A reason for lying

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

Post by binocular » Sun Sep 15, 2019 12:25 pm

salayatananirodha wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:03 am
'how are you' is such an open question,
/.../
you can get creative without completely abandoning the precepts. or you could just not answer someone because that is also more skillful than lying
Moreover, "How are you?" is usually not actually asked as a proper question, but merely as a formality. So it doesn't count as lying if one replies with the standard "I'm fine, thank you".
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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lavantien
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Re: A reason for lying

Post by lavantien » Fri Nov 01, 2019 6:13 am

I think there is absolutely no reason for lying. And as a seeker of the Truth, lying is the worst thing you can do.

As the Buddha said in MN 61:
"when someone is not ashamed to tell a deliberate lie, there is no bad deed they would not do, I say. So you should train like this: ‘I will not tell a lie, even for a joke.’"
Someone who is devious or deceitful may speech the truth but bending it in a way that misleading his listeners. This is another type of lying IMO. In the texts, sometime it is used by follower of other sects to lowering the reputation of the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha. For example in MN 75:
When the greetings and polite conversation were over, he sat down to one side, and the Buddha said to him:

“Māgaṇḍiya, the eye likes sights, it loves them and enjoys them. That’s been tamed, guarded, protected and restrained by the Realized One, and he teaches Dhamma for its restraint. Is that what you were referring to when you called me a life-destroyer?”

“That’s exactly what I was referring to. Why is that? Because that’s what it implies in a discourse of ours.”
Always speaking the truth may get you fired from a job or two, but it better to get fired than surrender to your defilements - a coward. A man of integrity has nothing to fear.
That, Nāmuci, is your army,
the Dark One’s commando force.
A coward can’t defeat it,
but one having defeated it
gains bliss.

Do I carry muñja grass [~ white flag]?
I spit on my life.
Death in battle would be better for me
than that I, defeated,
survive.
Snp 3.2
Then the Teacher, being sympathetic, and having compassion for the whole world,
said to me, “Come, monk!” That was my ordination.
Staying alone in the wilderness, meditating tirelessly,
I have completed what the Teacher taught, just as the victor advised me.

In the first watch of the night, I recollected my past lives.
In the middle watch of the night, I purified my clairvoyance.
In the last watch of the night, I shattered the mass of darkness.

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zerotime
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Re: A reason for lying

Post by zerotime » Sat Nov 02, 2019 12:52 am

lavantien wrote:
Fri Nov 01, 2019 6:13 am
I think there is absolutely no reason for lying. And as a seeker of the Truth, lying is the worst thing you can do.

As the Buddha said in MN 61:
"when someone is not ashamed to tell a deliberate lie, there is no bad deed they would not do, I say. So you should train like this: ‘I will not tell a lie, even for a joke.’"
this sutta is a dialogue with bhikkhus who lives under Vinaya code.
Precepts for the lay people are a guide instead rules for monks.

If you talk about lay followers, you should find Suttas with lay people.

Bhikkhus are living outside the lay life. In the lay life, at least I believe that creating a fake identity in Twitter cannot be worse than throwing a nuclear missile. Although maybe I'm wrong.
The "lying is the worst thing you can do" for lay followers sounds of difficult acceptance without Sutta support.

Please, develop your point a little more.

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salayatananirodha
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Re: A reason for lying

Post by salayatananirodha » Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:38 pm

lavantien wrote:
Fri Nov 01, 2019 6:13 am
I think there is absolutely no reason for lying. And as a seeker of the Truth, lying is the worst thing you can do.

As the Buddha said in MN 61:
"when someone is not ashamed to tell a deliberate lie, there is no bad deed they would not do, I say. So you should train like this: ‘I will not tell a lie, even for a joke.’"
Someone who is devious or deceitful may speech the truth but bending it in a way that misleading his listeners. This is another type of lying IMO. In the texts, sometime it is used by follower of other sects to lowering the reputation of the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha. For example in MN 75:
When the greetings and polite conversation were over, he sat down to one side, and the Buddha said to him:

“Māgaṇḍiya, the eye likes sights, it loves them and enjoys them. That’s been tamed, guarded, protected and restrained by the Realized One, and he teaches Dhamma for its restraint. Is that what you were referring to when you called me a life-destroyer?”

“That’s exactly what I was referring to. Why is that? Because that’s what it implies in a discourse of ours.”
Always speaking the truth may get you fired from a job or two, but it better to get fired than surrender to your defilements - a coward. A man of integrity has nothing to fear.
That, Nāmuci, is your army,
the Dark One’s commando force.
A coward can’t defeat it,
but one having defeated it
gains bliss.

