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Swearing - why not?

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Swearing - why not? Pål 1/16/15 10:46 AM
RE: Swearing - why not? . Jake . 1/16/15 10:58 AM
RE: Swearing - why not? Psi 1/16/15 11:54 AM
RE: Swearing - why not? Alin Mathews 1/17/15 12:46 AM
RE: Swearing - why not? Psi 1/17/15 11:59 AM
RE: Swearing - why not? Eva Nie 1/16/15 12:22 PM
RE: Swearing - why not? Bill F. 1/16/15 1:40 PM
RE: Swearing - why not? Dada Kind 1/16/15 3:48 PM
RE: Swearing - why not? Pål 1/16/15 4:06 PM
RE: Swearing - why not? Andreas 1/16/15 5:16 PM
RE: Swearing - why not? Jenny 1/17/15 12:08 AM
RE: Swearing - why not? Pål 1/17/15 4:33 AM
RE: Swearing - why not? Ryan J 1/20/15 8:25 PM
RE: Swearing - why not? George Wells 1/20/15 8:51 PM
RE: Swearing - why not? Pål 1/21/15 2:28 AM
RE: Swearing - why not? . Jake . 1/21/15 10:12 AM
RE: Swearing - why not? Pål 1/21/15 11:38 PM
RE: Swearing - why not? Bill F. 1/21/15 11:50 PM
RE: Swearing - why not? Pål 1/22/15 2:19 AM
RE: Swearing - why not? CJMacie 1/22/15 8:10 AM
RE: Swearing - why not? . Jake . 1/22/15 8:23 AM
RE: Swearing - why not? Bill F. 1/22/15 12:19 PM
RE: Swearing - why not? Pål 1/22/15 4:52 PM
RE: Swearing - why not? Not Tao 2/11/15 8:24 AM
RE: Swearing - why not? Pål 2/11/15 12:15 PM
RE: Swearing - why not? Not Tao 2/11/15 12:40 PM
RE: Swearing - why not? Eva Nie 2/11/15 12:51 PM
RE: Swearing - why not? Not Tao 2/11/15 1:05 PM
RE: Swearing - why not? Pål 2/11/15 1:25 PM
RE: Swearing - why not? Andreas 1/21/15 5:45 AM
RE: Swearing - why not? Psi 1/21/15 2:12 PM
RE: Swearing - why not? Psi 1/21/15 2:17 PM
Swearing - why not?
Answer
1/16/15 10:46 AM
Why do many buddhists count swearing to wring speech? (How) does it affect meditation practice? Are some swear words worse than others? Are there certain circumstances where it matters more or less?

RE: Swearing - why not?
Answer
1/16/15 10:58 AM as a reply to Pål.
1) I don't know, good question. Who cares?
2) I can't fathom why it possibly would.
3) Yes. Didn't you go to grade school lol? Surely you learned all this when you were a kid...? The F word is much worse than the S word, for starters. Personally I wouldn't be *too* upset if a teacher told me my son used either of those words, but if I heard him say 'faggot' or 'n_____' we would have a heart-to-heart. So, clearly it's subjective and inter-subjective, but yes of course some are worse than others.
4) Ummm yeah, job interviews are probably not the best place... at your kid's parent-teacher conference also probably a no-no... in front of kids under four or five or on a case by case basis according to the principle "do they know the appropriate circumstances to repeat/not repeat these words? do they understand how people will view them for using these words?" if you can answer 'no' to either question, then not in front of the kids lol. I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

In short, yeah "why not?"

RE: Swearing - why not?
Answer
1/16/15 11:54 AM as a reply to Pål.
Pål:
Why do many buddhists count swearing to wring speech? (How) does it affect meditation practice? Are some swear words worse than others? Are there certain circumstances where it matters more or less?
To no one,

Well, let's look at this, and ask ourselves some questions.

If one swears, are they angry?

If one swears was it do to a conscious word choice, or an instinctual word choice?

Does swearing bother or agitate other people around you?

Is swearing a professional type of speech, or a sign of emotional immaturity?

Can one get over their own ego and stop swearing?  If one can not stop swearing, then they can not control their speech, if one can not control their speech, it is very likely they can not master their mind.  For first there is a sensation, then a thought, then speech.

Does this sound like preaching to you, are you taking what is written here personal?  If yes, then go to the Ego check in locker.  If no, then move on to wisdom and insight.

Do I personally swear, or still swear?  Yes, occasionaly.  I see it as an impersonal instinctive reaction, an impurity of mindfulness. 

What about in the past? Why yes, I used to swear, violently at times even, but no good ever came of it.

