Why telling lie is so bad?

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SarathW
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Re: Why telling lie is so bad?

Post by SarathW » Fri Dec 15, 2017 7:26 am

Dhammanando wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 6:39 am
SarathW wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:23 am
Aren't fictions lies?
In the commentaries one piece of fiction, the Rāmayāna's story of the kidnapping of Sitā by Rāvaṇa, is used as the stock example of frivolous speech, not false speech.

Mahasi Sayadaw, when expounding frivolous speech in his talks on the Sallekha Sutta cites this commentarial definition and then — just to be sure that his audience understands what it means — he proceeds to tell the whole story of the kidnapping!
:lol:

At the end the sayadaw concludes:
Mahasi wrote:People are instructed to accept all these as facts and hear the story again and again. Everyone who recites or hears it sincerely is assured of liberation from all evil kamma and passage to higher abodes after death [...] The believer who recites and hears this story is also guaranteed a heavenly life after death. In fact, to those who are not orthodox Hindus and intelligent, it is obvious that these stories are myths and fabrications. If we regard these stories as real events, the belief will impede spiritual progress and cause much harm. To encourage the belief in such stories will, therefore, lead to lower worlds and lack of credibility in case of rebirth in the human world.

According to the commentaries, listening to frivolous stories is kammically harmful only if one believes them. Again Visuddhimagga and other commentaries say that the yogī can overcome interest in frivolous talk only at the Arahatta stage. Therefore, we assume that interest in ordinary frivolous talk like one of the thirty kinds of it that do not lead to the nether worlds still lingers at the lower stages of the holy Path.

The kammic results of abstinence from frivolous talk is, of course, the opposite of the evils that beset one who indulges in it. One who avoids frivolous talk goes to higher abodes after death and if reborn as a human being, he is highly esteemed and trusted by other people.
Thank you, Bhante then what about the Jataka stories?
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

binocular
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Re: Why telling lie is so bad?

Post by binocular » Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:54 am

From personal experience, I say that a lie of any magnitude gets me into some sort of trouble; and that this trouble is, as a rule, greater than the one I was initially trying to avoid by lying.

Maybe I'm just a bad liar, but I never got away with a lie, no matter how small.

DCM
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Re: Why telling lie is so bad?

Post by DCM » Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:15 pm

When my 4 and 8 year old child asks me again if Santa is real, should I tell them the truth. This is a serious question, as my wife and family would look upon me as cruel as it would definitely destroy their excitement. It would have been different if I were Buddhist and practising the 8 fold path before their birth for sure.

I am trying my best to practice Right Speech recently, but seeing the amount of lies I tell is disheartening. I did not think I told so may, as they seemed harmless to me before. Even in my job I can see I lie at times, and I'm looking to change livelihood as a result. Most western companies encourage lying due to greed and corruption these days it is hard to find somewhere you aren't encouraged to lie.

I should qualify this as I am honest for example when I was given too much change at a foreign exchange desk I returned and gave the worker the money back, but by practising Right Speech it has made me see the smaller lies I tell, which I would like to eradicat.

Even close family members will lie to get better deals with contracts or try and get off paying debts or bills, I am becoming very dissalussioned with Samsara. I have a long, long way to go to perfect Right Speech and at the moment it is difficult to see how I can change things around.
Last edited by DCM on Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Nicolas
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Re: Why telling lie is so bad?

Post by Nicolas » Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:21 pm

Nicolas wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:07 am
pegembara wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:01 am
Some armed men come to your home asking if you have seen any refugees hiding nearby. You are indeed aware of their presence in the nearby jungle and you know what is going to happen if you answer truthfully.

Which is worse? Telling a lie or speaking the truth.
Silence is an option here.
SarathW wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 6:05 am
Bandits will not take silence for an answer.

It doesn't matter what the bandits take or don't take for an answer. Silence is still an option.
See the below:
Cunda Sutta wrote: Thus he doesn’t consciously tell a lie for his own sake, for the sake of another, or for the sake of any reward.
Uposatha Sutta (Ud 5.5) wrote: Just as the ocean is stable and does not overstep its tideline; in the same way my disciples do not—even for the sake of their lives—overstep the training rules I have formulated for them.
Abhayarājakumāra Sutta (MN 58) wrote: [1] In the case of words that the Tathāgata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial [or: not connected with the goal], unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.
[2] In the case of words that the Tathāgata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.
[3] In the case of words that the Tathāgata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, but unendearing & disagreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them.
[4] In the case of words that the Tathāgata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.
[5] In the case of words that the Tathāgata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.
[6] In the case of words that the Tathāgata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, and endearing & agreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them. Why is that? Because the Tathāgata has sympathy for living beings.

