Like many ancient pearls of wisdom that find their way to us toady, I have found mixed accounts of who we should credit for this amazing method that has stood the test of time. Was it a Sufi teacher? was it Buddha himself? or some other source? Well for our purposes it really doesn’t matter too much. What matters is how well this tool works for cleaning up how you speak (waaayyyy better than soap Mom, though I guess it hasn’t done much for my potty mouth;).
So the advice is that before any words escape from your mouth, they must pass through each of the four gates of speech. If the answer at any of the gates is no, then the words should not be spoken, at least not until you can reflect on them and work it out so that they do make it through. Very simple, in theory, a little more tricky when it comes to practice. Challenging but worth the effort!
1st Gate– Are these words true?
2nd Gate– Are these words necessary?
3rd Gate– Are these words kind and beneficial?
4th Gate– Is now the right time?
Why I like the Tool
I couldn’t say where I first learned this tool, I know I have had it for a long, long time. Must have picked it up from a talk or a workshop somewhere along the way. I can say that over the years I have come back to it every few, and it really stands up, and is well worth honing on an on going basis. Each and every time I pick it up again to review the four gates something different jumps out as the place to be concentrating my efforts to clean up my verbal act. Right now I think “is it the right timing” that I am really needing to work on (and balance- sometimes I hold on to things too long or inevitably because the “right timing” never comes. So finding that sweet spot, when my truth can and will be heard is a crucial lesson for me at the moment). Which of the four gates comes the easiest for you? which do you think might require the most hard work to implement in your life (pro tip- it might be the one you forget all the time that could use the most polish;)
This is a really well-written, fun to read, and considerate post. If this tool is calling your name please to read this article to deepen your understanding. The author said it all so well and I hate to be redundant.
This is a fun idea for an advice column. Taking real-world modern problems and considering how the fictional character Siddhartha would answer by asking “what would Sid Do?”. I really like this piece as it lets us examine the four tenants in a real example which always I find always helps to anchor and understand in a deeper way (I will be following more of these posts for sure).
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This post was created with the help of Grammarly.