How Do We See, Hear, or Speak No Evil?

See, hear speak no evilIs it possible to not see, hear or speak evil in our world?

How do we define evil? Murder, rape, torture and sexual abuse would be on most people’s lists. As would be terrorism. But, is someone evil if they cheat us out of our life savings, or steal our IPADs? How about a parent who demeans her children? Do politicians commit evil acts when focused solely on lining their own pockets? What about the companies that poison our air and water and the ground we need to grow our food? Or those corporations that make automatic weapons, or dump America’s toxic wastes in poor, foreign countries? Here’s another one we can agree on: drug cartels and dealers who have lost their humanity and feed their wealth and power by destroying life.

From Wikipedia on Seeing, Hearing or Speaking No Evil:

  1. “In Japan the proverb is simply regarded as a Japanese Golden Rule. Some simply take the proverb as a reminder not to be snoopy, nosy and gossipy. Early associations of the three monkeys with the fearsome six-armed deity Vajrakilaya link the proverb to the teaching of Buddhism: That if we do not hear, see or talk evil, we ourselves shall be spared all evil. This may be considered similar to the English proverb, “Speak of the devil –and the devil appears.”
  2. Others believe the message is that a person who is not exposed to evil (through sight or sound) will not reflect evil in their own speech and actions.
  3. Today, “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” is commonly used to describe someone who doesn’t want to be involved in a situation, or someone willfully turning a blind eye to the immorality of an act in which they are involved. The Italian version, “Non vedo, non sento, non parlo” (I see nothing, I hear nothing, I say nothing), expresses the Omertà, the local code of silence.
  4. In many interpretations, it can be seen as a way to avoid spreading evil: Do not listen to evil things so they do not influence you. Do not read things that are evil or look upon evil things so they do not influence you. Lastly, do not verbally repeat evil things so they cannot be spread about.”

We must, of course, acknowledge that evil exists. Darkness, destruction, hatred, prejudice, greed, superiority, are facts of life in our world. But we should not focus on the darkness, lest it take us there, which is its purpose. As I understand it, all of life was created by Light but, for whatever the reasons, some entities pulled out of the light, creating darkness. Too proud to head back home, they decided to muck things up and they are doing a darn fine job of it! Above all, is remembering that Light came first and that it rules over the darkness. We each have the power within us to reject the darkness with our Creator’s divine assistance, always freely given when asked for.

But then we must change our own behavior regarding seeing, hearing and speaking evil. We can no longer stir up trouble–we seek solutions and finding them, we become peacemakers. We accept the power of our words and use them wisely and to support, not tear down. We refuse to listen to judgments and negative opinions, because they are likely inaccurate.

We can never effect change by adding to negativity, but we can make the world a better place by being positive. It’s an arduous path, but well worth it, because it profoundly affects the quality of our own life, the lives of those we love and the health of the whole of existence. We have only two choices: Add our energy to the darkness or add it to the Light.


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