Thread: Silence

  1. #1
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    Silence

    Greetings,

    Am especially interested in practicing silence. Am a very introverted person but employment enjoins strong verbal usage and this has spilled over into my daily habits. Quite honestly, it is hard to be quiet! Have tried practicing for short periods of time, say 15 or 20 minutes, but something always seems to slip out. Any pointers on how to make progress?

    With great appreciation ...

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by mcsfa1
    ...employment enjoins strong verbal usage and this has spilled over into my daily habits. Quite honestly, it is hard to be quiet!
    Hi mcsfa1,

    The third factor of the Buddha's Noble Eightfold Path is Right Speech. These resources from the suttas might be useful for you:

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/d...a4/samma-vaca/

    In general, if you're not familiar with The Four Noble Truths, please check the brief outline I've linked to below. (which is also pinned with other resources near to the beginning of the topics in this 'Discovering Buddha's Teachings' forum that we're posting in.)

    http://santacittarama.altervista.org/e_buddhism.htm

    Hope that helps.

  3. #3
    Forums Member Doshin's Avatar
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    On my last silent retreat, it was explained that it was "noble silence" not "stupid silence".

    I.e. if the place should catch fire it was all right to shout and scream "FIRE !" to alert everyone. Or if you broke your leg, it was all right to talk to somebody, to get you medical attention.

    My point being, you shouldn't practice silence, just to be silent.

    But exercising to be (more) silent in every day life, could help you to build up a skill, to reflect on what you are about to say, before saying it. That gives you an option to not say it, when it would not be 'right speech'.

    At my work place, there is a lot of idle chatter and gossip during breaks. I often get from break, blaming my self for participating in idle chatter or gossip. I have realized that in the situation it is very hard to avoid.

    What I do is just before going on break-time, I reflect on my intention not to participate or add to 'wrong speech'. And afterwards I take time to reflect on what went on during my break. This seems to make me less likely to add to the gossiping and idle chatter, but it takes a lot of time to change my habits (sankhara).

    Lastly I think one should reflect on, if the wish for other people to behave differently ever leads one to anything else then dhukka. You yourself can change (over time) how you behave/react to/in situations. And in the long term that is the only influence one can have, to change the people around you.. by being a example.

    Lastly a quote from a study-guide on access to insight site, that I think is relevant to contemplate on this matter:
    Monks, there are these five aspects of speech by which others may address you: timely or untimely, true or false, affectionate or harsh, beneficial or unbeneficial, with a mind of good-will or with inner hate. Others may address you in a timely way or an untimely way. They may address you with what is true or what is false. They may address you in an affectionate way or a harsh way. They may address you in a beneficial way or an unbeneficial way. They may address you with a mind of good-will or with inner hate. In any event, you should train yourselves: 'Our minds will be unaffected and we will say no evil words. We will remain sympathetic to that person's welfare, with a mind of good will, and with no inner hate. We will keep pervading him with an awareness imbued with good will and, beginning with him, we will keep pervading the entire world with an awareness imbued with good will — abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.' That's how you should train yourselves.
    Hope my thoughts is beneficial, and apology's for broken english, as english is not my native language.

    _/\_
    Doshin

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    Forums Member Element's Avatar
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    Instead of focusing on being 'silent' (& trying to avoid social contact), focus more on 'listening' in social contact. This may stop the urge to talk & also develop the skill of only talking when necessary.

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    Such great, insightful, helpful replies. Much appreciated.

    Upon reflection today after reading some in "In the Buddha's Words", came to the (hopefully correct) conclusion that this will come in time as the practice of mindfulness takes hold. Patience must be practiced and maintained over the long haul for progress to occur. Although an end to suffering is desired, must take shelter of the 4 Noble Truths, The Noble Eightfold Path, Dhamma, Sangha and the like. Please correct if this is wrong.

    Had an experience yesterday that brought silence about. Goes along the line of Element's reply. The man was speaking such harsh words and nonsense that instead of the normal rebuttal, could only see the suffering and kept the mouth shut. Letting someone have his way is hard, especially when aimed here, but the words were unfounded and took it as that. Simply someone in pain wanting to vent or what have you. Again, hope that there is some correctness to this.

