The nonvirtues of harsh speech and idle talk

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Having generated the motivation for a good rebirth, the text turns to creating the causes for that goal. Part of a series of teachings on the Gomchen Lamrim by Gomchen Ngawang Drakpa. Visit Gomchen Lamrim Study Guide for a full list of contemplation points for the series.

  • The four parts of a complete karma of harsh speech
  • We speak harshly the most to those we are close to and care about
  • The four parts of a complete karma of idle talk
  • The many ways we engage in idle talk
  • How idle talk interferes with our own and others’ Dharma practice

Gomchen Lamrim 27: The nonvirtues of harsh speech and idle talk (download)

27 The Gomchen Lamrim 02-05-16

Contemplation points

  1. Venerable Chodron commented that we don’t have to spend time cultivating these non-virtuous pathways unlike effort we have to apply to create the virtuous ones. In fact, non-virtue comes quite naturally. Do a life review. Do you find this true for yourself?
  2. What kinds of things are included in the non-virtuous pathway of harsh speech? How have you seen this non-virtue operate in your life? How has acting in this way been harmful to you? To others?
  3. Describe the branches for a complete action of harsh speech. Think of different situations where one of the branches might not be complete. How does this affect the result of the karma created?
  4. Why do you think we, in general, speak harshest to our loved ones? In what ways is this approach counter-productive?
  5. What kinds of things are included in the non-virtuous pathway of idle talk? How have you seen this non-virtue operate in your life? How has acting in this way been harmful to you? To others?
  6. Describe the branches for a complete action of idle talk. Think of different situations where one of the branches might not be complete. How does this affect the result of the karma created?
  7. Why do you think that idle talk is such a hindrance to spiritual practice?
  8. Take some time to make examples of conversations in your own life that were idle talk and those that were purposeful speech. How does our motivation impact whether or not it is idle or purposeful speech?
  9. Which of the four non-virtuous verbal karmic pathways is the most prevalent for you? What can you do to be more mindful of this in your daily life?
  10. Venerable Chodron said that when we have problems with others, it often comes down to one of the ten non-virtuous pathways. Spend some time reviewing your relationships, both past and present. Do you find this true?

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