Cunda Kammaraputta Sutta

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Ethical communication is clearly of paramount importance in establishing good relations between followers of different religions. Buddhism has a rich tradition of ethics where guidance on verbal communication figures prominently in the scriptures. An important part of the Buddhist Path referred to as the Noble Eightfold Path (ariyo aṭṭhangiko maggo) is Right Speech (sammā vācā) which is explained in this passage from the Aṅguttaranikāya of the Pāli canon:

“And how is one made pure in four ways by verbal action?

There is the case where a certain person, abandoning false speech, abstains from false speech. When he has been called to a town meeting, a group meeting, a gathering of his relatives, his guild, or of the royalty, if he is asked as a witness, ‘Come and tell, good man, what you know': If he doesn’t know, he says, ‘I don’t know.’ If he does know, he says, ‘I know.’ If he hasn’t seen, he says, ‘I haven’t seen.’ If he has seen, he says, ‘I have seen.’ Thus he doesn’t consciously tell a lie for his own sake, for the sake of another, or for the sake of any reward. Abandoning false speech, he abstains from false speech. He speaks the truth, holds to the truth, is firm, reliable, no deceiver of the world.

Abandoning divisive speech he abstains from divisive speech. What he has heard here he does not tell there to break those people apart from these people here. What he has heard there he does not tell here to break these people apart from those people there. Thus reconciling those who have broken apart or cementing those who are united, he loves concord, delights in concord, enjoys concord, speaks things that create concord.

Abandoning abusive speech, he abstains from abusive speech. He speaks words that are soothing to the ear, that are affectionate, that go to the heart, that are polite, appealing and pleasing to people at large.

Abandoning idle chatter, he abstains from idle chatter. He speaks in season, speaks what is factual, what is in accordance with the goal, the Dhamma, and the Vinaya. He speaks words worth treasuring, seasonable, reasonable, circumscribed, connected with the goal. This is how one is made pure in four ways by verbal action.

Cunda Kammaraputta Sutta,  AN 10.176 PTS: A v 263

Text in Pāli language