How do we use this amazing capacity to communicate in the service of awakening?
~ Oren Jay Sofer
In the first session of his Wise Speech course, Oren Jay Sofer spoke of his gathering the teachings on speech from the early Pali Canons — different passages on what the Buddha said about how to speak to one another. He has gradually been assembling these quotes, and in so doing, has looked carefully from many different angles at what the Buddha has said about Right Speech. What has become clear to him is: “The Buddha is inviting us to consider, how do we use this amazing capacity to communicate in the service of awakening?”
I was thunderstruck when Oren said this, and have already found it helpful in the activist work I’m currently engaged in. I prepare carefully before speaking to any of the parties involved in this conflict — and this statement has become my pole star in considering what to say and what not to say. From it, I can more easily recall the different Right Speech questions to ask myself:
- Is it timely?
- Is it true?
- Is it kind?
- Does it reunite those divided?
I share this in hopes that it’s inspiring to others, particularly to those of you who are Buddhist activists.