The Buddha pointed out four types of speech that we should avoid, the first of which is lying.
Series: The Four Nonvirtues of Speech
A series of talks recorded at Luminary Temple in Taiwan.
We have to observe the situations in which we tell lies. If we have done things we hope others will not discover, instead of lying, slow down and reflect.
Divisive speech often arises when others do what we don’t like, and we seek out friends to vent our anger. However, this only harms ourselves and others.
Divisive speech often arises in the workplace, when a group of people gets together to criticize an individual who we think is harming the group.
Harsh speech includes criticizing, denigrating, and humiliating others. Or we may scold others to “guide” them, and eventually they respond to us with anger.
When adults scare children by saying there are ghosts, this is a form of harsh speech. We actually want to care for others, but we don’t know how to express it.
Harsh speech sometimes happens in close relationships. In a marital argument, both parties feel hurt and think their spouse has not understood them.
The motivation for idle talk is basically to pass time and amuse ourselves. If our motivation is to build good relationships with others, that is not idle talk.
Venerable Thubten Chodron shares a positive memory of something she did in a large gathering that avoided idle talk.