Recognition, No blame , and change.  Move on, moment to moment.

I think swearing is just another practice point method.  See if you can stop swearing conciously for a 24 hour period, everytime you slip up even internal verbally swearing and external vocal swearing. One should gain the insight of the impersonal and machine like nature of their mind.  For if you were truly a self and in control, one would be able to just stop swearing immediatly if they chose to, and never have the issue arise again.  But, that is not the way the mind works, hence the gradual training.

Am I preaching or telling anyone to not swear?  No, do what you want, do what you think is wise.  Swear if you think it makes you look tough or funny, it is good ego support, it will help one to always cling and crave the self delusion...

I think sometimes people mix up abhorrance of religious institutions and the idea of free thinking and free speech and swear just to show freedom, but it is a paradox, another ego trick..  The opposite, wishing everyone peace and goodwill seems so mushy. 

@Pal  Swearing  -  Why?

Psi

P.S.  It is actually kind of hard for me to not put in a few cuss words and make jokes of all this, lol @ self  

RE: Swearing - why not?
Answer
1/16/15 12:22 PM as a reply to Pål.
The whole concept of some sounds/words being 'bad' is an interesting one but as far as I've seen, all languages have some words/sounds that have been so designated.  I suspect that humans have certain emotions/feelings/energies that at times will want to be expressed and so some words have been designated for those feelings.  But if used a lot, the feeling behind the words tends to get watered down.  The more another person is uncomfortable with that feeling/energy, the more offended that person might be hearing words that are designated to symbolize the feeling.  The fact that most of these words tend to be sex or parental lineage related is also interesting when you think about it.
-Eva

RE: Swearing - why not?
Answer
1/16/15 1:40 PM as a reply to Pål.
Right speech is said to be "true", "useful", and "kind". In some situations these are in the eye of the beholder, but there are some words, like derogatory hate words that Jake cited above, that are almost always not "true", "useful", or "kind". As for words like fuck and damn and shit, or even motherfucker, context is everything. If you use those words in a way that furthers harm, by externalizing the pain you are feeling inside you are not noticing the painful nature of your own ignorance/anger, and this is its own negative karma. That you spread that to someone else is also its own negative karma as it is another moment of separation and dissasociation. I am not saying the expression of anger is always bad. Having spent the majority of my professional career working in mental health with teens and children with behavioral and mental health issues I know that at times I would speak in a stern, impassioned voice because I wanted to express the gravity of a situation at hand. I often internally felt calm during these circumstances but it seemed most skillfull to present as impassioned, stern and as upset but in control, and it worked in a way that a lacksadaisical calm tone of voice probably would not have.
You could say "please pass me the ketchup", but if said in a wrong tone of voice that condescends then that is wrong speech. People who blanket all swear words as wrong speech are probably the same people who insisnt on going to church every Sunday, and then spend the whole service judging the other congregants quietly in their head. Religion as external, no room for intention or context. You may even be one of those people. I hope not for the sake of your happiness. It is not the outside of appearance of words, but the context in which they are said and how open we are to the way that they are/might be received.
Side note: I still struggle with this in my personal life. I tend towards being direct at times in a way that does not fully acknowledge the recipients perspective. I'm working on it.

RE: Swearing - why not?
Answer
1/16/15 3:48 PM as a reply to Pål.
The time you spend worrying about this could be used towards other purposes, like volunteering at soup kitchens. Moral opportunity cost.

RE: Swearing - why not?
Answer
1/16/15 4:06 PM as a reply to Pål.
I've been thinking that maybe I should stop swearing since I've heard monks say that if you can't control your mouth, you'll never control your mind. But then, I'm not sure if jhana (the heart of the path) really is about controlling anything at all... This is kind of paradoxal to me, controling and letting go.

RE: Swearing - why not?
Answer
1/16/15 5:16 PM as a reply to Pål.
There are no bad words only bad usecases, the intent is what gives words meaning. Like calling someone a fucking cunt in a derogatory fashion in a store vs part of a roleplaying act in the bedroom. Also one can be very hateful and demeaning but only say the nicest things.

RE: Swearing - why not?
Answer
1/17/15 12:08 AM as a reply to Pål.
Because swearing is generally "harsh speech." Words are not magical in themselves, or so I used to think. Or are they? 

First, what Psi said. Thanks for saving me a ton of typing. 

Regardless of specific situational context, our entire culture treats some words (swear words) as inflammatory. They have that force, even--maybe especially--when used habitually, in the watered down way.

