“Don’t talk behind people backs, and don’t speak sharply in their presence.
Don’t speak hurriedly. Don’t insist on local terminology and don’t override normal usage.
This is the recitation passage for the analysis of non-conflict.
‘Don’t talk behind people backs, and don’t speak sharply in their presence.’ That’s what I said, but why did I say it?
When you know that what you say behind someone’s back is untrue, false, and harmful, then if at all possible you should not speak.
When you know that what you say behind someone’s back is true and correct, but harmful, then you should train yourself not to speak.
When you know that what you say behind someone’s back is true, correct, and beneficial, then you should know the right time to speak. When you know that your sharp words in someone’s presence are untrue, false, and harmful, then if at all possible you should not speak. When you know that your sharp words in someone’s presence are true and correct, but harmful, then you should train yourself not to speak. When you know that your sharp words in someone’s presence are true, correct, and beneficial, then you should know the right time to speak.
‘Don’t talk behind people backs, and don’t speak sharply in their presence.’
That’s what I said, and this is why I said it.”
(Ref??) He said he is able to experience unstopping happiness for 24 hours, when the king, with all his accoutrements, could not.
“Who lives in greater pleasure, King Bimbisāra or Venerable Gotama?”’
‘Well then, reverends, I’ll ask you about this in return, and you can answer as you like. What do you think, reverends? Is King Bimbisāra capable of experiencing perfect happiness for seven days and nights without moving his body or speaking?’ ‘No he is not, reverend.’
‘What do you think, reverends? Is King Bimbisāra capable of experiencing unalloyed bliss for six days … five days … four days … three days … two days … one day?’ ‘No he is not, reverend.’
‘But I am capable of experiencing perfect happiness for one day and night without moving my body or speaking. I am capable of experiencing unalloyed bliss for two days … three days … four days … five days … six days … seven days. What do you think, reverends? This being so, who lives in greater pleasure, King Bimbisāra or I?’ ‘This being so, Venerable Gotama lives in greater pleasure than King Bimbisāra.’” - MN14
(Ref??) hearing the lute played by his cave and praising the musician.
When Pañcasikha had spoken, the Buddha said to him: “Pañcasikha, the sound of the strings and the sound of your voice blend well together, so that neither overpowers the other. - DN21
(Ref??) Saying ‘you cook very well’ after having a meal.
Unfortunately I cannot recall such a sutta and a quick search did not turn it up for me.
(Ref??) I remember reading someone claimed the Buddha taught to only speak pleasantly.
“Speak only such words
As do not hurt yourself
Nor harm others.
Such speech is truly well spoken.
Speak only pleasing words,
Words received gladly;
Pleasing words are those
That don’t have bad effects on others. - Thag 21.1
“And what is the person whose speech is like honey? Here, some person, having abandoned harsh speech, abstains from harsh speech. He speaks such words as are gentle, pleasing to the ear, and lovable, as go to the heart, are courteous, desired by many, and agreeable to many. This is the person whose speech is like honey. - AN 3.28
Hi, Sorry, I’m not sue of your name
Maybe this is a question to ask in the discussion section, rather than here, but I’ll try to answer shortly.
I am trying to establish what the Buddha taught and did not.
I think no one would suggest the Buddha did not teach to speak pleasantly. What I am questioning is, if he taught to ONLY speak pleasantly.
My study indicates he did not, but that is not the message I usually hear. So I would say it’s a misrepresentation of the Dhamma.
As i hope to point out in the article I’m preparing, sharp speech might be hurtful (as the Buddha’s words to Bhikkhu Saati), but I think the question should be ‘hurtful to what’ and motivation should be considered. Thus the Buddha’s qualities of speech to be considered: true, beneficial, pleasant. The first two must be yes, the third can be pleasant OR NOT. So Dhammic speech has another level to it, beneficial or not, that overrides pleasant or not. We have a saying in English, ‘the truth hurts’ and for me, it is only hurtful to ego. It’s great to see that speech is true, beneficial, but unpleasant, then the next big step, is the last thing the Buddha said, to know the right time. Very challenging!
PS If conforming to Dhamma means I shock the majority of (Buddhist) people, that’s fine with me. Thus did also the Buddha (e.g. Raising women’s status up), it seems to me and I try to be his son - not live in fear of acting after seeing what is right/dhammic.
PPS It would certainly not have seemed the right time to Bhikkhu Saati to be corrected so harshly, but when is the right time for ego, which wants always to be seen as right, ok, good…? Identifying the qualities for the right time, seems very important, otherwise we may not say things that would lead to other’s benefit, after they investigate for any truth in our words, if they get that far.
You’re certainly right, in the suttas the Buddha sometimes adresses people or bhikkhus who misrepresent his teaching as ‘fool’ or ‘misguided man’ - moghapurisa. This certainly doesn’t flow down like honey in the foolish person’s ears.
Foolish man, who on earth have you ever known me to teach in that way? (MN 22)
The Buddha is rectifying grave dhamma mistakes, but he’s not really ‘sweet’ about it “Ah, excuse me, I’m sorry and mean not to hurt you, but I think you maybe eh, could have misunderstood something, but I could be totally wrong of course…” in these cases it’s just bam.
Also you might look for pattakkhandho, drooping shoulders, as in MN 93:
When he said this, Assalāyana sat silent, embarrassed, shoulders drooping, downcast, depressed, with nothing to say.
I have some instances in mind I can’t locate exactly, but what you point to is of course correct - to be sometimes harsh is in the suttas the privilege of the benevolent teacher. It easily turns sour when non-enlightened ones do it.
On the other hand we have the famous relationship of Mahakassapa who treats Ananda badly, no matter their age and realization. Ananda is a sweet character, and I cannot imagine that Kassapa turned into a harsh teacher only with enlightenment.
If I have a close friend or relative who is engaging in a very bad sort of habit or action, I tend to know clearly what and when I should say to bring to his mind the unwholesomeness of what he is up to.
However, as per MN139, the safest bet, especially when dealing with people who I do not necessarily know well enough, and situations I am not fully able to assess, is to use kindness and restraint in regards to harsh speech.
Yes, from the story of Bhikkhu Saati, I thought to do a search of moghapurisa and got the follow refs from the first Four Nikaya. Low and behold, MN22 is there. I had forgot about the other term, ‘drooping sholders’, thanks so much.
(Searching for the Pali terms of ‘worthless man’ moghapurisa may reveal more. A SuttaCentral search gave 190 results. The majority were from the Vinaya, but the following are those only from the First Four Nikaya - as yet not investigated: DN24, DN25, DN28; MN12, MN22, MN48, MN63, MN65, MN66, MN70, MN105, MN109, MN136; SN16.6, SN16.13, SN17.5, SN22.82, SN35.248 (207), SN47.3; AN1.316-332, AN3.137 (135), AN5.55, AN5.100, AN5.167, AN6.29, AN6.49, AN8.20, AN9.11, AN10.93, AN10.94, AN47.12)
You can blame that on the speaker or the listener. If Bhikkhu Saati did not investigate the Buddha’s words for truth, it would end bad for him. Just because the Buddha (or any noble one) said it, does not mean it will benefit him. As a follower of the Buddha, it’s my duty to master the Dhamma and sharp speech is part of that. I don’t appreciate your discouragement to master Dhamma.
I don’t think ‘sweet character’ and ‘harsh teacher’ are dhammic ideas. Vis MN139, but rather there are sweet behaviours and harsh ones and the wise one knows the conditions for them, such as the Buddha.