"The Bodhisattva continually ponders the way, studying it deeply and attentive to the Teachings, that he may grow in knowledge and attain the power of convincing speech in order to rescue all beings."

   — Sutra of the Eightfold Awakening

"Of all actions, the highest is that of speech."   —  Tsong Kha Pa

What is right speech?   Why is speech the highest of all actions?

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Isn't thought a form of action in theosophy?  Why wouldn't it be the highest of actions?

I suppose that begs the question, what is thought and how is it different from speech?  Is speech merely the expression of thought or something more?

Gerry, do you have a source for this Tsong kha pa quote? Probably the context would tell us more about speech or thought as the highest form of action.

Does right speech include how we talk to ourselves?  Internal speech?

When we study theosophy we learn that there is often not hard and fast distinctions between things.  There does not seem to be a black and white line that divides thought from speech.  In the Secret Doctrine we learn of the idea of unuttered speech. So how we talk to ourselves is extremely important.  Unuttered speech could be filled with doubt, desire or anxiety.  Unuttered speech could be filled with concern for all of humanity, universal principles, and selfless service.  One form of inner speech comes from kama manas and the astral, the other from buddhi manas.  This is the battle of Arjuna, to listen to Krishna or to be driven by his fears.

Why not?  If we berate ourselves is that not inappropriate speech, using speech for ill?

What is internal becomes external eventually. So right internal speech is how we would get to right external speech.

June 28, 2015   Theme for the Week: Right Speech

“Guard with care those living messengers called words.”

 — W.Q. Judge

It is interesting to think of words as karmic agents.

I wonder if the first policy of speech ought to be like the medical profession "first do no harm"?  Non-violent speech is an effort to refrain from saying things that will harm others.  What is harm? That is an interesting and perplexing question too.  If we cannot speak to each other as ends rather than as means to something we want or need, are we harming them?  This calls into question motive, what is my intent in this communication?  Can I acknowledge the immortal soul in each person I encounter and in some way honor the soul in my words?

June 30,  2015     Theme for the Week: Right Speech

“Life itself has speech and is never silent.  And its utterance is not, as you that are deaf may suppose, a cry; it is a song.”

— Light on the Path

Is the higher Self speaking to us constantly but we don't know the language?

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Permalink Reply by Grace Cunningham on July 4, 2015 at 8:21am

Maybe before we can learn the lesson of right speech we must learn the lesson of right listening.

Permalink Reply by Tamiko Yamada on July 8, 2015 at 11:23pm

Right speech should be thought of as part of a wheel, a spoke in the wheel of the 8fold Noble Path.  It cannot be thought of without Right motive, right thought and right action for example.  All eight are interwoven.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on July 1, 2015 at 10:38am

July 1, 2015     Theme of the Week:  Right Speech

 “Quietness is the essence of temperance.”

— Plato

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on July 2, 2015 at 11:33pm

July 2, 2015    Theme for the Week:  Right Speech

“The music that can deepest reach,

And cure all ill, is cordial speech.”   

  —  Ralphy Waldo Emerson

Permalink Reply by Grace Cunningham on July 4, 2015 at 8:23am

Few things are as beautiful as words of encouragement. "Shower the people we love with love."  says the song.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on July 3, 2015 at 11:16pm

July 3, 2015  Theme for the Week:  Right Speech

“Be sparing of speech and things will come right of themselves.”

— Lao Tzu

Permalink Reply by barbaram on July 4, 2015 at 2:32pm

"The Bodhisattva continually ponders the way, studying it deeply and attentive to the Teachings, that he may grow in knowledge and attain the power of convincing speech in order to rescue all beings."

   — Sutra of the Eightfold Awakening

 It is interesting to note the above quote where the emphasis is on the development of "convincing speech in order to rescue all beings."   Speech is uttered thoughts or manifestation of thoughts using audible sounds on the physical plane.  I imagine the power of "convincing speech" comes from the light of buddhi.  Plato is great example in this regard.   It is the depth of understanding translating into being, a result of assimilation of buddhi, that has the power to clarify and dissipate illusions.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on July 6, 2015 at 10:54am

That is an interesting point.  The right words can can be said but they mean much more if spoken from a person of integrity and experience.  They carry more weight so to speak.

Permalink Reply by Grace Cunningham on July 7, 2015 at 8:26am

A big part of right speech is knowing when to remain silent.