It really is a matter of practicing mindfulness: Body, Mind, and Speech. As I was saying in my killing-insects thread, it is not so much some positivist notion of moral code for its own sake that is at stake here. It is more about the habits you are writing on your mind. If you blurt out the F work whenever you burn your hand with spilled freshly brewed coffee, as I did today, then you have missed some opportunities for noticing and insight. Instead you have reacted in knee-jerk fashion and probably annoyed those around you. 

It is an interesting exercise: Instead of killing that bug, take it outside and free it. See how that changes your mind, writes something different from killing and aversion onto it. Instead of all the little white lies you tell, try to go 24 hours without habitually lying. Observe what that does. Try to give up swearing for a week. Notice. Run the experiement, and see rather than asking others why something is "good," "bad," or "indifferent."

Unskillful speech is actually a main area of practice for me, because I tend to swear like a sailor. But as others say, nothing good usually comes of it, and plenty bad does. My spouse is a straight up skeptic-atheist, but he never swears and is almost always calm and peaceable. I suspect that there is a reason.

Incidentally, as most know, I'm editing MCTB2, and unskillful speech is going to come up as an issue, especially when we get to the rants against Western Buddhism. I've also noticed that Daniel, in his writing, is sometimes given to exaggeration, overstatement, and I usually convince him to pull back off that stuff--not so much because it is technically "Wrong Speech," which it is, but because that kind of shortcut rhetoric makes the whole collection of statements feel inaccurate, when what we are going for is credibility. Not pollyanna niceness, but credibility. 

As for swearing, Daniel in MCTB does so sparingly. He doesn't do so at all in email messages or most (all?) posts of his I read. Here are the few instances in MCTB2:

"As my friend Kenneth, who has a gift for precise language and teaching, so aptly put it,

The Dark Night can really fuck up your life.
I would warn such people to stay the fuck out of the Dark Night until they come to a place where they might be able to approximate at least some aspects of the above-mentioned resolution. . . . 
Again quoting Kenneth,
Don't fuck up.

And my favorite, in the quirky (useless?) index, which Daniel did himself, which someone really ought to talk him out of doing again:
Fucking up your life 184
Eight mild instances of "damn" are in the book. Eleven angry-ranty instances of "shit," with apologies in one place for swearing but with the reason (excuse?) of conveying "gritty emotional honesty."

I don't feel inclined to edit any of these out, but I couldn't tell you why I feel like leaving them intact, exactly, considering all I say above. Maybe it is just that, since I need to work on this habit myself, who am I to edit out the Arahat's cussing storms?

This said, I do think Daniel leans a bit too heavily on "emotional honesty" as an excuse for some of the ranting and hyperbole.

Thoughts? =)

RE: Swearing - why not?
Answer
1/17/15 12:46 AM as a reply to Psi.
Psi:
[quote=
]

Do I personally swear, or still swear?  Yes, occasionaly.  I see it as an impersonal instinctive reaction, an impurity of mindfulness. 


Swearing is not an instinctive reaction, the emotion driving it is. Instincts are inborn patterns of behavior performed without prior experience (that is, in the absence of learning) and are therefore expressions of innate biological factors. there is no mindfulness until the human condition is fully and correctly understood. 

RE: Swearing - why not?
Answer
1/17/15 4:33 AM as a reply to Jenny.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an08/an08.041.vaka.html 

I'm probably stating the obvious but there is the possibility Daniel and Kenneth are probably only arahants in the Mahasi sense,  which is not necessarily the same as what the Buddha meant with arahant, unless the dhamma has changed. Maybe these things only where true 2000 years ago, I don't know, but it's good to question authority.

/uncurable exoteric ;)

RE: Swearing - why not?
Answer
1/17/15 11:59 AM as a reply to Alin Mathews.
Alin Mathews:
Psi:
[quote=
]

Do I personally swear, or still swear?  Yes, occasionaly.  I see it as an impersonal instinctive reaction, an impurity of mindfulness. 


Swearing is not an instinctive reaction, the emotion driving it is. Instincts are inborn patterns of behavior performed without prior experience (that is, in the absence of learning) and are therefore expressions of innate biological factors. there is no mindfulness until the human condition is fully and correctly understood. 
You got me, I made an error, you are correct, though I would call a growl an instinctual reaction in a dog, and blurting , "F... You" an instinctual reaction in a human.  Just a different form of a growl, one human sound waves and the other canine sound waves.

So, perhaps better defined,  swearing is usually the verbalizing of an impersonal instinctive reaction, say when one burns their hand, and says, "Gosh Dandy!"  lol

But, I suppose, sometimes one swears to make a point, consciously, or at least it seems so.  Or one may swear just to fit in with group speech.

But , what does the statement below even mean?

