Cultivating Verbal Merits

By Yu Cai

Without realising, I have already practised Buddhism for several years. I clearly know the goal of learning Buddhism and cultivating is to eliminate our bad habits and to purify our actions, speech and thoughts; only then we can unfold our wisdom.

In our daily lives, we communicate and speak with people all the time. If we are not tactful and say something inappropriate or offensive to people, misunderstandings may arise and we will never be able to take our words back. This is a typical example of the saying ‘Trouble begins from the mouth’.

Parents, when educating their children at home, have to place great emphasis on communicating with their children. Teenagers dislike their elders nagging at them. Even as a mother, trying to show concern for her children by nagging too much may upset them. At times it may cause arguments and unhappiness in the whole family, upsetting both parties. After learning Buddhism and cultivating merits, I know I must always have my awareness and wisdom when dealing with issues and not with emotions. If we find it difficult to communicate with our children or when they refuse to listen, we must tell ourselves to maintain a pure, calm mind and not to get angry.  Then we can explain with a calm and good-humoured mind to soften the atmosphere. This will ultimately dispel any anger the children have toward their parents and thus foster a better parent-children relationship. 

When interacting with colleagues at work, we must be fully aware of what we say to them. Only then will we be able to forge better and friendlier ties with them. There was once when my colleagues decided to meet up for a big feast to satisfy their hunger. When I knew about this, I told them they were lame and were wasting their time. Unfortunately, it was only after I said it had I realised I had said something unkind and wrong. Although this seemed like a trivial matter, it left me feeling very ashamed of my actions, which is unbecoming of a Jen Chen disciple who is supposed to be constantly aware of his/her speech and actions.

My husband often criticises me for being too impolite in my speech when I’m home. Though innocent words from the speaker are wrongly interpreted in the mind of the listener, I totally agree with my husband. Hopefully I can always be aware of my actions and eliminate my bad habits, lessen my karmic hindrances so as not to disappoint my Dharma teacher.