A reason for lying

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
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DNS
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Re: A reason for lying

Post by DNS » Wed Sep 11, 2019 1:25 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 11:30 pm
“That’s how little of the ascetic’s nature is left in those who are not ashamed to tell a deliberate lie.”
...
Yes, of course, telling a deliberate lie is bad. But it doesn't change the fact that the list of the 6 types of Right Speech (MN 58) about telling the truth is fairly exhaustive (listing 6 options for when to speak) and omits discussing the potential beneficial aspects of skillful means as being either good or bad (in rare instances of course), not as a rule of thumb.

It doesn't say it is acceptable, nor does it say it's unacceptable.

By analogy, if I list all the letter arrangements of ABC as:
ABC
ACB
BAC
BCA
CAB

Someone would rightfully ask, "where is CBA?"

The sutta could have easily have just added (to make it more complete):
In the case of words that the Tathāgata knows to be unfactual, untrue, but beneficial, and endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.

However, the sutta does not state this final option above.

sentinel
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Re: A reason for lying

Post by sentinel » Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:00 am

If one follows Mn 58 , Buddha clearly addressed he Does Not say it , there is a difference with Revealing the truth .

If you knew someone with ill intention asking question that would lead to hurting yourself and your family or others , and still telling the truth , one is going to suffer . E.g. if one suspect a person(potentially a thief) asking how many people living in the house and one honestly or truthfully telling out , that would be disastrous . Similarly in many instances in our daily life .
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binocular
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Re: A reason for lying

Post by binocular » Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:29 pm

sentinel wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:00 am
If you knew someone with ill intention asking question that would lead to hurting yourself and your family or others , and still telling the truth , one is going to suffer . E.g. if one suspect a person(potentially a thief) asking how many people living in the house and one honestly or truthfully telling out , that would be disastrous . Similarly in many instances in our daily life .
How about telling someone "That's none of your business" or something to that effect? Diplomacy was invented for a reason.

I think refusing to answer a question because one considers it a breach of personal boundaries shouldn't be regarded as a breach of precept.

Answering a question truthfully regardless of what it is and who asks it or feeling the need that one must answer it or it's a breach of precept -- that's like considering just any person to be on the same level as your parent or your teacher (assuming you feel obligated to tell the truth to your parents and your teacher (and even to those with some caveats -- eg. if your parents have a history of physically abusing you)). That's just crazy.


The sutta on answering questions says:
"There are these four ways of answering questions. Which four?

There are questions that should be answered categorically [straightforwardly yes, no, this, that].
There are questions that should be answered with an analytical (qualified) answer [defining or redefining the terms].
There are questions that should be answered with a counter-question.
There are questions that should be put aside.

These are the four ways of answering questions."

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
And then goes on to say:
First the categorical answer,
then the qualified,
third, the type to be counter-questioned,
& fourth, the one to be set aside.
Any monk who knows which is which,
in line with the Dhamma,
is said to be skilled
in the four types of questions:
hard to overcome, hard to beat,
profound, hard to defeat.
He knows what's worthwhile
& what's not
,
proficient in (recognizing) both,
he rejects the worthless,
grasps the worthwhile
.
He's called one who has broken through
to what's worthwhile,
prudent,
wise.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

binocular
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Re: A reason for lying

Post by binocular » Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:34 pm

sentinel wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:00 am
If you knew someone with ill intention asking question that would lead to hurting yourself and your family or others , and still telling the truth , one is going to suffer . E.g. if one suspect a person(potentially a thief) asking how many people living in the house and one honestly or truthfully telling out , that would be disastrous . Similarly in many instances in our daily life .
If one suspects that someone is asking a question with ill intentions, why shouldn't one put it aside or counter it with a counterquestion?
Why should it be a breach of precept to put it aside or counter it with a counterquestion?

Why should keeping the precept against lying make you into a naive sucker?
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Re: A reason for lying

Post by dharmacorps » Wed Sep 11, 2019 5:11 pm

binocular wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:29 pm

How about telling someone "That's none of your business" or something to that effect? Diplomacy was invented for a reason.
Exactly! There is nothing wrong with refusing to answer, or even staying silent. It may not be genteel or considered good manners in some places, but then again prying and asking demanding questions isn't either. One monk i like a lot has advised to respond to prying, unreasonable questions or conversations (e.g. a Christian parent wanting to "convert" back a Buddhist child) by saying "I am not available to discuss that matter".

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Re: A reason for lying

Post by sentinel » Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:43 am

binocular wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:29 pm
.......
I agree , that's what I think . I have relatives and friends that asking how much is your house worth or your salary ? Is yours a single storey house ? What type of phone package you have , is it unlimited free calls ? mine is unlimited !
My neighbor used to compare their car with mine , oh you drive XXX car , that's now cost nothing .
All sorts of blunt , brainless idiotic question .
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Re: A reason for lying

Post by chownah » Thu Sep 12, 2019 7:03 am

It's all about intention isn't it?......what is the intention in telling minor untruths about unimportant matters?....it is really so diabolical or is it really insignificant compared to (for instance) the defilements going on daily/hourly/conitinually in our own minds?

chownah

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Re: A reason for lying

Post by salayatananirodha » Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:09 pm

DNS wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 4:58 pm
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 are the words: 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.