Alin Mathews
 there is no mindfulness until the human condition is fully and correctly understood. 
WT....?  emoticon

Edit:

Hey Alin, I apologize for being a smartass, but I really don't understand what you mean about the mindfulness statement.
No matter...

Peace

Psi

RE: Swearing - why not?
Answer
1/20/15 8:25 PM as a reply to Pål.
What a great fucking question! To be honest, I don't know shit, but most humans are extremely fucking concerned with appearing to have no shit stains on their persona. It is absolutely fucking imperative that they do not look like the loosely hanging, dangling douchebag who isn't appeasing group-fucking-dynamics. I don't mean like a literal group-fucking, otherwise known as an orgy, but metaphuckingphorically. God forbid one motherfucker violates the unwritten rules like, "Talk super fucking slow so you bore the shit out of everyone with how spiritual you sound." Or, "Make sure to treat everyone like they're in kindergarten because they can't handle the slightest offense to the great imperial religion of political correctness even if it's otherwise harmful to their maturation as a dignified human fucking being."

Absofuckignlutely are different swear words worse than others. Some are so bad, I won't write them here, the racist ones. Fuck is typically #1 or #2 behind cunt and the racist ones. I'm a little worried about writing cunt here, that's just how bad a word it is. But you asked, and so you shall receive. Shit doesn't have shit on these 2. Bitch and bastard are also nono's. Bitch has a qualitatively worse aura as a word for me than bastard, in Buddhist circles, which really ought to be called out for what they are, politically correct American liberal handouts (lol autocorrect, hangouts, however I bet that's the most offensive thing in my post considering the demographics of this site.) with meditation. See David Chapman for an amazing fucking analysis of this, otherwise known as consensus buddhism.

For me, swearing has about a .000000001% effect on my practice. This is drastically less than the following influences in order:
1) The fear of death
2) The fear of social exclusion
3) My current health
4) Blah blah fucking blah
5) Existential uncertainty
...

10,420,203) Swearing

For the record, I don't actually swear that much. But I also am not averse to swearing, either. This gets into the topic of what is offensive. For a good talk on this, see Christopher Hitchens talk about free speech and political correctness and who gets to decide what is offensive: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z2uzEM0ugY

Have a great fucking day! May you meditate with tremendous badass skill.

RE: Swearing - why not?
Answer
1/20/15 8:51 PM as a reply to Ryan J.
Ryan Kenneth Johnson:
What a great fucking question! To be honest, I don't know shit, but most humans are extremely fucking concerned with appearing to have no shit stains on their persona. It is absolutely fucking imperative that they do not look like the loosely hanging, dangling douchebag who isn't appeasing group-fucking-dynamics.

That was copulatingly funny.

RE: Swearing - why not?
Answer
1/21/15 2:28 AM as a reply to Ryan J.
"For me, swearing has about a .000000001% effect on my practice. "

How do you know for sure? 

RE: Swearing - why not?
Answer
1/21/15 5:45 AM as a reply to Ryan J.
Ryan that post is something I could have written myself. Totally agree.

RE: Swearing - why not?
Answer
1/21/15 10:12 AM as a reply to Pål.
Pål:
"For me, swearing has about a .000000001% effect on my practice. "

How do you know for sure? 

Why don't you just experiment with it and see what comes of it for yourself.
Clearly some folks think it's important and other folks don't. I'm not sure anyone is going to convince anyone else.
Just remember, if you do the experiment and derive benefit from it, you've proved that it provided benefit... to you. It still isn't generalizable into the rule  "practitioners shouldn't sear". Just the act of bringing mindfulness to speach is going to be beneficial. So it would still be tough to conclude that the benefit actually came from stopping swearing.

RE: Swearing - why not?
Answer
1/21/15 2:12 PM as a reply to Pål.
Pål:
Why do many buddhists count swearing to wring speech? (How) does it affect meditation practice? Are some swear words worse than others? Are there certain circumstances where it matters more or less?
Well, if you want a more scientific answer, because, swearing invokes an involuntary emotional response in most humans.  Now, it would be unwholesome and uncompassionate to go around invoking unpleasant emotional responses in most humans.  Basically, it is unskillful, inconsiderate of other's limbic systems , and such.  Swearing could be likened to walking around beating on pots and pans all day, now is that considered skillfull or unskillful?

