Mindful Speech & Elocution in Buddhist tradition.

How to use our speech to synchronize our body and mind in harmony, instead of creating strife.

1. Speak Slowly

2. Enunciate Clearly

3. Listen to yourself.

4. Listen to Others

5. Regard Silence as a Part of Speech

6. Speak Concisely, or Simply, or something like that.


Growing up in Trungpa Rinpoche’s American Buddhist community, we practiced elocution (speaking precisely, with power and beauty) and studied the six aspects of Mindful Speech. It’s been a long time, and I don’t remember their exact wording, but whenever I find myself speaking quickly and saying um and ah and like and whatever I remember them, and they bring me back from speediness and spinning my wheels to mindfulness, and communication as a two-way street. Does anyone have anything to add about these, and/or more precise wording?


For more:

Why elephant hearts Satish Kumar.

Six Points of Mindful Speech for Business & Relationships.

Confident People Communicate this Way (Most of us Forget to do This).

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elephantjournal Nov 7, 2013 7:39pm

The Buddha:
Abandoning false speech, he abstains from false speech. He speaks the truth, holds to the truth, is firm, reliable, no deceiver of the world.

Abandoning divisive speech he abstains from divisive speech. What he has heard here he doesn't tell there to break those people apart from these people here. What he has heard there he doesn't tell here to break these people apart from those people there. Thus reconciling those who have broken apart or cementing those who are united, he loves concord, delights in concord, enjoys concord, speaks things that create concord.

Abandoning abusive speech, he abstains from abusive speech. He speaks words that are soothing to the ear, that are affectionate, that go to the heart, that are polite, appealing & pleasing to people at large.

Abandoning idle chatter, he abstains from idle chatter. He speaks in season, speaks what is factual, what is in accordance with the goal, the Dhamma, & the Vinaya. He speaks words worth treasuring, seasonable, reasonable, circumscribed, connected with the goal.

— AN 10.99

shelby Sep 10, 2013 11:42pm

language can be so slippery. there's this inherent advocacy in expression via language that can run counter to Buddhist tradition.

certain words, ('gender' for example) 😉 can be so charged, they confuse and offend, even separate. i think it's as important to accept that this can't be helped as it is to continually work on clarify our speech.

Rumi said, “most of conflicts and tensions are due to language. don’t pay so much attention to the words. in love’s country, language doesn’t have its place. love is mute.”

it's interesting to think about, though ~ as an evolving species (& one that is deeply afflicted with the delusion of separateness) ~ the role language plays in our return to wholeness.

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Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of Elephant Journal & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat.” Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword’s Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by “Greatist”, Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: “the mindful life” beyond the choir & to all those who didn’t know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, touches on modern relationships from a Buddhist point of view. His dream of 9 years, the Elephant “Ecosystem” will find a way to pay 1,000s of writers a month, helping reverse the tide of low-quality, unpaid writing & reading for free online.