“Right speech” is one of Noble Eightfold Path and it is important because we use speech everyday of our life. It is said, “If you have right speech, you will be loved. If you have bad speech, you will be hated”. However, it does not mean that we have to care about what people say. We have wisdom to decide that; if something is not true, we should not be bothered. Even if it is true, we should use it as a lesson, not as a matter of regret. There is a Chinese story which exemplifies this. I would like to share it with you. Here is the story:
There was once a man who had a mango tree on his premises. This mango tree always gave a good harvest of fruit, but that year it didn’t. So his neighbour said, “This tree is useless. It no longer gives fruit. You should cut it down”. The man would not believe him, but when he heard the same remark a few times, he started to believe it and consequently cut down the mango tree. When he cut down the tree, his neighbour came and asked him to chop up the tree for firewood. Then he realized that his neighbour had told him to cut down the tree because he wanted the firewood.
He felt sorry that he had taken notice of his neighbour’s words so much so that he had now lost the tree. He had made a decision based on his neighbour’s words, not on wise consideration. This year the tree might not bear fruit, but next year when the rain is good, or had he fertilized it, it might have born good fruit.
It is true that we lose some good things, because we just take notice of what is said without thinking it through properly and we rush into making a decision. We know that we cannot rely on just words and opinion, but we are still careless about it; so we suffer like the man who lost his mango tree. Have you ever lost anything because of speech? If you haven’t, you are lucky. But don’t be careless, because speaking is what we create, and listen to in our daily life. If we are careless, we might end up like the man in the story. Therefore, be mindful of your speech.