-by Dharma Master Heng K'ung

      Speech is a gift given to humans to facilitate the communication of their ideas to one another. Although this gift is a blessing, often it is not recognized as such, and suffers wide abuse. Indeed, hasty speech, angry speech, gossip, and the like have forever been a source of suffering to both those who speak and those who hear.

      An ancient worthy once said, "Human beings are able to tame all manner of wild beasts, but their own tongues, which are the smallest member of their bodies, they cannot tame."

      In Buddhism we are taught to discipline the three karmas of body, mouth, and mind. Whereas the mind is immaterial, without substance or form, the tongue has a definite shape and could be included as part of the body. Yet even though it belongs to the physical body, this tiny member gets us into so much mischief that it must be treated separately, and so it is said that we create karma with the body, mouth, and mind. One word spoken out of place causes us to end up talking to ourselves ten times as much. How much energy this tiny member causes us in mental justifications, and how much misery in undergoing karmic retributions, cannot be easily reckoned.

      Let us all take heed and keep our speech well checked. If we cannot maintain a vow of silence, let us speak only when spoken to. If we cannot speak only when spoken to, let our speech be confined strictly to carrying out our duties, so that all our responsibilities might be fulfilled more efficiently. Indeed, we should all value this tiny organ as a most rare treasure and not spend it carelessly.


begins on July 7th. Inquire at CTTB or Gold Mountain to see if a Ch'an session
follows. Make plans now to attend and join in a Dharma-door which will help keep the earth solid underfoot, the stars placid overhead, and your heart calm within.