An Internal Articulation of Dhamma

Luang Por Pasanno • July 2012

I’ve been noticing something in my speech that I find irritating. It’s my use of filler words such as “like, sort of, um.” I think to myself, Am I getting more and more inarticulate and hopeless with age? Then I listen to other people, and it’s pretty much the same. To break that habit, we can learn to internally compose what we want to say before we speak, rather than fumbling around with “um, ah, sort of, like, er.”

Even worse is the tendency to use speech that is imprecise. This is particularly problematic when it comes to speaking about the Dhamma. Being imprecise about the Dhamma does not benefit the Dhamma. The Dhamma itself is extremely clear, and we should reflect that clarity in our speech. Again, one way to do that is by focusing internally on what we’re about to say before we say it. Not only will this help us compose our thoughts so they are clear, it will also help us uncover any defects that exist in our understanding.

We can encourage ourselves or even encourage each other—if people are open to it—to highlight our speech patterns as a tool for clarifying our own thoughts and for seeing how we express and communicate our ideas to others. The benefit is that internal clarity arises as well as the internal articulation of Dhamma.