The Defilements & Right Speech

“When you speak, be sure your words improve upon the silence.”

—Old Arab proverb

“Remember the attitude: ‘I am speaking to practice awareness.’”

—Ashin Tejaniya, Jhana Grove Retreat, 2011

This Thursday Tuere will not be with us, but we will continue our investigation of the defilements, this time in the context of Right Speech—that is, mindful, wise speech. I’ve chosen this approach to the defilements because, for many of us, speaking is an area in which it’s most difficult to remain mindful.

I haven’t picked a specific defilement for us to discuss, because when I looked at the list of defilements we’ve been working with, I’ve found that all could apply.

So, to investigate the topic, let’s each look for what defilements may subtly lurk behind our speaking. Lest this seem intimidating, remember this isn’t a self-blame game, but rather an investigation of the nature of the mind.

To start the discussion, I’ll read some of Tejaniya’s words concerning defilements and speaking. Then, for those who wish, let’s briefly share what personal insights we’ve found re our speaking and defilements.

At the end of our discussion, I’ll be reading some of Tuere’s thoughts on the subject, which she’s kindly offered to provide in her absence.

In preparation, or when you have time, you may like to listen to Tejaniya’s 20-minute “Introduction toTalking Meditation,” in which he gives some Satipatthana Sutta teachings on being aware while speaking and listening.

~ Marianne Stewart


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