In Buddhism, speech is one of the heavy karmas that ordinary people suffer. It leads to extremely serious consequences, which can lead to division, suffering, death, and many other afflictions.
Maybe you do not notice or do not want to notice, words have a very fast and powerful impact on a person’s spirit, if we do not consider carefully before speaking, its influence can make people other and maybe we ourselves suffer, tormented throughout our lives.
Satire, sarcasm and many other forms of maliciousness through words are “monsters” that are always lurking, waiting to jump in and destroy our lives. Today, with the development of the internet and social networks, it has increased the power of this “monster”.
It gradually destroys the good character of people, especially young people. The fact that everyone allows themselves to have the right to curse, judge cruelly, follow, do not think and lack tolerance, has aggravated our karma of speech.
We already know about karma, which means intentional actions, actions we do with the intention of doing them. This teaching on karma is one of the most important that the Buddha. It lays the foundation for all subsequent practices that we undertake in life.
Practice is about harmonizing our virtuous actions in our daily lives. Ethical behavior is basically concerned with how we relate to others, how we relate to ourselves. In this article, let’s learn about 4 types of karma of speech that people often make to avoid causing more sins! It’s amazing how a small mouth can do so much!
What is Karma of Speech in Buddhism?
Karma of speech is also known as karma of words. Simply put, Karma of speech is karma caused by our words. In everyday life, there are many times when we miss words or use bad intentions to hurt others. All these inadvertently accumulate karma for themselves that not everyone is aware. According to Buddhism, the karma of speech is one of the four heaviest karmas and also the kind of karma that people often suffer.
Learning to communicate is a lifelong learning. Proper conduct is the most important and minimal rule that a civilized person can. We are not all born with communication skills. However, this can be corrected through practice.
Everyone needs to be held accountable for what they say. There are words that the speaker does not notice, but the listener remembers and leads to grief. While we unintentionally speak maliciously, we have created countless karma without even knowing it. And best of all, “the mind should be good” so that every word spoken, even if it cannot be retracted, is not malicious.
Four types of speech karma in Buddhism:
- Lying: lying, making up stories to cause misunderstandings
- Harsh speech: harmful, harsh words that hurt others
- Divisive speech: having no stance, saying words that divide the solidarity of the collective
- Idle talk: gossip, exaggerate the truth, talk nonsense
There is no knife sharper than human words. Therefore, before saying something we should think to avoid the consequences of speech karma.
Training speech sounds easy, but it is not easy, because it is influenced by many other factors such as anger, jealousy, selfishness, self-interest or “attachment”… However, when we have a clear understanding of speech karma, practice mindfulness… we will gradually control our words so that it utters beautiful words that bring happiness to ourselves and social.
Four Types of Speech Karma to Avoid in Buddhism
Lying karma is lies that are not true. In Buddhism as well as in life, trust and faith are very important. If you deceive the trust of others with lies, you are considered to have committed speech karma.
If because of your lies, other people are affected, encounter negative things, then your karma will be heavier at this time. However, in life we have also heard and witnessed a lot of harmless lies, lies with positive meanings. In these cases, depending on how it affects others, there will be different causes and effects.
2. Harsh speech
Harsh speech is when we completely intend to hurt others through our words. It covers the whole range of behavior from shouting, sarcasm, cursing, yelling… There are many ways to use harsh words. It also includes cursing people. Or insult others, demean others. Anything that makes others feel bad and sad.
Therefore, the Buddha taught each of us to respect others is also respecting ourselves. Saying rude words is demeaning yourself, causing damage to your own blessings, absolutely should not be done. People who speak maliciously often come from an unkind mind or an inability to control emotions. Therefore, to avoid harsh speech, Buddhists must be constantly mindful, control anger, and think carefully before speaking.
3. Divisive speech
Divisive speech means saying two words, words that divide unity, or sometimes called slander. This is the type of talk we use to get others to disagree. In everyday life, we may have told people things that caused them to quarrel, cause disunity, make them doubt each other.
This speech comes from anger, jealousy of a certain object. For example, we see two people who are quite compatible, we are jealous, we want to create a divide between them because we cannot bear their happiness.
We will commit more serious crimes if we deliberately divide the unity of a spiritual community, where people love each other and develop the path of Buddhist practice together.
In short, divisive speech is extremely sinister people, absolutely should not be contacted. This type of speech karma is not telling the truth, but a very serious bad karma. If anyone has this kind of attitude, they should quit immediately to avoid creating heavier karma.
