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Integrating Right View, Right Thought, and Right Speech Into Everyday Life

Right View, Right Thought, and Right Speech are part of The Eightfold Path, which is the path to enlightenment, in Buddhism. It is meant as a guideline for living our lives in a more honest, kinder, more self-aware and more fulfilling way. We can take the principles of Right View, Right Thought, and Right Speech and use them in our daily lives to live a more authentic life.

Right View
Right View encourages us to curtail our relentless need to fulfill our cravings, which can never be filled no matter how long we try. The more we get, the more we want, and the more we suffer, knowing we will never be able to fulfill our increasing desires. When we have the right view about the nature of reality, and no longer seek to fulfill a never-ending appetite for more, we become free from the cycle of suffering.

Right Thought
Right Thought takes into consideration the fact that our thoughts are powerful and determine our mental state—whether we are happy or sad—and, subsequently, our actions. Once we understand this, we engage in right intentions and embrace a life of self-improvement and ethical actions. Committing to a life of prudence, helps us become happier.

Right Speech
Words are powerful. Most of us understand this and know it to be true. Because events, the course of history, and minds can be changed by words, Right Speech encourages us to tell the truth, be polite and courteous in our speech, and not to gossip. By considering the feelings of others when we speak to them, we are bringing them happiness. In so doing, we are bringing ourselves happiness.

Right View, Right Thought, and Right Speech in Daily Life
Right View is paying attention, in our daily lives, to all the things that bring out the best in us. It’s also being aware of those that bring out the worst in us. Choosing the activities and things that bring out the best in us will lead us to peace, freedom, and awareness. With Right View as well, we understand the perceptions and attitudes we once held aren’t accurate and therefore are not useful, so we discard them. It also helps us see things as they are, not as we want them to be.

Right Thought is committing to self-improvement and living ethically on a daily basis with right intentions. The right intentions are: “the intention of renunciation, which means resistance to the pull of desire; the intention of good will, meaning resistance to feelings of anger and aversion; and the intention of harmlessness, meaning not to think or act cruelly, violently, or aggressively, and to develop compassion,” according to Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, by Jennifer Prugh. With right thought we are living more wholesome, kinder, and more compassionate lives.

Right Speech is speaking truthfully, not using words maliciously against others, and not engaging in meaningless talk on a daily basis. Speech should have a purpose, be used for good, and enlighten. With right speech, we choose our words carefully, tell the truth, speak kindly, and speak only when it is necessary.

Making the effort to live each day with Right View, Right Thought, and Right Speech as guide posts, isn’t to be taken lightly. Doing so takes effort and a sincere commitment. Once the commitment is made and the effort is put in, however, the rewards: happiness, self-fulfillment, self-improvement, and acceptance, are great.

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