Well spoken words (pro.corbis.com)
"Yes, lord," the monastics replied.
"Monastics, speech endowed with four characteristics is well spoken, not poorly spoken — faultless and not to be faulted by the wise. What four?
"In one case, a monastic says only what is well spoken, not what is poorly spoken. In a second case, only what is just, not what is unjust. In a third case, only what is endearing, not what is unendearing. In a fourth case, only what is true, not what is untrue.
"Speech endowed with these four characteristics is well spoken, not poorly spoken — faultless and not to be faulted by the wise."
The Buddha went on to summarize:
And encourage one to say
What is just, not unjust
What is endearing, not unendearing
What is true, not untrue.
"What inspiration, Vangisa?" the Blessed One asked.
Vangisa then praised the Buddha in verse:
That neither torments one
Nor harms another --
For that speech is indeed well spoken!
Utter only endearing speech,
Speech which is welcome --
For speech that brings no harm
Is indeed pleasing!
Truth, indeed, is deathless speech:
This is an ancient principle.
Nirvana and the Dharma
-- So say the calm --
Are firmly established in truth!
What speech the Blessed One utters
For attaining the goal
To this entire mass of suffering --
Is, indeed, unexcelled speech!