Right Speech, or sammavacha, is the third step of the Eightfold Path, which is the fourth and last Noble Truth preached by Shakyamuni Buddha. The following is a collection of classic and contemporary views of Right Speech.

“And what, friends, is right speech? Abstaining from false speech, abstaining from malicious speech, abstaining from harsh speech, and abstaining from idle chatter—this is called right speech.”

“And what, bhikkhus, is wrong speech? False speech, malicious speech, harsh speech, and gossip: this is wrong speech.

“And what, bhikkhus, is right speech? Right speech, I say, is twofold: there is right speech that is affected by taints, partaking of merit, ripening on the side of attachment; and there is right speech that is noble, taintless, and supramundane, a factor of the path.

“And what, bhikkhus, is right speech that is affected by taints, partaking of merit, ripening on the side of attachment? Abstinence from false speech, abstinence from malicious speech, abstinence from harsh speech, abstinence from gossip: this is right speech that is affected by taints…on the side of attachment.

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