I had this question yesterday, when I was using my navigation system to navigate somewhere completely new in my car. I, by accident, took a wrong turn that resulted in multiple miles of detour. When I realized my mistake, I verbally spoke an explicit word out loud. I was completely alone in the car at the time.

I immediately realized my second mistake in speaking as such and I verbally corrected myself to a non-explicit word.

The Noble Eightfold Path puts emphasis on right speech, and not saying anything to harm others and self. I was not meaning to harm anyone in my outburst, but to express the anguish of a delayed trip.

Buddhism writings (specifically the Dhammapada) also put emphasis on sage qualities, more specifically in the quote "a sage tames himself". Certainly what I did in that situation was not a kusula action, and thus can help breed other akusula actions.

My question is: Is it bad practice to display this kind of poor self-control when in solitude?

3 Answers 3


Solitude is the best time to practice skillful behavior! When you don't have anyone else watching you, it's that much easier to lag in your discipline. The best noble qualities are ones that are intrinsic to your character. They show that your integrity is deep and that your practice is strong.


Right Speech in the Noble Eightfold Path certainly refers to not saying anything that harm others and self. However, as a 'morality' factor of the path, it would seem Right Speech is about words spoken to others because morality is generally about our actions in social relationship with others.

I think your situation of angry speech in solitude probably falls under the 2nd path factor, namely, Right Thought. Essentially, you had a mind of ill-will.

Expressing the mind of ill-will via speech in solitude would not change the suffering (harmful) effects of that ill-will upon the mind.


It's not the word that's the problem but the arising of sudden unmindful pushing away of what is arising in one's experience(AKA anger). This is why we try to be mindful continuously.

Also, if someone else was there and you intended to hurt them with words that you know they will be sensitive to then that is a defilement. It all boils down to our intentions even if they don't come to transgression.

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