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Words, its meaning and factuality

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  • Words, its meaning and factuality

    Hi Bhante,

    "Not to mention" is known to be a kind of apophasis.
    Definition of apophasis according to dictionary.com: denial of one's intention to speak of a subject that is at the same time named or insinuated

    Examples:
    The costs, not to mention the risks, of transporting the telescope to and from space would have been excessive.
    I shall not mention Caesar's avarice, nor his cunning, nor his morality.

    At the same time, the criteria for deciding what is worth saying:

    [1] "In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial (or: not connected with the goal), unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.

    [2] "In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.

    [3] "In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, but unendearing & disagreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them.

    [4] "In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.

    [5] "In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.

    [6] "In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, and endearing & agreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them. Why is that? Because the Tathagata has sympathy for living beings."

    — MN 58 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/d...a4/samma-vaca/


    There is no doubt "Not to mention" is not to be taken literally but if we look at it from the angle of right speech, can this be considered as factual or true? Can you please share your thoughts? Thanks Bhante.

  • #2
    Hi Steve,

    I'm not sure I totally understand your question. However, right speech means to not lie, to not speak harsh or unkind words. It's sometimes good to keep the 'guidelines' as to what constitutes right speech very simple and easy to understand. That way it becomes clearer to your mind when you are getting into the vicinity of wrong speech. If you have all different guidelines and follow many different suttas, it may not be so clear.

    With kindness,
    Sunyo

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