Posted by: Michael Rickicki | 04/14/2010


Meekness seems to be to be yet another concept which I’ve inherited from my Judeo-Christian background but which has an important meaning all its own in relation to the Dhamma. In fact, one is much more likely to encounter Christian websites when googling the term “meekness” than any other and it would take some serious searching to find it at all on a Buddhist-oriented site.  It is instructive that the Pali equivalent of meekness has less to do with an attitude of subservience and submission than it does with one’s capacity to be trained.

Sovacassataa: the meaning given in the commentaries is “one who can easily be addressed, spoken to or advised” and it further means “a person who can be corrected.” Also implied are the qualities of tolerance of criticism directed at oneself and courtesy and gratitude in accepting advice.

The commentary says that a person who is meek when corrected has the chance to learn Dhamma, which is the opposite of the person who is “difficult to speak to.” The latter “indulge in prevarication, silence or think up virtues and vices.” Prevarication is only a fancy word for lying, the method used by some people when they are admonished. Another way is sullen silence, while the third is blaming the adviser by charging him with faults or else praising one’s own virtue. People like this are difficult to train: others find them hard to get on with. One should examine oneself to find out whether or not one has the blessing of being meek when corrected.


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