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Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox

Sep 21, 2020

Right speech is abstaining from:

  • false speech
  • divisive speech
  • harsh speech
  • frivolous speech 


  1. Lying (false speech): The performance is indicating something false through speaking, through choosing not to speak, or through gesture. Causing others to engage in the three types of speech—lying, divisive speech, or offensive speech—is the same as doing it yourself.
  2. Divisive speech: the motivation is the desire that living beings who are compatible be separated or the desire that living beings who are incompatible remain so.
  3. Harsh speech: is saying something unpleasant, which may be either true or false, about someone else. 
  4. Frivolous speech (idle chatter) speaking about something that is not meaningful. 

Karmic results that are similar to the cause:

  • from lying—much slander
  • from divisive speech—loss of friendships
  • from offensive speech—hearing unpleasant words
  • from senseless speech—others not listening to your words


Guard against anger erupting in your speech;

Be restrained with your speech.

Letting go of verbal misconduct 

Practice good conduct with your speech.

—Buddha, The Dhammapada  


Links and References

Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp.60.

Je Tsongkhapa. Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment,, Volume 1. Pages 222-236. Translated by the Lamrim Chenmo Translation Committee. Joshua Cutler, Editor-in-Chief, and Guy Newlan, Editor.