In this week’s exploration of mindful speech at the Tuesday night meditation group, we read the description of a “superior person” (Anguttara Nikaya IV:73).

The superior person had four attributes regarding speech. A Superior Person….

1. does not reveal the faults of others. But if pressed to answer, he criticizes others hesitantly, incompletely, and with omissions.

2. reveals the praiseworthy qualities of others fully and in detail. Even when not asked he recognizes and praises other’s good qualities.

3. reveals his own faults easily and fully. He does not hide his failings.

4. does not reveal his praiseworthy qualities. But if pressed to answer, he describes his praiseworthy qualities hesitantly, modestly, and without much detail.

This discourse invites us to notice how we engage in criticism and praise. This week I encourage you to observe:

(1) How eagerly do you describe the faults of others or publicly criticize others?

(2) Do you tend to see the good in people, focusing on their best qualities, their praiseworthy attributes? Do you express your appreciation for their good qualities, and praise them?

(3) Do you try to deny or hide your own faults?

(4) How eagerly do you boast of your abilities?

In a notebook, write down any time that you criticize yourself or another person, or speak of their faults. Write down anytime that you praise yourself or another person. Throughout the week, periodically review what you observe regarding praise and criticism. Notice how you feel after each utterance of criticism or praise. Notice how criticism and praise affects your relationships and communications.