tara thomas

Tara Thomas
Set Designer
Ashland, Oregon
“A lot of people waste so much time talking about others negatively. Why waste your breath?”

Sonam Zoksang
Store Owner
New York, New York
“I have no qualms about speaking good or bad about other people—but always with right intention.”

Jack Miller
Administrator, Stone Mountain Zendo
Roanoke, Virginia
“It’s probably the most difficult precept to keep.”

Zack Spencer
Shipping Manager, Zen Mountain Monastery
Mt. Tremper, New York
“Not all gossip is bad. If harmful things are being done they need to be talked about. When no one knows for sure what is going on and then gossip anyway, that is the kind that’s destructive and hurts people. There are those times when it is needed. It’s a fine line. It is up to the individual.”

Shohaku Okumura Sensei
Head Teacher, Minnesota Zen Meditation Center
Minneapolis, Minnesota
“I am a quiet person. I don’t like to talk about other people. Right speech means not telling a lie, and as Dogen said, not lying is to be one with all people.”

merryMerry Guild
Counselor and Music Teacher
Albuquerque, New Mexico
“Gossip creates psychic pollution.”

wesWes Nisker
Editor, Radio Broadcaster, Teacher
Oakland, California
“Gossip is the unnecessary flapping of the jaw, sometimes fun, but mostly a waste of energy. Right speech is what points to liberation or helps alleviate suffering. In some sense, culture is gossip, and right speech is what cuts through it.”

Gracie Dorman
Health Care Worker
St. Louis, Missouri
“Gossip is subject to the same litmus-Buddhist test as anything else: intention. If the intention is to harm, then it is breaking the precepts. If the intention is to ease social discourse—which so much of it is—then it seems okay. A lot of ‘gossip’ does seem to be a genuine expression of trying to understand people or situations. And as long as it doesn’t turn nasty or vengeful, it’s usually a lot more fun than sticking to some P.C. therapeutic discourse.”

Mary-Anne Miller
Retired Japanese Flower Arranger
Roanoke, Virginia
“It is just human nature to make ourselves better by talking about other people. People do it, families do it, and countries do it. It can be a whole foreign policy. When I conquer that one in my own life I will feel like I’ve really done something. “

markMark Dyke
Family Therapist
Portales, New Mexico
“Gossip is all the chatter in my head that goes on about everybody all the time. Sometimes I say things, sometimes I don’t—it’s all gossip. Right speech would be when I’m willing to simply experience the situation just as it is. Whatever I say in that space will be right.”

arthurArthur Waya Kennedy
Hollywood, California
“It means that I need to put myself in another’s shoes before I open my mouth, and hopefully that will keep me from gossiping.”

annefletcherAnne Seisen Fletcher
Administrator, Zen Mountain Center
Idyllwild, California
“Oh, I don’t have anything to say about that.”

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