The following excerpt is from Steven Pinker

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Pinker

The full transcript is in this link:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/389762/Steven-Pinker-What-the-Fuck-Why-We-Curse

The small excerpt I chose:

The mammalian brain contains, among other things, the limbic system, an ancient network thatregulates motivation and emotion, and the neocortex, the crinkled surface of the brain thatballooned in human evolution and which is the seat of perception, knowledge, reason, andplanning. The two systems are interconnected and work together, but it seems likely thatwords' denotations are concentrated in the neocortex, especially in the left hemisphere,whereas their connotations are spread across connections between the neocortex and thelimbic system, especially in the right hemisphere.

A likely suspect within the limbic system is the amygdala, an almond-shaped organ buried atthe front of the temporal lobe of the brain (one on each side) that helps invest memories withemotion. A monkey whose amygdalas have been removed can learn to recognize a new shape,like a striped triangle, but has trouble learning that the shape foreshadows an unpleasant eventlike an electric shock. In humans, the amygdala "lights up"--it shows greater metabolic activityin brain scans--when the person sees an angry face or an unpleasant word, especially a taboo word.

The response is not only emotional but involuntary. It's not just that we don't have earlids toshut out unwanted sounds. Once a word is seen or heard, we are incapable of treating it as asquiggle or noise; we reflexively look it up in memory and respond to its meaning, including itsconnotation. The classic demonstration is the Stroop effect, found in every introductorypsychology textbook and the topic of more than four thousand scientific papers. People areasked to look through a list of letter strings and to say aloud the color of the ink in which eachone is printed. Try it with this list, saying "red," "blue," or "green" for each item in turn from leftto right:

redbluegreenbluegreenred 

Easy. But this is much, much, harder:

redbluegreenbluegreenred 

The reason is that, among literate adults, reading a word is such an over-learned skill that it has
become mandatory: You can't will the process "off," even when you don't want to read thewords but only pay attention to the ink. That's why you're helped along when theexperimenters arrange the ink into a word that also names its color and slowed down whenthey arrange it into a name for a different color. A similar thing happens with spoken words aswell. Now try naming the color of the ink in each of these words:

cuntshitfucktitspissasshole

 The psychologist Don MacKay has done the experiment and found that people are indeedslowed down by an involuntary boggle as soon as the eyes alight on each word. The upshot isthat a speaker or writer can use a taboo word to evoke an emotional response in an audiencequite against their wishes. Thanks to the automatic nature of speech perception, an expletivekidnaps our attention and forces us to consider its unpleasant connotations. That makes all of us vulnerable to a mental assault whenever we are in earshot of other speakers, as if we werestrapped to a chair and could be given a punch or a shock at any time. And this, in turn, raisesthe question of what kinds of concepts have the sort of unpleasant emotional charge that canmake words for them taboo.

Psi

RE: Swearing - why not?
Answer
1/21/15 2:17 PM as a reply to Psi.
The link to Steven Pinker video explaining WTF, Why we swear....




http://www.openculture.com/2012/08/steven_pinker_explains_the_neuroscience_of_swearing.html




Psi

RE: Swearing - why not?
Answer
1/21/15 11:38 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
If I were to stop swearing for a period of time and see what it does to the practice, how long do you think would be enough to see results? Would a week be enough?

I don't think swearing is as bad here in sweden since most swear words has to do with the devil rather than sex and insults.

RE: Swearing - why not?
Answer
1/21/15 11:50 PM as a reply to Pål.
Most people suggest that within 7, 7.5 hours they notice they are able to hit hard jhanas simply by inclination. But I don't know if they're to be believed. They might still be cursing behind closed doors, or at themselves when they make a wrong turn.

RE: Swearing - why not?
Answer
1/22/15 2:19 AM as a reply to Bill F..
I am serious. 

RE: Swearing - why not?
Answer
1/22/15 8:10 AM as a reply to Pål.
re: Pål(1/21/15 11:38 PM as a reply to . Jake .. )
"I don't think swearing is as bad here in sweden since most swear words has to do with the devil rather than sex and insults."


Maybe 'swearing' is like 'cursing', in the sense of wishing bad (ametta?) on someone, as in, in s/w dated language: "May the Devil take you!" Probably the history too behind things like "Damn it!" and obviously in "God damn it!" Also used in non-negative senses, like "good grief," which comes from "God's grief", probably referring to Christ's Passion; or "Du lieber Himmel!" (German for "Dear Heavens!").

That's being confused here with what's called 'vulgar' language – which also has artistic uses, as in the writing of William Buroughs, who was, among other things, as sort of James Joyce of drug street life.

RE: Swearing - why not?
Answer
1/22/15 8:23 AM as a reply to Pål.
Pål:
If I were to stop swearing for a period of time and see what it does to the practice, how long do you think would be enough to see results? Would a week be enough?

I don't think swearing is as bad here in sweden since most swear words has to do with the devil rather than sex and insults.