The Buddha used skillful means with Nanda (I know some believe it was not skillful means) and with Kisa Gotami.
http://www.palicanon.org/en/sutta-pitaka/transcribed-suttas/majjhima-nikaya/144-mn-9-sammdihi-sutta-right-view.html wrote:And any monk who is an Arahant, whose corruptions are destroyed, who has lived the life, done what was to be done, laid down the burden, gained the true goal, who has completely destroyed the fetter of becoming, and is liberated by supreme insight, is incapable of doing nine things: (1) He is incapable of deliberately taking the life of a living being; (2) he is incapable of taking what is not given so as to constitute theft; (3) he is incapable of sexual intercourse; (4) he is incapable of telling a deliberate lie; (5) he is incapable of storing up goods for sensual indulgence as he did formerly in the household life; (6) he is incapable of acting wrongly through attachment; (7) he is incapable of acting wrongly through hatred; (8) he is incapable of acting wrongly through folly; (9) he is incapable of acting wrongly through fear. These are the nine things which an Arahant, whose corruptions are destroyed, cannot do...ʺ
16. 'In what has the world originated?' — so said the Yakkha Hemavata, — 'with what is the world intimate? by what is the world afflicted, after having grasped at what?' (167)

17. 'In six the world has originated, O Hemavata,' — so said Bhagavat, — 'with six it is intimate, by six the world is afflicted, after having grasped at six.' (168)

- Hemavatasutta


links:
https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/index.htm
http://thaiforestwisdom.org/canonical-texts/
http://seeingthroughthenet.net/wp-conte ... _Heart.pdf
https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html

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Re: A reason for lying

Post by DNS » Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:25 pm

chownah wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 7:03 am
It's all about intention isn't it?......what is the intention in telling minor untruths about unimportant matters?....it is really so diabolical or is it really insignificant compared to (for instance) the defilements going on daily/hourly/conitinually in our own minds?

chownah
I agree is it really so diabolical, so sinful for someone to say that they are fine when someone (stranger or acquaintance) asks them "how are you?"

And you really have a slight backache and a case of diarrhea, but you answered "fine" so as to not get into a long and unnecessary discussion of your bowel movements?

Would such a person really have to burn in hell for an aeon or two for answering "fine"?

Speech that is beneficial, endearing & agreeable to others and intention is what matters, imo (see MN 58).

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Re: A reason for lying

Post by Volo » Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:34 pm

I would answer "Somewhat sick, but for the rest okay". Maybe the other person would even help me somehow, who knows...

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Re: A reason for lying

Post by DNS » Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:38 pm

Volo wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:34 pm
I would answer "Somewhat sick, but for the rest okay". Maybe the other person would even help me somehow, who knows...
from MN 58:
[2] In the case of words that the Tathāgata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.

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Re: A reason for lying

Post by sentinel » Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:57 pm

It could develop into habits for most people .
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Re: A reason for lying

Post by Volo » Thu Sep 12, 2019 4:35 pm

sentinel wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:57 pm
It could develop into habits for most people .
Agreed. When I decided to follow 5 precepts strictly, I noticed how often I used to lie even when there was absolutely no necessity for that. It's a bad habit indeed.

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Re: A reason for lying

Post by salayatananirodha » Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:03 am

DNS wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:25 pm
chownah wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 7:03 am
It's all about intention isn't it?......what is the intention in telling minor untruths about unimportant matters?....it is really so diabolical or is it really insignificant compared to (for instance) the defilements going on daily/hourly/conitinually in our own minds?

chownah
I agree is it really so diabolical, so sinful for someone to say that they are fine when someone (stranger or acquaintance) asks them "how are you?"

And you really have a slight backache and a case of diarrhea, but you answered "fine" so as to not get into a long and unnecessary discussion of your bowel movements?

Would such a person really have to burn in hell for an aeon or two for answering "fine"?

Speech that is beneficial, endearing & agreeable to others and intention is what matters, imo (see MN 58).
'how are you' is such an open question, i usually answer that i'm ok, keeping in mind that i have entered the human state and have heard the word of a buddha and that i am taking up a practice that is rare and fruitful. but it's not easy to keep that in mind which is why i perceive 'ok'. you can get creative without completely abandoning the precepts. or you could just not answer someone because that is also more skillful than lying
16. 'In what has the world originated?' — so said the Yakkha Hemavata, — 'with what is the world intimate? by what is the world afflicted, after having grasped at what?' (167)

17. 'In six the world has originated, O Hemavata,' — so said Bhagavat, — 'with six it is intimate, by six the world is afflicted, after having grasped at six.' (168)

- Hemavatasutta


links:
https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/index.htm
http://thaiforestwisdom.org/canonical-texts/
http://seeingthroughthenet.net/wp-conte ... _Heart.pdf
https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html

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salayatananirodha
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Re: A reason for lying

Post by salayatananirodha » Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:10 am

from MN 58:
[2] In the case of words that the Tathāgata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.
there are many examples of having cordial talk in the suttas, it's beneficial in establishing a friendly relationship. 'i hope your pain is lessening, not increasing' 'it is not lessening, it is increasing' the discourse i'm thinking of addresses pain management
if a person asks you how you are and you answer truthfully what is on your mind, a sickness or a mental agitation that gives them an opportunity for beautiful mind states to arise, such as compassion and good will. it's not idle chatter or waste of time we are just used to relating in a dismissive and impersonal way
truth is often 'i don't want to talk to you' ... yes, it's difficult, but it's important to know at least what constitutes right speech and what wrong speech
16. 'In what has the world originated?' — so said the Yakkha Hemavata, — 'with what is the world intimate? by what is the world afflicted, after having grasped at what?' (167)

17. 'In six the world has originated, O Hemavata,' — so said Bhagavat, — 'with six it is intimate, by six the world is afflicted, after having grasped at six.' (168)

- Hemavatasutta


links:
https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/index.htm
http://thaiforestwisdom.org/canonical-texts/
http://seeingthroughthenet.net/wp-conte ... _Heart.pdf
https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html

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