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seeker242
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Re: Why telling lie is so bad?

Post by seeker242 » Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:44 pm

Nicolas wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:21 pm

It doesn't matter what the bandits take or don't take for an answer. Silence is still an option.
And if the bandits will kill you if you don't answer them, what then?

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Nicolas
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Re: Why telling lie is so bad?

Post by Nicolas » Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:47 pm

seeker242 wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:44 pm
Nicolas wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:21 pm
It doesn't matter what the bandits take or don't take for an answer. Silence is still an option.
And if the bandits will kill you if you don't answer them, what then?
Then you die.
Cunda Sutta wrote: Thus he doesn’t consciously tell a lie for his own sake, for the sake of another, or for the sake of any reward.
Uposatha Sutta (Ud 5.5) wrote: Just as the ocean is stable and does not overstep its tideline; in the same way my disciples do not—even for the sake of their lives—overstep the training rules I have formulated for them.
P.S. Before they kill you, you could also engage in some (non-lying) verbal or bodily action that would lead to them not killing you.

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Dhammanando
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Re: Why telling lie is so bad?

Post by Dhammanando » Fri Dec 15, 2017 3:17 pm

SarathW wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 7:26 am
Thank you, Bhante then what about the Jataka stories?
They're the seventh limb in the navaṅga satthusāsana or "nine-limbed dispensation of the Master": sutta, geyya, veyyākaraṇa, gāthā, udāna, itivuttaka, jātaka, abbhutadhamma, vedalla.
“And how is a bhikkhu one who knows the Dhamma? Here, a bhikkhu knows the Dhamma: the discourses, mixed prose and verse, expositions, verses, inspired utterances, quotations, birth stories, stories of marvels, and catechetical expositions.

“If a bhikkhu did not know the Dhamma—the discourses, mixed prose and verse, expositions, verses, inspired utterances, quotations, birth stories, stories of marvels, and catechetical expositions—he would not be called ‘one who knows the Dhamma.’

“But because he knows the Dhamma—the discourses, mixed prose and verse, expositions, verses, inspired utterances, quotations, birth stories, stories of marvels, and catechetical expositions—he is called ‘one who knows the Dhamma.’ Thus he is one who knows the Dhamma.”

— Dhammaññūsutta
https://suttacentral.net/en/an7.68

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seeker242
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Re: Why telling lie is so bad?

Post by seeker242 » Fri Dec 15, 2017 3:36 pm

Nicolas wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:47 pm
seeker242 wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:44 pm
Nicolas wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:21 pm
It doesn't matter what the bandits take or don't take for an answer. Silence is still an option.
And if the bandits will kill you if you don't answer them, what then?
Then you die.
That sounds equivalent to committing suicide. It it really that wise to give up the preciousness of a human birth in order to preserve 1 particular rule, the breaking of which would not be all that bad to begin with?

"Don't lie when Nazis come asking for jews to murder", I think that's a very one sided view of the situation. It only considers the kamma made from lying and doesn't consider all the kamma being made. It ignores the good kamma that would be made by saving them. And in that type of instance one could argue, because the intention is only to save others from murder, that even if bad kamma is made from that, it would not very great. It's not unreasonable to think that the good kamma made from saving them from murder would outweigh the bad kamma made from lying about where they are hidden. If that is the case, then the action "would have a positive result". It could even be seen as an act of generosity, which makes good kamma in and of itself. Preserving 100% purity of your own precepts, at the expense of someone else's life, could easily be seen as an act of selfishness.
P.S. Before they kill you, you could also engage in some (non-lying) verbal or bodily action that would lead to them not killing you.
You could try, but that doesn't mean they won't!

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Nicolas
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Re: Why telling lie is so bad?

Post by Nicolas » Fri Dec 15, 2017 3:48 pm

seeker242 wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 3:36 pm
[...]
I agree with what you said regarding the preciousness of a human birth, yet the passages I quoted are very clear. I imagine that if one is willing to take the risk to lay down one’s life to avoid endangering others and to avoid lying by remaining silent, then one is likely to have very strong faith in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, and that very intention and act, tied with the faith in that moment would probably lead to a favorable birth, maybe even stream-entry if that has not already been achieved (all this is pure speculation on my part).

