Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates: “is it true?”; “is it necessary?”; “is it kind?”
Sounds good and has a nice warm feeling to it! You may even pass it on to a few friends so they enjoy the quote as well! But what if we really chose to put it into practice? To live, day in and day out, by this rule of the three gates. To never open our mouth before pausing and assessing, is what I am thinking of saying true, is it necessary, and is it infused with “kindness”?
If we could it what probably become a life changing moment! We would become fully mindful of all that we said, ensuring it truly brought benefit to beings and, in that way, ourselves. We would stop idle chatter and gossip; we would always speak ethically – truthfully; and always with the mind of enlightenment – thinking of others and ensuring our words brought a feeling of happiness to their hearts.
My teacher would describe this as taking consciousness of the “gap”. The “gap” between a stimulus through our senses of hearing, sight etc and a “sensation” arising. Once a sensation has taken root, so has attachment or aversion, the afflictive emotion(s) associated and a response “triggered”!
What we are trying to do is live beyond “sensations” – acting and talking fully free of the emotional component which is so unpredictable and invariably leads to “non – virtue”. It is important to emphasise that we are not talking about being “cold” or “without feeling” rather we are living in the security and strength of our “interior”, a space of peace, harmony and compassion, a space of “selflessness”, where we are released from the confinement of a focus based on external objects and associated attachment or aversion.