April 30 Listening and Loving Speech


On Monday, Mick will facilitate. He shares:


This week Mick will facilitate and share on The Fourth Mindfulness Training: Deep Listening and Loving Speech.

In the Buddhist tradition the Fourth Mindfulness Training is always described as refraining from these four actions:

  1. Not telling the truth. If it's black, you say it's white

  2. Exaggerating, you make something up, or describe something as more beautiful than it actually is, or as ugly when it is not ugly.

  3. Forked tongue, you go to one person and say one thing and then you go to another and say the opposite.

  4. Filthy language. You insult or abuse people.                                   (Thich Nhat Hanh, For A Future To Be Possible, p. 55)

In conjunction with refraining from speech that is unskillful, in practicing the Fourth Mindfulness Training we commit to cultivating loving speech and deep listening.


As mindfulness practitioners when it comes to loving speech, and refraining from unmindful speech the scales are probably tipped in your favor. It's likely that the majority of the time you are able to follow and practice this training.


Many years ago, I heard a talk from a monk about knowing your blind spots when it comes to your mindfulness practice. He spoke about getting familiar with the situations, settings, and people that react impulsively or to be pulled out of skillful speech and action.

Surely this applies to losing patience in traffic or frustrations at work. This knowing your blind spots also is extremely applicable to the practice of deep listening and loving speech.


In commenting on listening deeply and loving speech Thay shares a saying in Vietnamese,

"It doesn't cost anything to have loving speech." He continues:

We only need to choose our words carefully and we can make other people happy. To use words mindfully, with loving kindness, is to practice generosity. We can make many people happy just by practicing loving speech.

(Thich Nhat Hanh, For A Future To Be Possible, p.44)


Remembering that whenever we speak and whenever we listen we are affecting two people.  Our mindfulness in speaking and listening can have tremendous and far reaching ripples.


In our current time of instant, mass communication, fake news, etc, how truly are we connected.  In commenting on this topic, Thay shares that:


Never in the history of humankind have we had so many forms of communication...

But we still remain islands. There is so little communication between the members of

One family, between individuals in society, and between nations. We suffer from so many

Wars and conflicts. We surely have not cultivated the arts of listening and speaking....

The universal door of communication has to be opened again. When we cannot communicate we get sick, and as our sickness increases, we suffer and spill our suffering on other people.

(Thich Nhat Hanh, For A Future To Be Possible,  p. 48-49)


We need to look deeply into ourselves to recognize our blind spots around the arts of speaking and listening. This Monday night we can take the time to look deeply into our practice of loving speech and deep listening and the ripple effects on our lives.