Wise Speech

I recently read an article in TrIcycle Magazine by Roshi Nancy Mujo Baker titled The Buddhist Guide to Gossip. Of course, it is about the precept that asks us to refrain from unwise speech. What struck me deeply in her writing was her reference to “Oneness or the One Body.” Following is an excerpt that resonated most with me in the article.

“As with all the precepts, we can take this one very literally: Never ever speak of the faults of another. Or, contextually: sometimes it’s appropriate to speak of the faults of others depending on the circumstances. Or, from the point of view of Oneness or the One Body, it becomes non-speaking of the faults of others. From this point of view, which isn’t really a point of view at all, the separation needed for such notions as “faults” or “speaking ill” or even “others” doesn’t exist. It is here, too, that the precepts are no longer guiding principles of behavior, but are manifested naturally as our very being. It’s interesting to look at a few different versions of this precept not so much to consider these different levels or dimensions but simply to bring out some of its various aspects in our ordinary lives. The Bodhidharma version, as translated by Aitken Roshi, is “Self nature is subtle and mysterious. In the realm of the flawless dharma, not expounding upon error is called the precept of not speaking of the faults of others.” The late John Daido Loori Roshi’s translation refers to this as “refraining from speaking of others’ errors and faults.” Zen Master Dogen’s version is “In the Buddhadharma there is one path, one dharma, one realization, one practice. Don’t commit fault finding. Don’t commit haphazard talk.” Elsewhere Dogen writes “Do not let them talk of others’ errors and faults.”

“Notice what we have here: Not finding fault, which suggests that we actually look for faults. Not speaking of the faults of others, which, as mentioned above, includes such forms of speaking as gossip, complaining, and passing on hearsay. Not letting others do it, which points to our willingness, even eagerness, to listen to such speaking. And not expounding upon those faults, which makes me think of the pleasure of shared “analysis” of the behavior of others: in other words, going on and on exercising our great “perceptiveness.”

When you find the Light within you

When you find the Light within you

you will know that you have always

been in the center of wisdom.

As you probe deeper into who you really are,

with your lightedness and your confusion,

with your angers, longings, and distortions,

you will find the true living God.

Then you will say:

I have known you all my life

and I have called you by many different names.

I have called you mother and father and child.

I have called you lover.

I have called you sun and flowers.

I have called you my heart.

But I never, until this moment,

called you Myself.

Emmanuel’s Book


May I be a Bridge

May I be a guard for all those who are protector-less,
A guide for those who journey on the road,
For those who wish to cross the water,
May I be a boat, a raft, a bridge.

May I be an isle for those who yearn for landfall,
And a lamp for those who long for light;
For those who need a resting place, a bed;
For all who need a servant, may I be their slave.

For all those ailing in the world,
Until their every sickness has been healed,
May I myself become for them
The doctor, nurse, the medicine itself.



I continue to be filled with thoughts of lovingkindness for our wonderful teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh. I remember reading the Miracle of mindfulness the first time, the little book on Mindfulness practice. It felt like he was giving me personally so much guidance on how to deal with all the frantic thoughts that were continually attacking my mind/heart… Like this:

“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again.”

So simple.. use your breath to take hold of your mind again. When the mind runs away with itself and takes the heart with it, come back to the breath… deep breath in… deep breath out. As many times and necessary until the mind is calm and centered again. Do that as much as you need to. Make this a habit instead of the habit on chasing my thoughts.