Campaigning for the basic election remains in full speed here in the UK and I can’t assist being struck by the cruelty of speech that has actually ended up being the standard for political leaders. I likewise feel deeply that it does not need to be by doing this.
In the Noble Eightfold Path the Buddha set out a total guide to a thoughtful method of living that will bring the most happiness and fulfilment to oneself and others and result in the realisation of our real nature. I think these actions can be practiced by anybody, whatever their walk of life and no matter the manner in which their associates pick to perform themselves.
One of the actions on the Path is right speech. In his book Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness, in the summary at the end of the chapter on Skilful Speech, Bhante Henepola Gunaratana notes some bottom lines including this one:
The test of Skilful Speech is to stop and ask yourself prior to you speak: “Is it true? Is it kind? Is it beneficial? Does it harm anyone? Is this the right time to say something?”
I understand that this is a quite high order when in the middle of a dynamic discussion or dispute, however the more one practices expert speech in daily life the more it ends up being natural to speak in this method and, really, to feel it acutely when one makes a small error and speaks in a damaging method.
Trying to put the Buddha’s mentors into practice we will typically discover ourselves breaking the circulation of what is thought about typical behaviour, and it takes terrific guts and effort to do so. I am heartened by the couple of, remarkable, political leaders that I have actually seen or become aware of who can reveal themselves and their policies plainly and efficiently without demeaning others. Such an individual shows to me a self-control that is genuinely motivating.