It may be amusing listening to the tittle tattle about people, at work or in the pub, but we should all remember that this is a real person we are discussing.
Particularly with Facebook, Twitter and the other social networks in mind, we are all likely to be held to account should we slander someone in public.
Nichiren Daishonin, in his writings to Soya Jiro Hyoe-no-jo Kyoshin, said this about speaking out in defence of slander of The Lotus Sutra …
To hope to attain Buddhahood without speaking out against slander is as futile as trying to find water in the midst of fire or fire in the midst of water.
No matter how sincerely one believes in the Lotus Sutra, if one is guilty of failing to rebuke slander of the Law, one will surely fall into hell, just a single crab leg will ruin a thousand pots of lacquer.
This is the meaning of the passage in the sutra, “Because the poison has penetrated deeply and their minds no longer function as before.”
Nichiren was referring specifically of The Lotus Sutra, but we should speak out against all manner of slander, the likes of which appear to be on the increase in modern life.