I first heard the questions, or "three sieves," as "Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?" But the Pinterest version above adds letters and colors. "Inspiring" and "helpful" are good, too, but probably not, well, necessary. Buddhists also know it as "right speech," or
"abstinence from false speech, abstinence from malicious speech, abstinence from harsh speech, and abstinence from idle chatter.” In the vernacular this means not lying, not using speech in ways that create discord among people, not using swear words or a cynical, hostile or raised tone of voice, and not engaging in gossip.I've been working on this recently, the right speech. And have had a few challenges, on at least three recent occasions, when I was bothered (read: indignant, hurt, and/or angry) by something people had said. Of course, blogging about it is not really different than speaking about it, so I won't give the details. Besides, I've dwelt on it repeatedly in my head--you know, making up mocking comebacks, sarcastic retorts, withering replies. I was terribly vested in the stories I was telling and retelling myself--Buddhists would say "unskillfully"--and, in doing so, keeping quite alive the hurt and angry emotions that had arisen. But, I didn't respond. And in doing so, this post to the contrary, in many ways divested myself of those hard emotions. Now I'm just looking back, thinking, "Wow, maybe there is something to that right speech." I just have to include that small voice in my head next time.