Sunday, 28 November 2010

Wikileaks, Truth & Right Speech

It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself. ~Thomas Jefferson

So Wikileaks have done it again and are putting America's dirty laundry out for all to see. Wikileaks bases it's raison d'etre on Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states, "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers".

But, in Buddhist terms, are these revelations "Right Speech"? Right, or skillful speech is the third of the eight path factors in the Noble Eightfold Path, it is speech that does not harm another being. "And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, and from idle chatter: This is called right speech."

The key point here is that of divisive speech and does the "fault" lie with those who "spoke" it and/or with those who repeat it? From a Buddhist perspective, intention is all important. Is there an intention to harm in either the original comments or in the reporting of them?

"One should speak only that word by which one would not torment oneself nor harm others. That word is indeed well spoken.

"One should speak only pleasant words, words which are acceptable (to others). What one speaks without bringing evils to others is pleasant."

"Truth is indeed the undying word; this is an ancient verity. Upon truth, the good say, the goal and the teaching are founded."


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