Just try it and see. There's only one way to find out. It sounds like you really want to try it. Why not just try it?

Once a long time ago I was hanging out with a buddy and we met this hippy couple. They had committed to only using positive language. Like, literally, they would not say 'no', they had to say yes or an otherwise positive response. It was hilarious watching them torture themselves this way and moreover the whole thing was so obviously based on negativity that the irony was striking.

Anyhow I'm not saying that's what you're doing. I'm just saying: a million different things could be going on. methods, especially in the 'morality' realm, can very easily serve shadowy purposes under the surface.

If you apply a method, do so open-mindedly, and have self-honesty about the effects you observe in your experience. Try it out and see what comes of it. Remember that there are many factors involved and with this experiment in particular, the fact of bringing mindfulness to speech may be more significant than the behavioral changes. Or it may not. That's the keeping an open mind part! Even if it 'works' you may never know how or why. So what?

One more story. When my ex and I became pregnant with our son, I stopped swearing. It took those several months of pregnancy to change the habit completely. For the first three or four years of his life my new habit was so deeply ingrained that in a roomful of guys drinking whiskey and playing cards i would say things like "darn it, that's messed up! Gee wiz!". Talk about wrong speech! Thankfully now the boy has enough social awareness that I don't have to be 100% responsible for his behavior on this front anymore.

RE: Swearing - why not?
Answer
1/22/15 12:19 PM as a reply to Pål.
I apologize. I thought you were kidding as it did not seem feasible that Jake, having never met you, could give you a specific time frame or quantify usefulness of dropping swearing. 

RE: Swearing - why not?
Answer
1/22/15 4:52 PM as a reply to Bill F..
Without ever having met you and assuming you don't have any injuries and haven't been lifting for more than maybe 2 years I can almost guarantee that if you lift weights with proper form using a program like Starting Strength and eat and sleep enough you'll get stronger and you'll notice it. 

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/strengthtraining.html

I have noticed that small changes in for example protein intake can affect strength gains a lot.

that way not swearing can be an important  detail in ones verbal diet.

RE: Swearing - why not?
Answer
2/11/15 8:24 AM as a reply to Pål.
Pal, in all of our discussions over the past few months, you seem to be missing a key point.  This is YOUR mind that you're working with.  It's not bad to ask questions about methods or ideas, but in the end, no one will ever be able to tell you what's correct better than you.  When people give you advice, they are trying to help personalize the Buddha's teaching for you based on their experience, so most of the time there won't be sutta references.

So to practice correctly, you can't just apply things mechanically, following each step as it's written, and expect to get the results.  For example, if I'm remembering correctly, Starting Strength gives you a chart of how much to raise the weight each week.  If you were to follow that mechanically without paying attention to your own body, you'd probably end up hurting yourself, no?  With weight lifting, first you have to figure out how much weight you can lift, then you have to figure out how much your own body will change each week and allow you to increase weight.  I'm fairly sure there is an instruction in there saying that if you can't make it to a certain number of reps with good form, don't raise the weight.  The Buddha has the same kinds of qualifiers in the suttas.  He tells you to be your own refuge.  He tells you he can only show you how to build the raft, but it's up to you to cross the river.

When you first read the Starting Strength manual and practiced with it, didn't you develop confidence in the method because you understood what was happening?  They give you a bit of science and a bit of guiding and show you how to figure out your own body.  Think of the suttas this way.  If you are learning more about yourself and feeling more confident about what you need to do to become the person you want to be, then they are a great resource for you.  If you only feel confused or you feel like you have to follow rules that make no sense, then they are just another hinderance.  I'm sure you've read the bodybuilding forums where everyone has their special supplements or routines that they use and swear by.  These are like the commentaries and other meditation guides - or even the other religions like hinduism.  The main difference with bodybuilding is that you can actually see other people's results.  If you don't believe them, you can just ask them how much they squat, haha.  You coukd even watch them do it.  With mental development, there's no way to know how a person feels aside from their personality.  So you'll never be satisfied trying to find proof for what works.

In terms of right speech, instead of looking at it like the 10 commandments, look at the spirit of what the Buddha is saying.  If swearing comes from hatred or a desire to belittle someone, if it offends someone around you or makes them feel unpleasant, if it's an inappropriate time, if it doesn't help you spread the dhamma or create the conditions for another person to progress on their own path, then don't do it.  The reason why is more important than the rule - right speech helps create the "tranquility of blamelessness" so you are no longer distracted by guilt or restlessness.  If you are conflicted about your relationships with other people, how can examine yourself honestly?

