Speaking Compassionately and Mindfully to Others

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Dear Still Water Friends,

This Thursday evening, after our sitting and walking meditation, wewill recite together the five mindfulness trainings and focus ourdiscussion on the fourth training, which begins:

“Awareof the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listento others, I am committed to cultivating loving speech…”

Our dharma discussion this Thursday will focus specifically on unmindful speech and cultivating loving speech.

AlbertEinstein said a year before his death: “…the struggle for human rightsis an eternal struggle in which final victory can never be won. But totire in that struggle would mean the ruin of society. “

Thismay not at first seem apropos to the fourth mindfulness training, butthe struggle for human rights and against anger, hatred anddiscrimination is partly rooted in language, terms and what we say tothose we love, our friends and colleagues. We all know that when wecall children stupid or stunt their dreams, it can engender lifelonghandicaps and problems with self-esteem. History has shown us thatprejudice for those who are poor or physically challenged or are of adifferent skin color has caused great pain and suffering because of theracial, ethnic or religious slurs spoken in anger or hatred. How wetalk to colleagues on our jobs can determine how productive we are inour goals. Sometimes our harshest and most hurtful words are directedat those we love the most. Words can create wars and strife. What weutter makes a difference. Equally how we utter it counts as well. Ourstruggle to speak mindfully is eternal.

We will beginour discussion on Thursday with the question of how we struggle in ourdaily lives to speak mindfully in a world that often inundates us withthe urge to engage in negative hurtful speech and how as a community wecan influence others to speak mindfully as well. Please join us.

A related reading from Thay is below.

Peace and Love,

Paul Flippin


Thich Nhat Hanh from True Love, in the chapter titled “Everybody Should Practice Mindfulness”

…thereis a great deal of hatred and anger and discrimination. How is itpossible…for people to practice deep looking with the aim of achievinga deep knowledge…So it is necessary to practice mindfulness – it couldbe Buddhist or Christian – but it is necessary to bring mindfulness toour everyday life. If you are a journalist, a teacher, or a filmmakeryou should practice mindfulness – for the sake of your own calm andyour own happiness, but also for other people as well. Because we needyour calm, your compassion, your understanding. So we should be mindfulas individuals, but also as a community, as a family, as a nation.