Do I carry muñja grass [~ white flag]?
I spit on my life.
Death in battle would be better for me
than that I, defeated,
survive.
Snp 3.2
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.061.than.html wrote:"Rahula, it's like a royal elephant: immense, pedigreed, accustomed to battles, its tusks like chariot poles. Having gone into battle, it uses its forefeet & hindfeet, its forequarters & hindquarters, its head & ears & tusks & tail, but keeps protecting its trunk. The elephant trainer notices that and thinks, 'This royal elephant has not given up its life to the king.' But when the royal elephant... having gone into battle, uses its forefeet & hindfeet, its forequarters & hindquarters, its head & ears & tusks & tail & his trunk, the trainer notices that and thinks, 'This royal elephant has given up its life to the king. There is nothing it will not do.'

"In the same way, Rahula, when anyone feels no shame in telling a deliberate lie, there is no evil, I tell you, he will not do. Thus, Rahula, you should train yourself, 'I will not tell a deliberate lie even in jest.'
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 Laurens » Thu Nov 07, 2019 5:47 pm

Not lying is not the same thing as always telling the truth.

But also I don't see what is self important about answering a question about yourself that somebody has asked you. I mean I literally never talk to people about my Buddhist practise, unless they ask me if I follow a spiritual or religious practise. That is quite different from introducing myself by saying 'Hi I'm Laurens, I'm a Buddhist by the way'. If someone thinks you are self important for giving an honest answer to a question they ask about you then that is their problem...
"If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

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zerotime
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Re: A reason for lying

Post by zerotime » Fri Nov 08, 2019 12:35 am

even if somebody believes there is absolutely no reason for lying, when we live in society we will lie soon or later.

Lying is like killing: this is unavoidable for lay people in some degree.

The lying is avoidable for monks. While killing is unavoidable for both lay and monks. Monks can try to live without lying because their monastic environment. However, neither monks can avoid killing when they walk or breath.

The Buddha pointed to the intentions, he was not a dogmatic preacher or some Mosses descending from a mountain with a pair of tables. To understand the Buddha teaching there is need of a connection between the being and the Dhamma. In that connection becomes implicit the common sense of the follower.

We are humans and we cannot avoid killing in some degree. And when we live in worldly social environments neither we can avoid the lies in some degree.

The Buddha pointed to the intention of lying in the sense that everybody knows. When somebody wants to leave that immediate understanding provided by the common sense and instead he wish to build a dogmatics religious device, this is a bad choosing.

Nibbana is not further because those "whites" or unavoidable lies in the lay life in order to survive, to raise the children, etc. If somebody wants to assimilate the opposite he/she should become a monk or an eremite to avoid the sure contradictions in his life.

Anyway, he should know the monks and eremites neither are able to avoid killing in absolute terms. Nobody can, except with suicide.

That understanding is wrong. Because when we arrive to the logical end for that dogmatic path, we find the absurdity. Then anyone can realize how this understanding was wrong from the beginning. It was something left or missed: that natural connection with Dhamma which is fed by the common sense instead dogmatics.

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Re: A reason for lying

Post by Laurens » Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:51 am

zerotime wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 12:35 am
even if somebody believes there is absolutely no reason for lying, when we live in society we will lie soon or later.

Lying is like killing: this is unavoidable for lay people in some degree.

The lying is avoidable for monks. While killing is unavoidable for both lay and monks. Monks can try to live without lying because their monastic environment. However, neither monks can avoid killing when they walk or breath.

The Buddha pointed to the intentions, he was not a dogmatic preacher or some Mosses descending from a mountain with a pair of tables. To understand the Buddha teaching there is need of a connection between the being and the Dhamma. In that connection becomes implicit the common sense of the follower.

We are humans and we cannot avoid killing in some degree. And when we live in worldly social environments neither we can avoid the lies in some degree.

The Buddha pointed to the intention of lying in the sense that everybody knows. When somebody wants to leave that immediate understanding provided by the common sense and instead he wish to build a dogmatics religious device, this is a bad choosing.

Nibbana is not further because those "whites" or unavoidable lies in the lay life in order to survive, to raise the children, etc. If somebody wants to assimilate the opposite he/she should become a monk or an eremite to avoid the sure contradictions in his life.

Anyway, he should know the monks and eremites neither are able to avoid killing in absolute terms. Nobody can, except with suicide.

That understanding is wrong. Because when we arrive to the logical end for that dogmatic path, we find the absurdity. Then anyone can realize how this understanding was wrong from the beginning. It was something left or missed: that natural connection with Dhamma which is fed by the common sense instead dogmatics.
I'm curious as to a situation in which you think lying is unavoidable.
"If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

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Alīno
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Re: A reason for lying

Post by Alīno » Sun Nov 10, 2019 12:11 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:13 am
My barber once asked me if I had done any travelling since last I saw him. I lied and said that I hadn't, when in fact I had been to Geneva, Switzerland. If I had told the truth, then that truth would have led to another and yet another. "And what did you do in Geneva?" "I was invited to a conference on Bradley's Regress." And thus would I have had to blow my cover as regular guy among regular guys in that quintessential enclave of the regular guy, the old-time barber shop. I might have come across as self-important or as a braggart. I might have come across as I come across to some on this weblog.

