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Speech like Dung—Bhikkhu Sujato

Numbered Discourses 3

3. Persons

28. Speech like Dung

1.1“These three kinds of people are found in the world. 1.2What three? 1.3One with speech like dung, one with speech like flowers, and one with speech like honey. 1.4And who has speech like dung? 1.5It’s someone who is summoned to a council, an assembly, a family meeting, a guild, or to the royal court, and asked to bear witness: ‘Please, mister, say what you know.’ Not knowing, they say ‘I know.’ Knowing, they say ‘I don’t know.’ Not seeing, they say ‘I see.’ And seeing, they say ‘I don’t see.’ So they deliberately lie for the sake of themselves or another, or for some trivial worldly reason. 1.6This is called a person with speech like dung.

2.1And who has speech like flowers? 2.2It’s someone who is summoned to a council, an assembly, a family meeting, a guild, or to the royal court, and asked to bear witness: ‘Please, mister, say what you know.’ Not knowing, they say ‘I don’t know.’ Knowing, they say ‘I know.’ Not seeing, they say ‘I don’t see.’ And seeing, they say ‘I see.’ So they don’t deliberately lie for the sake of themselves or another, or for some trivial worldly reason. 2.3This is called a person with speech like flowers.

3.1And who has speech like honey? 3.2It’s someone who gives up harsh speech. 3.3They speak in a way that’s mellow, pleasing to the ear, lovely, going to the heart, polite, likable and agreeable to the people. 3.4This is called a person with speech like honey. 3.5These are the three people found in the world.”