Right action: “… Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience …” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

autumn river forest right action

In our recent post – Meet Me Here Where Silence Roars – we suggested living a life where we consciously “… vow to …. not create, and/or add-to, ill-will … be an ongoing source of harmlessness … and live this vow to develop/deepen my humility … which serves me well under all circumstances …”  and that we do this despite the obstacles arising as “unconscious forces – tendencies” that sway us away from such a life.

Of course, the need for – and benefit from – such a way of being is worthwhile at any time … but seems particularly important given the “2020 ongoing mayhem” of COVID, economic collapse, and social unrest.

The above vow is a paraphrased Zen quote that captures parts of the underlying principles of Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path – Right understanding, Right thought, Right speech, Right action, Right livelihood, Right effort, Right mindfulness, Right concentration – particularly the speech and action aspects ….

So, today we briefly explore the Right speech and Right action … but before that …

As we’ve done since the COVID crisis began … we want to honor and highlight the “heroes” that continue to ensure our health and safety in the midst of the pandemic: Go Fund Me has organized various campaigns targeted towards the COVID-19 relief efforts. All of these campaigns are worthy of our attention … but for now we want to highlight TWO critical ones that we are supporting personally and also as Stillness Speaks (through donations):

We are all facing financial challenges but IF your situation allows you to donate and help then …

… please visit  Frontline Responders Fund’s Go Fund Me page … and help deliver crucial supplies to these frontline responders …

… and/or visit  America’s Food Fund Go Fund Me page and help feed the neighbors in need.

America's Food Fund GoFundMe

And, we again, express our deepest gratitude to a) the COVID-19 Frontline Responders (all the healthcare professionals – doctors, nurses, hospital/medical-services staff – firefighters, law enforcement, volunteers, and any/all the people involved in keeping the “system-at-large” functioning for ALL of us) … and b) Go Fund Me for organizing America’s Food Fund to feed the needy.

THANK YOU – our lives would not be possible without your dedication.


And now … back to Buddhism’s Right speech and Right action …

Right Speech

“… we discern how to act morally as we tread between the Oneness that we encounter in meditation and the multifariousness of the world we live in …”

Right speech means “… abstaining from uttering falsehoods, from saying malicious or harsh things, and from engaging in gossip …” which, if practiced consciously and earnestly (e.g., pausing before saying anything) would naturally result in neither creating nor adding to “ill-will” … so here’s Henry Shukman speaking on Right speech in his podcast episode: The Integrity of Our Words – from Mountain Cloud Zen Center.

Right Action

“… Right Action is part of the undertakings that are necessary if we are to pursue the path of awakening …”

Right action means “… abstaining or refraining from causing any harm …” or “… things we can do to generate wellbeing …” which, if practiced consciously and earnestly (e.g., pausing before saying anything) would naturally result in being a “… source of harmlessness … … so here’s Henry Shukman speaking on Right action in his podcast episode: The Reorientation of Intention – from Mountain Cloud Zen Center.


Another important behavioral “practice” is to pause before taking any action or speaking … so we offer an excellent podcast on patience (the “art of wise receptivity”) from Frank Ostaseski (founder of the Metta Institute): Patience, The Practice of Wise Receptivity – from Upaya Zen Center.

— —- —

May you live a life of neither creating nor adding-to any ill-will … and …

May you be patient and a source of harmlessness  …in your daily rhythm and interactions with others … and …

May you remain safe and healthy as you navigate these troubling times.


Opening quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Complete Works, Vol. X. Lectures and Biographical Sketches.
Quote re ill-will and harmlessness: a Zen paraphrased quote – source unknown.
Images: (edited and logo added): Featured and 1) Autumn in the primeval forest. Bieszczady Mountains, Prowcza stream by laszlo111, 2) Snapshot from the Frontline Responder’s Fund GoFundMe page, 3) Snapshot from the America’s Food Fund GoFundMe page, 4) From Dharmatalk: The Integrity of Our Words, 5) Dharmatalk: The Reorientation of Intention, Both 4&5 are Courtesy Mountain Cloud Zen Center. #1 purchased from depositphotos, for use only on our website/social channels (these images are not permitted to be shared separate from this post).


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