He avoids idle chatter and abstains from it. He speaks at the right time, in accordance with facts, speaks what is useful, speaks of the Dhamma and the discipline; his speech is like a treasure, uttered at the right moment, accompanied by reason, moderate and full of sense. (Anguttara Nikaya)
Idle chatter is pointless talk, speech that lacks purpose or depth. Such speech communicates nothing of value, but only stirs up the defilements in one's own mind and others. The Buddha advises that idle talk should be curbed and speech restricted as much as possible to matters of genuine importance. In the case of a monk, the typical subject of the passage just quoted, his words should be selective and concerned primarily with the Dhamma. Lay people will have more need for affectionate small talk with friends and family, polite conversation with acquaintances, and talk in connection with their line of work. But even then they should be mindful not to let their conversation stray into pastures where the restless mind, always eager for something sweet and spicy to feed on, might find the chance to indulge its defiling propensities.
The traditional exegesis of abstaining from idle chatter refers only to avoiding engagement in such talk oneself. But today it might be of value to give this factor a different slant, made imperative by certain developments peculiar to our own time, unknown in the days of the Buddha and the ancient commentators. This is avoiding exposure to the idle chatter constantly bombarding us through the new media of communication created by modern technology. An incredible array of devices—television, radio, newspapers, pulp journals, the cinema—turns out a continuous stream of needless information and distracting entertainment the net effect of which is to leave the mind, passive, vacant, and sterile. All these developments, naively accepted as "progress," threaten to blunt our aesthetic and spiritual sensitivities and deafen us to the higher call of the contemplative life. Serious aspirants on the path to liberation have to be extremely discerning in what they allow themselves to be exposed to. They would greatly serve their aspirations by including these sources of amusement and needless information in the category of idle chatter and making an effort to avoid them.
When in harmony with the nature of things, your own fundamental nature, you will walk freely and undisturbed. However, when mind is in bondage, the truth is hidden, and everything is murky and unclear, and the burdensome practice of judging brings annoyance and weariness. What benefit can be derived from attachment to distinctions and separations?
14 ounces of potatoes, peeled and sliced into thin matchsticks
2/3 cup of all-purpose flour
1/3 cup of water
1 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of finely chopped parsley
1/4 cup of cooked soybeans
2 teaspoons of black sesame seeds, roasted*
4 tablespoons of sesame oil
Boil the potatoes in salted water for 2 minutes
In a bowl, combine the flour and the water, then add the potatoes, the salt, the parsley, the soybeans, and the sesame seeds. Mix this all well.
Heat a frying pan, then add the sesame oil.
When the oil is hot, pour small amounts of the potato mixture into the frying pan to form cakes about 3 inches in diameter.
Cook the cakes over medium heat for about 10 minutes, turning until both sides are golden brown and crispy.
Repeat this process until all the potato mixture has been used.
This recipe will serve 4 as a side dish or 2 as a main course.
14 ounces of potatoes, peeled and cut in 1/2-inch dice
2 tablespoons of red miso
1 1/2 tablespoon of sugar
2 tablespoons of sake'
2 tablespoons of sesame oil
2 dried red chilies, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons of soy sauce
Rinse the prepared potatoes and then boil them in salted water until they are tender crisp.
In a bowl, combine the red miso, the sugar, and the sake' and mix well.
Heat the sesame oil in a frying pan. Add the chili slices and cook for 1 or 2 minutes.
Add the potatoes to the chilies and fry until they are transparent, then add the soy sauce.
Add the miso mixture to the frying pan and cook over low heat for 1 or 2 minutes, stirring, until the potatoes are completely coated with the sauce.
Bhikkhus, even if bandits were to sever you savagely limb by limb with a two-handled saw, he who gave rise to a mind of hate towards them would not be carrying out my teaching. Herein, bhikkhus, you should train thus: "Our minds will remain unaffected, and we shall utter no evil words; we shall abide compassionate for their welfare, with a mind of loving-kindness, without inner hate. We shall abide pervading them with a mind imbued with loving-kindness; and starting with them, we shall abide pervading the all-encompassing world with a mind imbued with loving-kindness, abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility and without ill will." That is how you should train, bhikkhus.
An abundance of opinions will generate heat
but accomplish nothing.
You no longer have to comment
on each and every little thing.
You can observe events with a detached serenity.
When you speak,
your words are gentle, helpful, and few.
Your silence is as beautiful as the Harvest moon.
commenting on chapter 21 of The Sage's Tao Te Ching
The English word "morality" and its derivatives suggest a sense of obligation and constraint quite foreign to the Buddhist conception of sila; this connotation probably enters from the theistic background to Western ethics. Buddhism, with its non-theistic framework, grounds its ethics, not on the notion of obedience, but on that of harmony. In fact, the commentaries explain the word sila by another word, samadhana, meaning "harmony" or "coordination."
A young monk once asked the Buddha to explain his training in brief.
The Buddha answered, "First establish yourself in the starting point of wholesome states, that is, in purified moral discipline and in right view. Then, when your moral discipline is purified and your view straight, you should practice the four foundations of mindfulness."
the most cherished part of Buddhist scripture.
temple gives the translation by Eknath Easwaran
– by Karen Armstrong
excellent biography of the Buddha.
Heart of the Buddha's Teaching – by Thich Nhat Hanh
Plain and Simple – by Steve Hagen
in everyday, accessible language without religious ritual.
the Buddha Taught – by Walpola Rahula
scholastic, but arguably the best introduction to the Teaching and
Buddhists Believe – by K. Sri Dhammananda
excellent overview of the Teaching. From a Theravada point of view,
but extremely thorough with regards to the foundational Teachings.
Difficult to find in print, but a free electric copy is available for
Noble Eightfold Path – by Bhikkhu Bodhi
practice of Buddhism is the Noble Eightfold Path. This book is an
excellent guide to the Path and to the Practice.
have the right, as everyone does, to believe in a god or multiple
gods. You have the right to any religion you decide best fits you.
You have the right to believe a female brontosaurus lives under the
Brooklyn Bridge with her fourteen pups. You have every right to
believe unicorns live in your shoes. But the day you begin telling me
not to wear shoes because I'll upset the unicorn, a problem appears.
The day you start involving the unicorns in deciding how I should
live my life, a problem appears. The day you begin making decisions
for my family and my country based on the opinions of your unicorns,
a very large problem appears.
a Pali word, a very important Buddhist word: Metta.
Metta can be
translated as loving kindness, benevolence, friendliness, goodwill,
of metta, Bhikkhu Bodhi says: “Once one has learned to kindle the
feeling of metta towards oneself, the next step is to extend it to
others. The extension of metta hinges on a shift in the sense of
identity, on expanding the sense of identity beyond its ordinary
confines and learning to identify with others. The shift is purely
psychological in method, entirely free from theological and
metaphysical postulates, such as that of a universal self immanent in
procedure starts with oneself. If we look into our own mind, we find
that the basic urge of our being is the wish to be happy and free
from suffering. Now, as soon as we see this in ourselves, we can
immediately understand that all living beings share the same basic
wish. All want to be well, happy, and secure.
develop metta towards others, what is to be done is to imaginatively
share their own innate wish for happiness.
use our own desire for happiness as the key, experience this desire
as the basic urge of others, then come back to our own position and
extend to them the wish that they may achieve their ultimate
objective, that they may be well and happy.”