07 November 2010

Precept VI

I find I'm beginning to understand the refusal of the Amish to press a case in court and the general reluctance to appeal to governmental structures among some Anabaptists, Mennonites, Quakers and the like.  In some ways it's an embodiment of what we Mahāyānists resolve to do when we take the Sixth Precept, Not Speaking of the Faults of Others.

It's one thing directly to address someone with whom we have an issue.  It's another to appeal to a third party.  Would we hear as much of Hakuin if instead of replying with "Is that so?" to the charge of fathering the village maid's baby he had filed a counterpaternity suit and submitted to DNA testing?  The truth will out, so what's the rush?  And if the other side doesn't see it now, and even if it puts us out in the process, what's the harm in the end?

How much less would I speak if I set myself to doing a better job of observing this precept?  How much better off would I and the rest of the world be!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Shodhin,

    I'm glad I happened across your blog.

    I know what you mean, and I take your good point. At the same time I think we are required to speak, 'you have to say something' and all that. Master Dogen was big on expression and, in his writings, he continually exhorts us to 'speak!' and 'say a few words on this'. Of course, his 'speech' was the full range of expression, verbal and otherwise (inc. silent action).

    It may not be a matter of simply doing or saying nothing, but of 'saying' the right thing at any given time/situation, to express it positively. There's speech that's much more intimate than what we think and want and it's chattering all the time in everything we do IMO.

    This sort of reminds me of the idea that everything, in a sense, is a political action... very much including doing nothing. Don't get me wrong, I'm no flag waving Engaged Buddhist, just ruminating.