4. Idle talk
This is a fabricated speech that loses the true essence of the story. Or idle talk doesn’t help the practice. Buddhism says that idle talk is one of the great obstacles in our spiritual practice. Why? Because it wastes too much time. “I’m going to sit down and chanting mantra tonight, but first I’ll browsing Facebook…” And two hours later, “Oh, I’m too tired to chant or meditate.”
This applies not only to Buddhist practice, but also to every other area of life. In this day and age, there are so many things that distract us and don’t really focus on what we’re doing. It leads to undesirable results.
In short, Idle talk is not a heavy speech karma. The point is that we have to know when we should and shouldn’t talk idle. The point here is for us to stay awake about what we’re doing. It’s not to separate yourself from others or make yourself elite. Whether it becomes idle chatter or not depends on whether our minds are clear or not.
Unforeseen Consequences from Karma of Speech
The ancients taught that illness is brought in from the mouth by eating – drinking, and defilements also come from the mouth by bad words. If we say a lot of negative words, it will drain our spirit, talk about right and wrong, win and lose, beautiful and ugly, praise and blame, which will lead to fights, arguments, troubles, even serious consequences.
So think carefully before you speak, when you criticize others, when you criticize others, or sometimes when you compliment others. Everyone knows that wounds on the body heal more easily than wounds on the heart caused by words. Karma of speech creates bad consequences, harming the speaker himself and those involved. Bad speech also affects the community and society.
We should not speak maliciously, use harsh words, curse and insult others… Don’t talk nonsense, don’t say more or less, listen to the story here and then tell it to others listen, but often when recounting add spices to increase the attractive exaggeration.
Thus, for those who often use cruel, rough words, scold, curse… in their daily life, first of all, that person himself has shown a lifestyle lacking in quality and morality, civility in words, in communication and leads to low self-esteem, people around them will gradually alienate them.
In today’s society, many people online on social networks often use malicious, vulgar and insulting words to others, which has also become a phenomenon. While they don’t refer to anyone by name, this is something we should all avoid.
Not only speech bad words, but even just clicking to approve and support bad words is dangerous, because many times doing so, no one controls, no one advises, so in the long run, it will become a habit.
Buddhism calls this karma, and if it is karma, it will affect one’s own life. Therefore, a negative word can lead to unpredictable consequences. That’s why Westerners have a saying: “Think twice before you speak once” if you don’t want to sow karma.
How to Practice to Reduce Karma of Speech
Words are extremely relevant to the life of every human being. If a good person always says good words and good ideas, their life is always happy and respected by everyone.
If a person only needs to speak and curse, say cruel words, lie, and divide others, sooner or later, they will have disaster and make people not want to contact.
To reduce the karma of speech, we can simply practice breathing deeply to calm our mind and relax before speaking. Then there will be less useless and unreasonable words. A wise person knows that if the word he is about to say can bring about bad consequences, he usually doesn’t say it or doesn’t say it.
Because if we speak out but we can’t control what we say, we create bad karma. But bad karma certainly has bad consequences, either immediate or long-term.
Everyone wants to hear good words. You too. Why do we say unkind words? I often think to myself: does the listener want to hear what I have to say? If the answer is no, I usually try not to say it.
If we speak out and cause hatred, we create bad karma ourselves. Bad karma drags us around in samsara with constant suffering. Therefore, people with practical wisdom only tell the truth, not make up stories. They also practice speaking soft, gentle words that are easy to hear.
They do not speak two-way tongue, sitting here talking white to another place talking black. They practice not lying, not fabricating stories, not telling the truth. They usually don’t say what they don’t know for sure is true.
In the Buddhist scriptures there is a moral lesson that: There are people who hear the Buddha very compassionate, very virtuous, so intentionally come to curse the Buddha. But when he cursed, the Buddha was silent and did not answer. When that person finished cursing, the Buddha asked: “If you bring an offering to someone else, if that person doesn’t accept it, to whom will the gift end up?”
He replied that the gift was still his. The Buddha then said, “Now you curse me, but I don’t accept it, you bring it on yourself. Just like the echo is caused by the sound that comes, like the shadow is formed by the shape, in the end it can’t be avoided. Be careful, don’t say malicious, rude words!”
According to the principle of cause and effect in Buddhism, an action, a word, an idea, a thought, or a thought of body, speech, or mind, whether it’s good or bad, all lead to its definite result.
There are behaviors, words, and thoughts that are repeated many times, the results will be clearer and stronger in the daily life of that individual. Therefore, the Buddhists have a saying “whatever you do, think about its consequences” or “What you sow, you will reap”.