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Mindful speech arises from hearing
what you say [in your mind],
before you say it.

– Stonepeace

The virtue of Right Speech is an aspect of the Noble Eightfold Path, that leads to Nirvana. In the Abhaya Sutta, the Buddha lays the criteria to a Prince, upon which he himself decides what to say and when to say it, as based upon 6 possible situations. (1) If there is something that the Buddha knows to be untrue, unbeneficial (e.g. not connected to the goal of ending suffering; the attainment of True Happiness) and unpleasing, he would of course, not say it. E.g. One should never say fire is cold, since it is false, possibly harmful and displeasing to those who know otherwise. (2) If there is something that the Buddha knows to be true, unbeneficial and displeasing, he does not say it. E.g. One should not harp on someone’s mistake if that person has already repented, as it could hurt and enrage that person.

(3) If there is something that the Buddha knows to be true, beneficial but is displeasing, he would wait for an appropriate time to say it. E.g. An angry man might need to know a difficult truth because it would benefit him, but since he might lose his temper upon hearing it due to his current mood, it is better to first let him calm down, till he is more receptive. (4) If there is something that the Buddha knows to be untrue, unbeneficial but pleasing, he would not say it. E.g. Flattering someone with lies that delude that person for one’s selfish benefits is clearly unwholesome. (5) If there is something that the Buddha knows to be true, unbeneficial but pleasing, he would not say it. E.g. A random fact about the stars is not worth sharing if it is unpractical in furthering the spiritual path, even if the listener is an avid stargazer.

(6 ) If there is something that the Buddha knows to be true, beneficial and pleasing, he would wait for an appropriate time to say it – for its maximum effect, out of compassion for the listener. This dialogue in the sutta itself exemplified practice of Right Speech, which, according to the Cunda Kammaraputta Sutta, is to avoid false (lying), divisive (equivocal), abusive (harsh) and useless (idle) speech (gossip), while practising true, harmonious, kind and useful speech. In a related teaching in the Suta Sutta, when a minister voiced his view that one who speaks of what one experienced is always blameless, the Buddha replied that that which decreases unskilful mental qualities (e.g. attachment, aversion and delusion) while increasing skilful qualities (e.g. generosity, loving-kindness and wisdom) should be shared. – Shen Shi’an

That not worth saying again is seldom worth saying even once. – Stonepeace

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