The Fourth Precept – Abstaining from False Speech

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The Fourth Precept – Abstaining from False Speech

“The Fourth Precept (abstaining from false speech”

Out of the Five Precepts, the fourth precept – Musavada – is the one people break mostly; that is to make a false speech.
In the era where bullies or slanders can be found in abundance, as well as, spicing up what have been heard and disseminating them are what people commonly do most, such practices would make false speech disperse further. Those who fall into the trap or get involved in listening to and believing in it would bear the unwholesome consequence from such actions as well.

Breaking the fourth precept is a karmic deed that is easy to commit but its damage is ranging from both small and big, to enormous.

Lying is to make a false speech with intention. Despite without purpose to harm, the intention to disseminate in any channels to others to believe is considered breaking this precept. Although whilst saying with no intention to lie but later one has an intention not to keep one’s promise, this is also considered as violation of the fourth precept.

For example – Not following or keeping the contract or promise is considered as breaking the precept.

– A confirmed appointment was made at a specific time but is not followed without a notification is considered as precept violation. However, if a reason for not being able to make it is informed, it is considered as precept defect.
– Defaulting in debt payment with intention is the precept violation.

– Booking a restaurant and suddenly changing mind not to go because of own convenience is considered as breaking the precept. But if you have an urgent need and request for postponement and keep up the words, it is not a precept violation.

– Communication of changed or distorted message affecting others who were being mentioned is considered the precept violation because there is an intention to pass on the message to make others believe.

– When a doctor prescribed the medication asks whether you have already finished taking the medicine; if your answer is yes by habitude while you have not finished it, it is precept violation.

Breaking the precept by making a false speech is an intention to make others believe in or agree on what is being communicated. Once it is believed, listeners will create hopes or thoughts about the made-up stories either positively or negatively. It affects their thoughts and actions causing continuous chain of reactions.

Thoughts are faster than light. Speaking and communicating are also faster than any other expressions. Therefore, be mindful not to break the fourth precept and maintain yourself firmly and perfectly in every fold of the noble path, for doing so, you will not be trapped by the unwholesome karma and your Dhamma will progress. Any actions carried out with absolute mindfulness and consciousness will become the best barrier and self-notification from breaking the precepts.

Master Acharavadee Wongsakon
Source: Selected from Casual Talk on Sunday “The Fourth Precept (abstaining from false speech)” July 12, 2020
Reference: Wikipedia

The Noble Eightfold Path
Sammaditthi is to have Right View or Right Understanding
Sammasankappa is to have Right Thought
Sammavaca is to have Right Speech
Sammakammanta is to have Right Action
Samma-ajiva is to have Right Livelihood
Sammavayama is to have Right Effort
Sammasati is to have Right Mindfulness
Sammasamadhi is to have Right Concentration


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