Self-imposed silence was also taught in religions in the past. However, the self-imposed silence which religions refer to applies to those professional practitioners -- monks and Taoists who do not open their mouths to talk. Because they are professional practitioners, they aim at maximally abandoning human attachments. They believe that one's thinking is karma. Religions have classified karma as good karma and evil karma. Whether it is good karma or evil karma, the thing should not be done according to the emptiness of the Buddha School nor to the nothingness of the Tao School. Therefore, they believe in doing nothing at all because they cannot see the causational relationship of a matter and whether this matter is good or bad, as there exist those causational relationships. An ordinary practitioner who has not yet reached a high level cannot see such things, and will, accordingly, worry that something may appear to be a good thing, but will probably be a bad thing once it is done. Therefore, he will try to practise the active non-doing. He does nothing so that he can avoid accumulating karma. Because once he commits karma, he will have to eliminate it and suffer for it. For instance, our practitioners have already been determined when and at what stage they will become enlightened. If you add something unnecessary half way, it will cause difficulties to your whole cultivation. Thus, he practises the active non-action.
The self-imposed silence the Buddha School practises means that human speech is all dictated by one's mental consciousness. Then, this mental consciousness is intentional. If one's mental consciousness itself wants to make a thought, say something, do something, direct the human sensory organs and four limbs, it may become an attachment among ordinary people. For example, there are such person-to-person conflicts as you are good, he is not good, your cultivation is good, and his is not. These are contradictions themselves. Let us say something common that I want to do this and that, and this matter should now be done this way or that way, which could possibly hurt someone unintentionally. Because person-to-person conflicts are all very complicated, one could possibly accumulate some karma without realizing it. As a consequence, a practitioner should practise the self-imposed silence. In the past, religions have been very serious about this. This is what the religions teach.
Most of our practitioners of Falun Dafa cultivate among ordinary people (except those professional practitioners). Then, they cannot avoid leading a normal life in ordinary human society and establishing social contacts. Everyone has a job, and should do it well. Some people do their work by speaking. Is this a problem then? It is not a problem. Why not? The self-imposed silence that we refer to is quite different from that of theirs. Owing to the differences in cultivation schools, the requirements, therefore, are also different. We open our mouths to speak all according to the Xinxing of the practitioners, and never to say anything improper, anything to sow discord. As practitioners, we should measure ourselves with the standard of the Law to determine whether or not we should say this. It is not a problem to say something that accords with a practitioner's Xinxing standard measured by the Law. In addition, we should expound the Law, and promote it. Thus, it is impossible not to speak. The self-imposed silence that we practise refers to the fame and gain that cannot be discarded by ordinary people, to what has nothing to do with the actual work of practitioners in society, to those meaningless gossips among the practitioners of the same cultivation school, to the showing oneself off because of attachments, to the hearsay spread from gossips, or to the hot topics and comments on some other things in society. I think that these are all the attachments of ordinary people. I feel that we should watch what we say in these aspects, and this is what we mean by the self-imposed silence. In the past, monks took these matters very seriously because they would accumulate karma once they started to think. Therefore, a monk practised "Body, Speech, and Mind". The cultivation of the body that he practised means that he would not commit wrong deeds. The cultivation of the speech refers to the fact that he would not speak. The cultivation of the mind refers to the fact that he would not even think at all. In the past, professional cultivation in the temple had strict requirements about these things. It would be all right if we have a good command of what we should say and what we should not, and that we require ourselves to behave up to the practitioner's Xinxing standard.