March 29, 2010

Rebel8, The Eightfold Path: Part 3 of 8

Right Speech

Right Speech is the third aspect of the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path. It is also the first of three aspects that concern themselves with ethical conduct. Simply put, practicing Right Speech means that we only say things that we know to be factual and true, as well as beneficial and agreeable to others. We should never lie, nor exaggerate. We should not say one thing to one person and something different to another. And we should never use insulting or abusive words towards each other. I’m sure this all sounds simple enough, but in real life it can be quite difficult to maintain Right Speech.

For myself, the real test of Right Speech comes when I’m angry, frustrated and/or intoxicated. It’s in those moments that I need to come back to the present moment, understand what the trouble is, and deal with it internally right then and there. When I don’t deal with it, I explode and let it out on those around me, sometimes vocalizing in very unwise and hurtful ways. And that just creates more anger and frustration for myself and anyone around me, something we certainly don’t need more of in this crazy world.

One of my teachers, Thich Nhat Hanh, relays this story that touches on another aspect of Right Speech:

“Many people have to lie in order to succeed as politicians, or salespersons. A corporate director of communications told me that if he were allowed to tell the truth about his company’s products, people would not buy them. He says positive things about the products that he knows are not true, and he refrains from speaking about the negative effects of the products. He knows he is lying, and he feels terrible about it. So many people are caught in similar situations.”

Are you? I feel really lucky to work for REBEL8 because I can stand behind it 100% without reservations. I don’t have to lie about shit. It’s one of many ways I’m able to integrate the concepts of the Eightfold Path into my daily life.

I think it’s important to mention that I offer these teachings because they have proven their worth in my own experience. I wouldn’t waste your time with bullshit. But you can’t just read about this stuff and think you’ll get anywhere. This path only works if you DO it.

Fight the Power!

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