Keeping Silent

 “Keeping silent and refraining from discussing the Way is a truly extraordinary practice. This is hearing what is impossible to hear, encountering what is impossible to encounter.” Planting Flowers on a Rock, Dharma Discourse by John Daido Loori Roshi, True Dharma Eye, Case 232

Part of what attracted me to Buddhism was its emphasis on silence and its investigation of the mind. It labeled even thoughts as a form of mind-talk. True silence is about more than not babbling.

As a spiritual seeker, I saw that the what of religions varied widely (gods or atheistic, hierarchical versus more democratic, etc.), but the how of various religions was eerily similar. For example, the average day of a Buddhist monk and a Jesuit monk are so much alike that they could probably switch lives without a glitch. I have even heard the theory that Christian monasticism is based on Buddhist, due to the variety of cultures all living in the Middle East in Jesus’ time and the centuries immediately following. It would make sense. After all, Buddhism is a good half a millennium older than Christianity.

Silence is one of those universal values. Refraining from unnecessary conversation is almost always helpful. Much talk is useless, serving no purpose other than to paste over an uncomfortable silence. Personal depth often has an inverse relationship with a person’s chattiness. There is something to be said for the “still waters run deep” personality. When they speak, people listen.




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About cdhoagpurple

I live in Michigan. I was Greek Orthodox (and previously Protestant), but now am more Buddhist than anything. I am single now (through the till-death-do-you-part clause of the marriage contract). My husband Barry was a good man and celebrated 30 years in AA. I am overly educated, with an MBA. My life felt terminally in-limbo while caring for a sick husband, but I am free now. I see all things as being in transition. Impermanence is the ultimate fact of life. Nothing remains the same, good or bad.

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