Also, I had not addressed the example about nazis coming while one is hiding Jews, which is different than the one I addressed where one’s silence was not endangering others. I might try to address that other example later (I have to go).

P.S. Regarding the hiding-Jews example, if one remains silent with a pure intention, I would imagine that one does not perform any bad kamma, even if the action is considered “selfish” by others due to the resultant deaths. That would be the kamma of the killers, I would think. I must go; more later, hopefully.
(Again, speculating.)
(I’m thinking of the eating of flesh with a pure mind as a distant comparison.)

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DNS
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Re: Why telling lie is so bad?

Post by DNS » Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:35 pm

Here we go again, with the famous / infamous Jews hiding in the attic scenario. :popcorn:
seeker242 wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 3:36 pm
"Don't lie when Nazis come asking for jews to murder", I think that's a very one sided view of the situation. It only considers the kamma made from lying and doesn't consider all the kamma being made. It ignores the good kamma that would be made by saving them. And in that type of instance one could argue, because the intention is only to save others from murder, that even if bad kamma is made from that, it would not very great. It's not unreasonable to think that the good kamma made from saving them from murder would outweigh the bad kamma made from lying about where they are hidden. If that is the case, then the action "would have a positive result". It could even be seen as an act of generosity, which makes good kamma in and of itself. Preserving 100% purity of your own precepts, at the expense of someone else's life, could easily be seen as an act of selfishness.
:goodpost:

The Buddha repeatedly said kamma is intention.
What is the intention when misleading the Nazis? It is to save lives.
What is the intention by saying yes they are in the attic OR remaining silent? The intention is to protect the 100% purity of your precepts.
One is compassionate, skillful means. The other is selfish.
Abhayarājakumāra Sutta (MN 58) wrote: [1] In the case of words that the Tathāgata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial [or: not connected with the goal], unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.
[2] In the case of words that the Tathāgata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.
[3] In the case of words that the Tathāgata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, but unendearing & disagreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them.
[4] In the case of words that the Tathāgata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.
[5] In the case of words that the Tathāgata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.
[6] In the case of words that the Tathāgata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, and endearing & agreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them. Why is that? Because the Tathāgata has sympathy for living beings.
Notably absent in the passage above is words that are unfactual, untrue, BUT beneficial, endearing & agreeable to others. The Buddha does NOT say this is bad and not to be said, it is simply not addressed in this passage. The Dhamma is complete; good in the beginning, good in the middle, good in the end. Why is that absent? Perhaps we are to use our best judgment from the Great Standards and what is best for us and others, for what is beneficial, even if it means using a little skillful means.

I know I might be biased having lost some family members in the holocaust but there are plenty of Dhamma teachers who agree with this assessment too. And there are others who disagree with this; it appears to be one of those 'hot topics' in Buddhism, along with the veggie debate and others. And I know some will say these hypotheticals are not realistic in today's world, but is that really so? Genocide and totalitarian regimes still exist.

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cappuccino
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Re: Why telling lie is so bad?

Post by cappuccino » Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:47 pm

Since the truth is the highest good,
deception must be a great evil.

binocular
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Re: Why telling lie is so bad?

Post by binocular » Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:03 pm

DCM wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:15 pm
When my 4 and 8 year old child asks me again if Santa is real, should I tell them the truth. This is a serious question, as my wife and family would look upon me as cruel as it would definitely destroy their excitement.
You basically have to make up for other people's lies ...
Surely there are more creative ways to do that than to lie. You could say, for example, that Santa is real, and by that mean that parents and some others become Santa and that Santa is the person who gives gifts. And when the children are old enough, explain to them what you mean.
That is, start from the position that Santa is a metaphor; but since small children don't understand what a metaphor is, find a creative way around to explain it.
That way, you can maintain that Santa is both real (as a metaphor) and not (as a person living on the North Pole giving gifts to children all over the world).

2600htz
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Re: Why telling lie is so bad?

Post by 2600htz » Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:11 pm

Hello:

Why telling a lie is so bad?:

AN 11.1
"What is the purpose of skillful virtues? What is their reward?"

