This is part 31 of my series on Lojong, a Buddhist mind training technique
Is it true? Is it useful? These are the questions asked when practicing satya (truthfulness) and ahimsa (nonharming) according to Judith Lancaster. This gets at the heart of this slogan as well. To not malign another is to ask ourselves continually if what we are saying, thinking or doing has a good intention. Will it bring harm or will it help to connect to another person? Are we trying to destroy another? Or maybe we are acting from ego and just wish to hear ourselves speak.
When we try to build ourselves up by putting another person down we do not end up feeling good about ourselves. And if we engage in this behaviour when encountering a person who does not, we can end up appearing quite pathetic.
This does not mean that we do not notice another person’s actions. We notice when another is behaving in a way that is not aligned with a higher purpose, we simply do not need to judge it. There are times when we have to stand up for another or ourselves. By practicing this slogan, when we encounter this type of behaviour we will be able to respond in a way that is far more effective, appropriate and direct. We are able to respond not from ego but from a place intended to bring a positive outcome without shaming or bringing harm.