Fit to talk?

October 2018 edition

Fit to talk?

Article summary

Talking… talking… talking… endless talking… whether it is in internet… social media or where ever we gather together or via online chatting, we always talking… sometimes these talks guide us to various attachments, sometimes conflictions… sometimes we wish to know who to identify people who fit to talk… sometimes we wish not to talk… somehow this editorial can be your hand guide to identify the people who fit for a talk!


Once the great Samma Sambuddha said people select topics over past, future or present to talk about.  “One may talk about the past, saying, ‘Thus it was in the past.’ One may talk about the future, saying, ‘Thus it will be in the future.’ Or one may talk about now in the present, saying, ‘Thus it is now in the present.’

In such occasion we should identify the person who fit for a fruitful talk.  The blessed one showed few tricks to identify a person who fit to talk!  Let’s see whether we are one of them and are we cable of identifying a proper person to have a proper talk with!

Luckily, I found a proper translation of this sutta.

This sutta is in the Pali Canon > Aṅguttara Nikāya 1 > 3. Tika Nipāta > 3. Maha Vaggo > 07th Sutta (Kathāvatthu Sutta  (AN 3:68)

Let me summarize the sutta’s points for you all; (You can read the full sutta through above link)

A person who is unfit to talk with;

  1. If a person, when asked a question, doesn’t give a categorical answer to a question deserving a categorical answer,
  2. If a person, when asked a question, doesn’t give an analytical (qualified) answer to a question deserving an analytical answer,
  3. If a person, when asked a question, doesn’t give a counter-question to a question deserving a counter-question,
  4. If a person, when asked a question, doesn’t put aside a question deserving to be put aside,
  5. If a person, when asked a question, doesn’t stay in touch with the question which asked and talk nonsense & irrelevant,
  6. If a person, when asked a question, doesn’t stand by what is possible and impossible,
  7. If a person, when asked a question, doesn’t stand by agreed-upon assumptions,
  8. If a person, when asked a question, doesn’t stand by teachings known to be true,
  9. If a person, when asked a question, doesn’t stand by standard procedure,
  10. If a person, when asked a question, wanders from one thing to another, pulls the discussion off the topic, shows anger & aversion and sulks,
  11. If a person, when asked a question, puts down (the questioner), crushes him, ridicules him, grasps at his little mistakes,
  12. If a person when asked a question, make fun of the person who asked and the question,

…then—that being the case—he is a person unfit to talk with.

The blessed one further explained;

 “Monks, it’s through his way of participating in a discussion that a person can be known as drawing near or not drawing near. One who lends ear draws near; one who doesn’t lend ear doesn’t draw near. Drawing near, one clearly knows one quality, comprehends one quality, abandons one quality, and realizes one quality.

Clearly knowing one quality, comprehending one quality, abandoning one quality, and realizing one quality, one touches right release. For that’s the purpose of discussion, that’s the purpose of counsel, that’s the purpose of drawing near, that’s the purpose of lending ear: The whole purpose is the liberation of the mind through lack of clinging/sustenance, and always a fruitful topic will be one of that”

As a summary to the whole topic we discussed here, the Blessed one further added these noble words;

“Those who discuss when angered, dogmatic, arrogant, following what’s not the noble ones’ way, seeking to expose each other’s faults, delight in each other’s         misspoken word, slip, stumble, defeat….

Noble ones don’t speak in that way!

If wise people, knowing the right time, want to speak, then, words connected with justice, following the ways of the noble ones: That’s what the enlightened ones speak, without anger or arrogance, with a mind not boiling over, without vehemence, without spite. Without envy they speak from right knowledge. They would delight in what’s well-said and not criticize what’s not.
They don’t listen to find fault, don’t grasp at little mistakes. don’t put down, don’t crush, don’t speak random words. For the purpose of knowledge, for the purpose of (inspiring) clear confidence, guidance that’s true: That’s how noble ones give direction. That’s the noble ones’ guidance. Knowing this, the wise one should give guidance without arrogance.

So, hope these interesting facts are helpful for you to find out the person who fit to talk and have a fruitful discussion with. And also to be a one for others too!

Have a blessed time dear dhamma friends!

Rajitha Viduransi | Kelaniya, Sri Lanka