    Thank-you for allowing these words to flow. Additional comments, guidance, etc is always appreciated for this thirsty one.

    All the best!

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    Forums Member Doshin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcsfa1 View Post
    Such great, insightful, helpful replies. Much appreciated.

    Upon reflection today after reading some in "In the Buddha's Words", came to the (hopefully correct) conclusion that this will come in time as the practice of mindfulness takes hold.
    (my reaction to your 'hopefully') what you feel within as true, is your truth. Maybe over time, after more reflection/contemplation you might find a different truth. Your "truth" changes over time, as you gradually gain more wisdom. It does not make your past "truth"'s wrong, they where right at that time.

    Quote Originally Posted by mcsfa1 View Post
    Patience must be practiced and maintained over the long haul for progress to occur.
    Another zen story springs to my mind. A young monk asks his master, how log it will take to get enlightenment if practice 8 hours every day, the master says "20 years"; the monk then asks, what if I practice 16 hours every day, and puts all my effort and concentration into it. The master then answers "40 years".

    What I learned from that story is, that you can not rush or force your progress. The important part is to follow the path, as long as you within know that it is a right/good path to follow.

    Quote Originally Posted by mcsfa1 View Post
    Although an end to suffering is desired, must take shelter of the 4 Noble Truths, The Noble Eightfold Path, Dhamma, Sangha and the like. Please correct if this is wrong.
    That is some of the Buddha's directions, on how to move towards enlightenment. Remember only to follow what feels right, within yourself.

    It is often said, take what you find useful and leave the rest behind.

    You don't have to follow all of them all the time, but it could be wise, to put them on a shelve in the back of your mind. For some it is advisable to focus (primarily not solely) on one topic for a period of time, say a couple of months. Just like you write, that you want to practice/investigate one step on the eightfold path (right speech).

    But that does not exclude meditation. It is recommended to have a steady meditation "plan" as well. Meditation will train your skill to realize (in your training subject) "wrong" speech, shorter time, after it is spoken; even before it is spoken.

    Personally I see the eightfold path, as training steps. I.e. subjects you train to be better at. If they where commandment, you could risk loosing "respect" to a instruction, if you break it once.

    It is not all wrong to violate them, as long as you realize it, and try to be better in the future.

    Quote Originally Posted by mcsfa1 View Post
    Had an experience yesterday that brought silence about. Goes along the line of Element's reply. The man was speaking such harsh words and nonsense that instead of the normal rebuttal, could only see the suffering and kept the mouth shut.
    What happened in your specific situation, I can not comment on, as there is many fine nuances I would not know of.

    But it sounds like, you already have gained some skill, in your wish/practice. Personally I often use a "standard set" of answers, in the line of "OK", "If you say so", "I wouldn't know", "that could be right". Answers that does not invite to further debate/involvement, but still is a well-behaved answer that does not offend the other part.

    That is "the middle way", not complete silence, not free-runnning mouth, but something in between, that introduces more silence and less "wrong" speech. That is a step forward on the path.

    Quote Originally Posted by mcsfa1 View Post
    Letting someone have his way is hard, especially when aimed here, but the words were unfounded and took it as that. Simply someone in pain wanting to vent or what have you. Again, hope that there is some correctness to this.
    They too are on a path, different from yours. What they say, is true within them, but they do not (yet) have wisdom/insight to realize that they are wrong. But remember telling them that will make you seem arrogant, and would be counter-productive on a wish for them to gain this insight.

    Quote Originally Posted by mcsfa1 View Post
    Thank-you for allowing these words to flow. Additional comments, guidance, etc is always appreciated for this thirsty one.

    All the best!
    Your questions/thoughts makes me reflect on my own "truths", and putting them into writing, makes me reflect even more on them. I see the benefit as mutual.

    Lastly, this is my thoughts and opinions. Take it as such, I might be wrong and still have to gain more wisdom to realize that.

    _/\_
    Doshin

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