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
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?
(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.
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