from it. He speaks at the right time, in accordance with facts, speaks what is useful, speaks of the Dhamma and the discipline; his speech is like a treasure, uttered at the right moment, accompanied by reason, moderate and full of sense. - AN 10:176

Idle chatter is pointless talk, speech that lacks purpose or depth. Such speech communicates nothing of value, but only stirs up the defilements in one's own mind and in others. The Buddha advises that idle talk should be curbed and speech restricted as much as possible to matters of genuine importance. In the case of a monk, the typical subject of the passage just quoted, his words should be selective and concerned primarily with the Dhamma. Lay persons will have more need for affectionate small talk with friends and family, polite conversation with acquaintances, and talk in connection with their line of work. But even then they should be mindful not to let the conversation stray into pastures where the restless mind, always eager for something sweet or spicy to feed on, might find the chance to indulge its defiling propensities.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... html#fn-27

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: abstain from gossip/idle chatter?

Postby Cessation » Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:40 pm

Thanks everyone for your replies.

I like your quotes Bodom, I think I will try to follow that. :anjali:
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