"Skillful virtues have freedom from remorse as their purpose, Ananda, and freedom from remorse as their reward."
"And what is the purpose of freedom from remorse? What is its reward?"

"Freedom from remorse has joy as its purpose, joy as its reward."

"And what is the purpose of joy? What is its reward?"

"Joy has rapture as its purpose, rapture as its reward."

"And what is the purpose of rapture? What is its reward?"

"Rapture has serenity as its purpose, serenity as its reward."

"And what is the purpose of serenity? What is its reward?"

"Serenity has pleasure as its purpose, pleasure as its reward."

"And what is the purpose of pleasure? What is its reward?"

"Pleasure has concentration as its purpose, concentration as its reward."

"And what is the purpose of concentration? What is its reward?"

"Concentration has knowledge & vision of things as they actually are as its purpose, knowledge & vision of things as they actually are as its reward."

"And what is the purpose of knowledge & vision of things as they actually are? What is its reward?"

"Knowledge & vision of things as they actually are has disenchantment as its purpose, disenchantment as its reward."

"And what is the purpose of disenchantment? What is its reward?"

"Disenchantment has dispassion as its purpose, dispassion as its reward."

"And what is the purpose of dispassion? What is its reward?"

"Dispassion has knowledge & vision of release as its purpose, knowledge & vision of release as its reward.
Regards.

binocular
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Re: Why telling lie is so bad?

Post by binocular » Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:14 pm

DNS wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:35 pm
I know I might be biased having lost some family members in the holocaust but there are plenty of Dhamma teachers who agree with this assessment too. And there are others who disagree with this; it appears to be one of those 'hot topics' in Buddhism, along with the veggie debate and others. And I know some will say these hypotheticals are not realistic in today's world, but is that really so? Genocide and totalitarian regimes still exist.
From earlier discussions of this:
binocular wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:24 am
Someone once proposed a WWII scenario where one is a German who is hiding Jews in one's house, and a Nazi officer comes looking for the Jews. What will one do?
This person argued that the only sane thing to do would be to kill the Nazi officer if possible.

I don't know how realistic such a scenario is, given that we are nowadays looking upon such scenarios with the benefit of hindsight and considerable bias based on the victory of the Allies.
While back then, surely there were Germans who were hiding Jews. But what was the reasoning of those Germans for doing so? Who knows. Not to mention that Nazi soldiers, like soldiers in general, were performing searches in groups, not just one by one, and if one or more of them would suddenly disappear, this would attract the attention of others, in which case, an open fight would likely ensue and the Nazis would likely win.
binocular wrote:
Wed Apr 05, 2017 5:31 am
David N. Snyder wrote:There are literalists who claim that one can never be dishonest even for example to gestapo knocking on the door asking if you are hiding any Jews in Nazi Germany, but what would be the point of being honest in such a situation, knowing people will be killed? It is obviously literalism run amok (imo) and to protect your perceived kamma-vipaka; which would then make it a selfish act. However, saying "no" to the gestapo saves lives.
Honest about what? In that scenario, the person hiding Jews could say "I have nothing shameful to hide." Which is true.
And saying "no" doesn't automatically save lives. It's naive to think that every Nazi soldier would take a person's word (who is a potential suspect) at face value.
If the person hiding Jews would lie and say No, but the Nazi officer would not believe them, search the house and find Jews, the consequences would likely be worse.


Such scenarios, and esp. the one of hiding Jews from Nazis, are commonly used to drive home the point that it is sometimes okay to break the precepts.
But such moral dilemmas are contrived. For one, they describe situations that rarely happen. For two, those dilemmas involve a simplistic train of thought.
Do listen to Thanissaro Bhikkhu's take on precisely this issue here, from 28.20 to 31.40.
And I know some will say these hypotheticals are not realistic in today's world, but is that really so? Genocide and totalitarian regimes still exist.
In those cases, they are not realistic in the sense of not accounting for the likely (or even standard) reaction of those seeking the refugees.

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DNS
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Re: Why telling lie is so bad?

Post by DNS » Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:18 pm

binocular wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:14 pm
And I know some will say these hypotheticals are not realistic in today's world, but is that really so? Genocide and totalitarian regimes still exist.
In those cases, they are not realistic in the sense of not accounting for the likely (or even standard) reaction of those seeking the refugees.
But it's still good to do thought experiments and hypotheticals to test a principle, to examine if it holds under all circumstances, in all possible cases.

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