Right speech (sammà vàcà) is the third step on the Buddha's Noble Eightfold Path. Speech is the ability to form and utter words, an ability unique to human beings. Because of its power to do good but also harm, the Buddha laid great stress on right speech. He said that his own words were always truthful (bhåta), useful (atthasaühitaü), spoken at the right time (kàlena) and motivated by kindness and compassion (anukampa, M.I,395), which may stand as a good definition of Right Speech. He also praised speaking with mildness (saõhavaca, Ja.IV,110; M.I,126) and kindness (sakhila, Ja.IV,110).
In one of his most detailed descriptions of the skilful use of verbal communication the Buddha said: `Refraining from lying he becomes a speaker of the truth, one whose word can be taken, trustworthy, dependable, he does not deceive the world. Refraining from malicious speech he does not repeat here what he has heard there to the detriment of others. He is a reconciler of those at variance and an encourager of those already united, rejoicing in peace, loving peace, delighting in peace, he speaks up in favor of peace. Refraining from harsh speech he speaks words that are blameless, pleasant, easy on the ear, agreeable, going to the heart, urbane, pleasing and liked by everybody. Refraining from useless chatter he speaks at the appropriate time, correctly, to the point, about Dhamma and discipline, words worthy of being treasured, seasonable, reasonable, articulate and connected to the goal'(D.I,4). See Swearing and Verbal Abuse and Talking and Listening.