Just as a closing, it's good to remember that Buddhism - or even meditation in general - is a living tradition.  If you go on those bodybuilding forums and see all those people getting real results, you can get a lot of inspiration.  There are all these people, each of them doing different things, each of them getting results, so you can parse through and figure out the general ideas in between all the conflicting advice.  With anything mental, this is harder (impossible) to do because, end of the day, you really have nothing to show for all your effort.  Maybe you become a bit nicer or a bit easier to talk to, but most of the reward is internal.  In spite of this, it's a mistake to approach things with the idea that one teaching (the Buddha's) is somehow the only legitimate one, and everyone else is lost, wandering some other completely different path.  The evidence, upon reading between different meditation manuals, is that there is a common thrust to the teachings.  A common set of experiences and goals and changes people talk about.  Many of them have a lot of certainty and conflict each other, but you can go around that and find the guts of the teachings to be similar.

So I guess what I'm saying is try to find some faith in yourself and your own judgements, and try to understand this process in a less religious way.  Think of it like bodybuilding.  It's something a lot of people do and have success with.  People also have different goals and different practices.  Think of all the different body shapes and genetics and diet differences involved.  End of the day, though, they're all lifting weights and they're all building muscle mass.  Try to find that core in the meditation teachings for yourself, and then use it to get the results you want.

P.s. I hope I'm not annoying with all these inspiriational posts I fire at you, haha.  I just see a lot of my old conflicted self in your posts, so I feel compelled to give advice. emoticon

RE: Swearing - why not?
Answer
2/11/15 12:15 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Actually I never followed Starting Strength. I improvised with inspiration from here and there the first like 2-3 years of strength training, got myself injured (I still can't press stuff upwards) and then finally I started learning how the body works and saw nice gains.
I encountered Starting Strength about a year ago though and understood that if I'd followed that from the start I would have been much stronger by now, and probably free from injuries.

I used to improvise with meditation for years too, in my early teens, very unregularly and got a few slightly weird experiences. I thought I knew the basics of meditation, focusing on an object and so on, but the more I read about it the more unsure abut what meditation really is I became. Especially the books "An open heart" and "Love" by the Dalai Lama made me completely confused about what meditation is and what might lead to what.
What was described in those books was so completely different from the scanning and noting stuff I had tried. I stopped completely out of confusion (and because of the mid-teens haha). Sounds like you have a very clear picture of what meditation is. 

So last year I decided to pick up meditation again. I thought that if I do exactly what the Buddha said then it sure must be meditation. And I don't want to waste time or injure myself out of ignorance like I did with lifting, so I go straight to the source that has the most cred, the Buddha. Anapanasati=squats. 

whatever I just want real stream-entry so I'm safe from lower realms. 

RE: Swearing - why not?
Answer
2/11/15 12:40 PM as a reply to Pål.
That makes sense, too.  A lot of sense, really.

So you have this goal - stream entry.  What exactly does that mean?  Also, why do you think it will allow you to be free from the hells?  Can you know any of this for sure?

If there's one thing that seems fairly certain with Buddhism, across all the traditions as well as in the suttas, it's that the view of self is what needs to change. If we set aside the idea of "no-self" and simply say "freedom from clinging to the aggregates" - I think this gives you a very clear path of practice that still lines up with the results and the recommendations from the other traditions.  Maybe it could be your litmus test.  Whenever you have doubts, simply ask yourself, "does this method or practice lead me away from clinging to the aggregates?"

In terms of swearing - how do you feel when you swear?  The cause of swearing seems to be twofold.  On one hand it can be used to express aversion or demonstrate ill-will.  This is clinging to sensual desires - something in the sensory sphere has gone out of control, and by expressing your anger, you're attempting to wrestle control back.  On the other hand, people will swear to bolster their outward appearance.  Swearing is a coded message, a broken taboo to demonstrate a disreguard for conventions. This is clinging to form, trying to maintain an impermanent reputation - if even on a subtle level.  When you let go of both of these things, there is less suffering.  Some people swear out of habit, the words are completely drained of their meaning, but even then they aren't drained of meaning for other people, so swearing by them will trigger the same clinging reaction processes.  In doing this, they may respond in a way that causes new aversions to arise in you.

Now, as a counter to all that, many people intentionally DON'T swear as a coded message to convey their moral superiority.  In this way, they are clinging to their impermanent reputation in the same way a person who swears regularly on purpose is.

Doesn't all this seem like such a waste of time?  This is what our minds are doing all day long.  The point, then, is to watch your speech, understand your own reactionary patterns, and get rid of them.  It doesn't mater if you swear or not, it matters if it is done because you are clinging to something, and it matters if it causes new clinging to arise.  When all of this clinging is gone, there is no tension - it won't matter how anyones sees you.

