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
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?
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
"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.