How many of us give a second thought to words we use to describe people?
I suppose it makes us feel superior when we call someone names, like an idiot or a moron.
Not only would I question our thinking in that scenario, but I question how these words effect others who hear us use them.
Have you ever referred to someone as a “retard”? Perhaps you thought that was a cute or funny way to describe the person. But have you considered how hurtful that term can be to many people? How would you feel if a Family member suffered from mental retardation, Down syndrome, Klinefelter’s syndrome, or Prader-Willi syndrome? I’ll bet you would find it extremely hurtful and insensitive.
So why do we feel the need to name call, and put people down? Are we in fact superior beings in some way?
I am asking myself this very question, as I often slip and refer to some driver who cuts me off as an idiot. And there are other situations where I will slip and use other derogatory terms for a person, and I am coming to grips with the fact that this is not Right Speech. In fact, it is really not Right anything. It’s judgmental, unskillful, selfish, unloving, non-compassionate and certainly is not any example of equanimity.
I see the cause of this as deeply rooted in the Three Poisons; greed, anger and ignorance.
I want people to do things my way, I get mad and upset when they don’t, and I am too ignorant to see that we are all just human beings and equally special.
I have been doing better and better with this, and often withholding my name calling. But I see the greater accomplishment to be one of Right View and genuine mindfulness. To simply not say the words, is not to have cleansed the mind of these poisons. That just means I bit my lip, but the thoughts still arose in my mind.
True equanimity (upekkha) arises when the hurtful and judgmental words no longer arise in my mind. And this is part of my practice, to be aware and mindful of these thoughts. Both on the cushion and off, I practice to see more clearly the reality of this World. To be an example of peace and acceptance, without expectation or judgement.
This is the Noble Eightfold Path, and the path that I try to follow with a strong yet patient determination.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.