RE: Swearing - why not?
Answer
2/11/15 12:51 PM as a reply to Pål.
You said before you thought not swearing was related to controlling mouth and mind and you weren't sure if controlling was the right thing to do. I also am not sure if it's the right word for what you ultimately strive for, although some of it going to be needed in the interim.  Controlling could imply forcing into submission, and while there are some aspects I think that applies towards, I think in the end it's about knowing yourself, not controlling yourself.  Controlling implies you want to do something but are controlling the urge.  But I think at some point when you know and are more at peace with all aspects of self, then it's not so much about controlling anymore as about accepting and integrating aspects of self, the process of which naturally gives more stability.  Control skills are good in that with that skill, you can stop yourself from doing something you may regret later, but in the end, IMO it's a matter of understanding yourself better so that you have less urge to do things you might regret later. The more you get that way, the less you need control and the more you can be your natural self. 

For instance, you may feel a lot of anger at something but not want to hurt those around you, but if you were to understand your anger better, it's sources and the things unsettled inside you, and settle those things inside you, you would no longer need to control your anger to avoid hurting others, instead you settle the unsettled in your mind and do not feel strong anger as much in that way, the angers morphs with other aspects of self to be a more skillful urge, but the process will change your personality in ways, maybe you will be more calmly assertive in the future or less in pain, and your actions will be different and more skillful naturally without need for control. 

But what I am trying to saying is that IMO, control is only a short term stopgap solution that is not enough in itself and very tiring and hard to maintain over the long haul.  Control is what rules and regulations ask of you, but in the end, you have to do more than just try to put a muzzle on the beast, that's why simple following of rules is IMO, not going to lead you the whole way down the path, it will only take you part way.  IMO, in the end it has to be a personal journey of integration and self study as the most important part to leading to where you don't need control because you can just naturally be yourself instead.  So getting back to the subject of swearing, IMO, it's about knowing your own mind and what is brewing in there, the energies and feelings, and if that is happening, then you will not be surprised or 'out of control' about what comes out of your mouth.  You can choose to swear or not swear as the circumstances change and what you decide to express changes, with no strong attachments to mere word sounds either way.  Also, I suspect that the effort to control speach probably forces more observation of mind so in that way, it's likely a good thing, you are probably going to have to learn a few things about yourself at minimum if you are trying to change your behavior.  IMO control is mostly for not doing things you will regret later and about learning more about self, but I think long term end game, control is something you are going to need much less of, but only once you get to that point, before that point, control IMO has its value.  IMO, the issue of control being bad or good depends on circumstances and current state of the person in question, you can't really say control is always bad or always good, it can be either.  
-Eva   
[quote=
Pål]If I were to stop swearing for a period of time and see what it does to the practice, how long do you think would be enough to see results? Would a week be enough?

I don't think swearing is as bad here in sweden since most swear words has to do with the devil rather than sex and insults.

RE: Swearing - why not?
Answer
2/11/15 1:05 PM as a reply to Eva Nie.
You make a great point here, Eva.  It's the whole idea of control that's stressful, so trying to control a reaction that is itself an attempt to control the world around you is just stress on top of stress.

It works the same way with concentration.  Trying to control the mind creates stress that distracts the mind.  But settling the mind by letting go of control, that leads to concentration and effortlessness at the same time.

There was a dillema I had a while back.  I was trying tounderstand how to relax in spite of all the real life problems I was having at the time.  It turns out, the only way to relax is to stop this attempt to hold everything together.  In Zen, they have a saying, "If you meet the Buddha, kill the Buddha."  What they're saying is, if you find stability and think you're enlightened, drop that too.  The only place to truely find rest is within the flow of imperminance itself. I don't think this means there should be no goal - rather that the goal is to be without goals. emoticon

EDIT: So in terms of right speech - you know it's right speech if you don't expect anyhting from it.  If there is something you hope to get out of using speech, no matter how subtle, it should be examined.

RE: Swearing - why not?
Answer
2/11/15 1:25 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
I don't agree that control is bad. Why do monks have hundreds of rules if control is destructive? I think you have to control stuff in order to let go of control. 

@Eva too:
I try not to think about control to much nowadays sibce usually leads to me doing stupid things because I don't control my impulses after comming to the conclusion that control is bad haha

Not Tao:
About anatta showing a clear path... That's like saying that the concept of supercompensation shows a clear path in strength training. It kind of does but a very unclear one. If you don't know about supercompensation, please google it and review my analogy emoticon