Lies often lead to more lies, but truth-telling can get you in deep too. Life in this world of surfaces and seemings often goes down easier with a dollop of mendacity. In a world phenomenal and phony a certain amount of phoniness is forgivable.

But how much?
It's amazing how mind is tricky !

He say that he don't want to expose his status of someone important because it will sound like he is better then a barber (if I understood well) and generate conceit.

But by telling the lye that he is normal person he actualy denigrates a barber with conceit, thinking: i dont want to waste my time to explain this barber what iam doing, or i dont want tel him the truth because he will don't understand, or i will not tell him the truth because it's not his matter, ...etc
Actualy lying to people is showing our disrespect, thinking : iam smarter, better, he will not understand the truth etc
But people's are intelligent, when we explain well they understand even the most complicate, and difficult to explain truth. Actualy while someone lyes instead of being inteligent and strong he shows:
1. That he is a weak and unable to face the truth
2. He is unable to explain things clearly
3. His feel shame of his actions
4. He hide things

Actualy if someone telling lyes it's better to go away from that person...

Imho...
Ajahn Nanadassano (before ordaining) : Venerable Ajahn, what is the bigest error that buddhist do in their practice?
Ajahn Jayasaro : They stop practicing ...

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zerotime
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Re: A reason for lying

Post by zerotime » Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:04 pm

Laurens wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:51 am
I'm curious as to a situation in which you think lying is unavoidable.
I don't try to do some defence of lying but just to describe the real situation in the lay life and the related kamma. One should avoid lying until he can, although in the lay life one should know this is impossible in absolute terms

There are so many situations to imagine that we cannot find even one only case in all the records of the human History (literature or whatever) about somebody healthy and living in society, who never said one lie in all his life.

Doing intellectual games with sila can drive to feed a false "Buddhist" image of oneself in some imaginary reality. The real question in real practical terms and for the real life is: Do you know somebody who never said even one lie in all his life?

Because such thing even was not attributed to Siddharta. Only to the Tathagata. And when we review in example, the MN.61, we read about avoid lying:
"That's how little of a contemplative[2] there is in anyone who feels no shame at telling a deliberate lie..."
The Buddha said one should avoid lying at any cost. However, when he explain how to do that, he taught:
"While you are doing a verbal action, you should reflect on it: 'This verbal action I am doing — is it leading to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both? Is it an unskillful verbal action, with painful consequences, painful results?' If, on reflection, you know that it is leading to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both... you should give it up. But if on reflection you know that it is not... you may continue with it.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

note how "you should say the truth" is not directly included. Why so?. First, because while we keep ignorance we can believe we are saying the truth on something while in fact we are wrong. Second, because the Buddha was very wise, and he knew the lying also is a human expression of kamma and natural conditionants (genetics) in order to keep us alive. Animals and even vegetables all develops strategies of deception to preserve the live, to get food and the safety for the individual or the group

Humans living in societies we should develop similar strategies to get food, to raise the children and so on. The monk's life is an special Buddha design to create the best environment to be free also from the blind attachment to live. Not only by denying sex (which is the higher affirmation for the perpetuation of Nature ) but also regarding lying which is also related.

In society, there are some "lies" which one can put in the same grey zone like unavoidable killing by eating, breathing or walking. I mean all those lies developed under the conditions explained in the previous MN.61. Those lies developed to be free of remorse and without intention to deceive others for evil or selfish purposes.

If you do a search in Google about lying related with psychology, biology, etc... maybe you will be surprised to know how deep the mechanisms for lying and deception are impressed in the nature of the living beings. Nature do that in a blind way to preserve its own perpetuation. And as soon we are surrounded by other animals (humans included) we are more strong puppets of Nature.

I don't think there is need to imagine the endless cases in where lies are developed to avoid dukkha and without intention to deceive others for evil or selfish purposes. Parents can deceive children to avoid damages for them, doctors can deceive sick people to heal them, workers can haggle or deceive on quality in order to sell products, etc,etc.. In other thread on this issue I have mentioned a jataka in where the bodhisattva worked as a merchant doing haggling. There is also the Sutta about the rescue of 500 arhants deceiving Devadatta; very interesting to investigate.

In fact, all the people defending the possibility of not saying even one lie, they are lying to themselves. Because they know already have lied in the past and also they don't know even one person who never said one lie.

Well, at least I believe one should start to be free from the own lies about oneself before start the hard enterprise with the rest. In that way, one will be able to identify those deliberated lies, developed with"unskillful verbal action, with painful consequences, leading to self-affliction or to the affliction of others. These are the lies to avoid for the lay people.

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zerotime
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Re: A reason for lying

Post by zerotime » Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:45 pm

edit: they were not 500 arhants but new ordained monks. Inside Cullavagga.

(mistakes, lack of attention: another involved thing in the problem of lying)

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