Posting Essays

Good Speech, Good Heart

Update: 25/06/2015
There is a proverb that says “An ox is taken by the horns, and a man by the tongue.” which means loose and careless speech may hurt others and emotional pain is obviously supposed to be worse than physical pain.

Good Speech, Good Heart


Buddhism also mentioned “Vitatha-vac” that means sweet, flattering words , the sentences of disparagement, insults, sneer or those that induce  others to commit a crime. In general, every word that caused others suffering is called “Vitatha-vac”.


The scope and the meaning of “Vitatha-vac” are very wide; however it is divided into four categories including: Lies, (false statements that deliberately harm others), Frivolous talks (meaningless, flippant words and words that reflect deviant knowledge.), Double tongue (deceitful speech causing people to be split into groups that disagree with or oppose each other), and Evil-speech (harsh speech that causes pain and suffering).



In fact, only a saint does not commit these faults, and most of us, ordinary people,  even young children much or less do. For example, when a farther asks his son: “Who do you love best? If the baby is agile, intelligent, he will instantly reply: “I love you best”. When a mother asks her son like this, he will reply: “I love you best”. In order to please his parents, the boy knows how to answer, which is also considered to be guilty of “Vitatha-vac”.


Sometimes, the close friends of a boy ask him: “who do you love? The perfect answer is “I love both my parents”. But they keep asking: “Who do you love best? - That is a difficult question for the boy. We should not ask them questions like this because it is not only unfair but also confusing them. So, it can be seen that, people have acquired a habit of lying since childhood. Although this is harmless, but when we grow up, it combines with our desire of self-interest, that bad habit probably will become an effectively supporting tool for us to commit a crime.


In doing business, many people think that if we don’t know to show off our products, it is difficult to sell them. So they often advertise their products like: “Products of our company are of  the best quality; we can sell at a loss or at cost price in order to build trust and credibility with customers. If you do not buy them now you will certainly regret it later”, but in fact they benefit greatly from this. This is one of dishonest, unjust advertisements, thereby being considered “Vitatha-vac”. As to this matter, it is advised that we do not necessarily resort to lying in business.


I have a friend who has done business for many years revealed his success secret: he is always sincere and honest to any customers and frankly exchange views  with them to let them understand his standpoint. He said, besides the cost of materials and other spending for the product completion, he certainly need to charge a reasonable amount of money on the products for profits. He thinks that the important thing is to ensure necessary revenue in business and prefers not to make a profit by raising product prices for more profits at all cost. Therefore, in doing business, it is not necessary to lie to customers. The success key in long term is “You get what you pay for”, let customers chose suitable products within their budget, to maintain prestige, ethics in business.


In daily life, we should not avoid “Vitatha-vac”; we should tell the truth, speak with respect, use encouraging words and praise, have words of comfort to others while they are in troubles. If you can control your speech, you will definitely avoid nasty rumors and slanders.


Venerable Master Sheng Yen

Translated into English by Pham Thi Tuyet Mai.

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