In Week 4 of his Tricycle Retreat, “The Challenge of Change: Living Skillfully in an Uncertain World,” Larry Rosenberg discusses the Buddha’s exchange with his son, Rahula. The exchange concerns skillful speech: Will what I say be beneficial to the person I’m speaking to? And if it turns out that it isn’t, it’s also ok to feel remorse:
It’s good to feel that remorse—now, it’s me talking—it’s not a guilt-trip that the Buddha is laying on us. The remorse should be in the service of seeing your mistake, learning about it, correcting it, and not repeating it again. So it’s in the service of learning. Wisdom is not wise words—simply saying, Plato said, or the Buddha said—it’s life itself. And the final test, the test of whether something is wise or not, is the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Wisdom is something that is alive, or it’s not the real wisdom, it’s just wise words.
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