Someone once said to me, “Rissho Kosei-kai members are really easy to talk to.” This person remarked that when someone was speaking during a group event, all the members looked the speaker straight in the eye, smiling as they nodded in recognition of every point the speaker made. This compliment is something to be really happy about!
Rissho Kosei-kai members have many wonderful qualities, and I think we can say that one of them is this ability to be good listeners.
When people are speaking, they are expressing themselves through words. More than anything, speakers worry if listeners are really feeling and accepting what they are saying. If listeners are expressionless, looking away, or fidgeting, those talking feel like they are being ignored, and their words no longer have heart.
This is the same in Dharma circles. If the facilitator’s attention is distracted by this or that and he or she is only listening with half an ear to people’s stories, the person speaking will feel ignored. But if the facilitator seriously listens and nods affirmatively to them, this will make the person feel that they have been liberated.
When it comes to Dharma circles, being a good listener comes first. If a good speaker is careless it can sometimes annoy people, but a good listener is rarely, if ever, disliked.
From Kaisozuikan pg. 158-159