I was in North Fitzroy Public Library the other day, and there was a book sale. Amongst them was a book called the Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness, the much anticipated follow up to Mindfulness In Plain English by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana.
My secret, I am a trained Tibetan Buddhist Calm Abiding meditation teacher and was one signature away from applying to become a monk during the eight years I spent under the tutelage of Lama Choedak Rinpoche, who is based in Canberra, Australia and in my opinion the second best interpreter of Dharma after his Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Back to the book, it cost me one dollar. So using my write about the subject on the page you open it to, today’s topic is Correct Speech, one of the eight branches of The Eight Fold Path. A little from Bhante on meditation:
All of a sudden, seemingly out of the blue, you sit up, take stock, and realize your actual situation in life.
So let’s take a trip down the eightfold path, memories of the countless nights and retreats I attended studying the dharma are flooding back, I was very good at it according to Rinpoche:
1. What, no judgement, gossiping, criticism. That would silence a few people I know.
2. Straight back to the midnight shows at the Valhalla and The Blues Brothers: Think.
3. Another concept of Buddhism is Loving Kindness, this stream of flowers reminds me of it.
4. Love me a Mind Map; This should be tattoed on all politicians hands to read before they speak in the chamber: Think Before I Speak.
5. From the symbol in the left-hand corner, I would say this is a Zen saying, beautiful, isn’t it?
6. People’s greedy desire for power, politically we never seem to remember this is a premise of the eightfold path if not addressed: Don’t Tell Lies.
7. What will mainstream media employees do when this comes into force when I am elected to power in this country, I don’t think they know how to do this.
8. How long do you spend being ethical with your speech each day?: Where Is the Love.
9. Not just the Buddhists follow right speech, here’s something from Hinduism.
10. One of the classic tales about incorrect speech, Pinocchio needs no words under this image to get the message: Bad Liar.
11. I own up to when the words feel trapped like this when I feel they may not land properly.
12. How hurt are we when what we think is the truth was revealed as Lies: I’m not a Lesbian Anymore.
13. Why, How and What. Our job in life is to discover our Why, and then you will never work another day in your life.
14. I still have a Tee Shirt with the Dharmacakra on it; The Noble Eightfold Path is a sexy beast: The Eightfold Path In The Style Of Adele.
15. And finally for the definition nerds out there, here it is.
Correct Speech has four qualities, the Buddha told us. It is always truthful, it is uplifting, not malicious or unkind. It is gentle, not crude or harsh. It is moderate, not useless or meaningless. I have a ways to go to achieve this moment to moment, a new daily practice.
The playlist today is quite quirky. We begin with Aretha Franklin from the iconic Blues Brothers movie, Then pop Diva Astrid S. The Black Eyed Peas appear on the next two clips, one with Ariana Grande at the Manchester benefit. Back to pop divas with Selena Gomez. But we finish with a lesbian anthem by Bria and Chrissy and then Rachel Moss interpreting The Eightfold Path in the style of Adele. Here’s the link to the playlist: How To Communicate Like A Buddhist.
Namaste until next time, my dear friends.
Thanks very much Rod. I was wondering why you decided not to sign on the dotted line and become a monk after eight years of devotion. We are fortunate that you did as I’m not sure how many monks write blogs on intercultural themes. 🙂
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And I am wondering when you will be running the calm abiding meditation classes – I’ll sign up!