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Lojong 29) Don't malign others. (Do not gossip either good or bad.)

6. Commitments (21-36)

29) Don't malign others. (Do not gossip either good or bad.)

My Twitter post from practicaldharma was stated as: 29) Don't malign others. (Do not gossip either good or bad. Even talking about someone's good traits, sets the occasion for negative gossip)

So what is there to talk about. I could talk about my stuff or other people's stuff, but this only reinforces my attachment to those things. I think it is possible to talk with others about social connections, without it being in the form of gossip. I can tell when my talk begins to slide toward maligning others, but I have a harder time catching it before it gets to that point. That is why some talk about others, even if it starts out "good" has the potential to slide into maligning someone.

I think the key for me is to maintain a positive outlook on all others and their motivations. If I assume good motives and innocent actions on the behalf of others, I am less likely to slip into maligning anyone. My conversation naturally, flows to other content about the issue I'm discussing as opposed to the personality, motives, interests, etc, of others.

I find this particularly challenging when it relates to certain political figures, for example. I confess, I have said some bad things about former dictator and war criminal (... whoops, I mean former President) George Bush. You notice, I caught myself before I went off on a rant.

What should we say about individuals like Joseph Stalin, Adolph Hitler, Mao Tse-Tung, etc? Should I assume their motives where good.  E.g. "He was just trying to eliminate terrorism the way he thought was right?".

Is the following quote contradictory to Lojong 29):

"Evils that befall the world are not nearly so often caused by bad men, as they are by good men who are silent when an opinion must be voiced."

Det. Steve Thomas Harris
Quoted by Lawrence Schiller in Perfect Murder, Perfect Town (1999)
ISBN: 9780061096969

I wonder where this quote originally came from?

Lojong 29 is a challenge, but in everyday life and with our casual acquaintances; it is easier to see its merit.

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