Vipassana Meditation Master Acharavadee Wongsakon
A meditation practitioner may not constantly think about etiquette. However, if bad manners continue, not only will they cause bad Karma to that person, but will also pass on wrongful act to others.
You may feel I’m a fuzzy person for taking this issue of etiquette seriously, but if you consider it deeply, you will see that its principles are the basis of virtue and sin.
A person with good manners is one who knows what is right and wrong. Without proper conduct, insults can ensue by dishonoring a person’s position and Dhamma wisdom. Making etiquette mistakes affect both ego and Dhamma.
People have accumulated all kinds of sin because of their lack of mindful consideration. Let me summarize some basic rules of etiquette.
1. Social etiquette
Choosing outfits One must dress according to the occasion and place; neither overdress nor underdress. Common sense is the most important consideration. Everything depends on the occasion.
Conversation Speak moderately and appropriately and don’t dominate a conversation; give the other person an opportunity to talk too. Be agreeable and give compliments in public, but reproach in private. Don’t use offensive, vulgar language. Don’t talk only about yourself but listen to others too.
In a meeting – Participants should come to a meeting five minutes ahead of time, while the chairperson should allow enough time for preparation. In a formal meeting, participants need to dress properly to honor the chairperson. The most suitable attire is a jacket for both ladies and gentlemen unless a uniform is required. Don’t look at your smartphone and make sure it’s in silent mode.
2. Relationship Etiquette
With friends – Here, friends mean friends of the same age. Don’t take advantage of your friend. Be punctual even if they’re close friends. Most importantly, never borrow money from a friend since it might ruin the friendship. If you really need help, just ask them because loyal friends always help each other. Avoid investing in a business with your friend as it rarely works.
Keep your distance from your friends’ partners and don’t think they are also your friends. If you need their help, you must consult your friend first.
With parents and teachers -Treat them in the best way, with modesty and respect, and listen to their opinions. Don’t view them as old-fashioned even if you have many years of experience yourself. You can still express different opinions but do so gently and reasonably to avoid hurting their feelings. Their love and kindness are immense, so mistreating your parents is a massive Karma, and the consequences will be severe both in your personal relationships and in other areas of your life.
With life partner or spouse – A wife must respect her husband as well as his parents, as if they are her parents. Likewise, a husband has to respect and honor his wife, and treat her well. Share your day at the office with her, and don’t leave her alone in the kitchen doing household chores. A supportive, meaningful relationship will change a partner to a soulmate.
Good manners can act like a spear piercing through a heart, leaving a big scar. It can also be a flower that lights up someone’s day.