Understanding the fourth precept

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
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Jason
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Re: Is it ever O.K. to lie?

Post by Jason » Fri Jul 22, 2011 9:07 pm

Mama wrote:So do I tell my young children the truth about Father Christmas?
I don't know why people pretend he's real in the first place. I'd much rather receive gifts from my friends and family than some imaginary man who forces an entire race of imaginary beings in some frozen tundra sweatshop to make the gifts he then gives and gets all the credit/cookies and milk for. Maybe some class-conscious kid should slip a copy of the Communist Manifesto in with their letter, because I bet Santa doesn't read them all himself. Elves of the world, unite!
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

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Re: Is it ever O.K. to lie?

Post by Lhamo » Sat Jul 23, 2011 12:18 am

haha! That's a good laugh, Jason! How do we know Santa & helpers aren't Enlightened Beings working devotedly for others' happiness? Besides, Marx was all for working hard for a higher good. After visiting the utopian experiments in the US, he took the Shaker maxim, "Hands to work, hearts to God" and tweaked it to come out "Hands to work, hearts to the good of the working class" or "Hands to work, hearts to Lenin", was a later permutation. :lol: You're killing me! :rofl:
(Thanks, we needed some comic relief on this thread. )

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Re: Is it ever O.K. to lie?

Post by Jason » Sat Jul 23, 2011 12:59 am

Glad someone got a laugh out of it. :D
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

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Re: Is it ever O.K. to lie?

Post by DarwidHalim » Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:59 am

PeDr0 wrote:I understand the Buddha said that under no circumstances was it ever skillful to tell a lie.
I think it is not a buddhist way. In buddhism, any actions, even killing, is free from good or bad.

The one that make it good or bad, is the motivation behind it. Not the action itself.

Suppose, you are a weak person. You meet 1 person running to you and hide in your bedroom. Suddenly 1 terrorist full of weapon who want to kill him came and ask you about this person. What do you want to do?

Tell him yes he is here and please don't kill that guy? This is an action without wisdom.

By telling lie with the motivation to save both of them, your action is wholesome.
By telling lie, you save the killer from his bad karma, as you know killing a person will give that person a very bad karma.
By telling lie, you also save that guy who hide in your bedroom.

Buddhism is not a teaching A is A, B is B. Nothing is absolute in buddhism. Every vows in buddhism has a reason behind. When we don't do like the vows, from outside it looks like we are breaking the action. But breaking the action doesn't mean you break the reason behind that vows.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!

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Re: Is it ever O.K. to lie?

Post by Nori » Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:21 am

There is a very specific teaching by the Buddha (cannot recall the sutta), which is that you shouldn't be attached too strong to rules and precepts. On many occasions, the Buddha suggested things for the order, only to change it later due to some specific reason. Not that not lying is a 'rule', or that there exist any - 'rules'. I think what is important is to understand the intention behind the recommendations he made (i.e. what is the reason for his recommendation, and how is it conducive to well being?).

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Re: Is it ever O.K. to lie?

Post by Ben » Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:34 am

I think this one might be of relevance:

"For the person who transgresses in one thing, I tell you, there is no evil deed that is not to be done. Which one thing? This: telling a deliberate lie."


The person who lies,
who transgress in this one thing,
transcending concern for the world beyond:
there's no evil
he might not do.
— Iti 25
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Is it ever O.K. to lie?

Post by Ben » Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:40 am

And another...
"And how is right view the forerunner? One discerns wrong speech as wrong speech, and right speech as right speech. And what is wrong speech? Lying, divisive tale-bearing, abusive speech, & idle chatter. This is wrong speech...

"One tries to abandon wrong speech & to enter into right speech: This is one's right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong speech & to enter & remain in right speech: This is one's right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities — right view, right effort, & right mindfulness — run & circle around right speech."

— MN 117
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

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Re: Is it ever O.K. to lie?

Post by Lazy_eye » Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:43 pm

Ben wrote:I think this one might be of relevance:

"For the person who transgresses in one thing, I tell you, there is no evil deed that is not to be done. Which one thing? This: telling a deliberate lie."


The person who lies,
who transgress in this one thing,
transcending concern for the world beyond:
there's no evil
he might not do.
— Iti 25
Thing is, though, while this passage warns of a hypothetical evil ("there is no evil he might not do"), in the Gestapo scenario one is committing, or at least abetting, a real and immanent evil by not concealing the family's presence. Since harm is being done in either case, it seems to me one must choose the option that does less harm -- in this case, hiding the family.

We do not know for sure what sort of unwholesomeness might arise from deceiving the Nazis, nor what vipaka would result, but we can be fairly certain about what will happen if the Gestapo find who they're looking for.

It is also questionable whether the lie in this case can be termed "deliberate", since it is occurring under duress. Volition is compromised when someone is pointing a gun to your head.

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Re: Is it ever O.K. to lie?

Post by BuddhaKurt » Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:57 pm

Some lies are for the benefit and welfare of others, which would make it okay. sometimes lies are told by accident. If your intentions are pure, and you are an honest person, your mind will not be tied down to remembering lies. Liars, cheaters, gossipers and secret keepers are tied to a world of suffering. When a person has nothing to hide, is open and honest, the mind is free and a free mind will open (enlightenment.)

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Re: Is it ever O.K. to lie?

Post by BubbaBuddhist » Tue Sep 20, 2011 12:16 am

Ben wrote:
bodom wrote: Unfortunately one cannot hide from kamma in a basement.
Indeed!
Sometimes you have to hide under the bed.

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Re: Is it ever O.K. to lie?

Post by whynotme » Tue Sep 20, 2011 1:49 pm

santa100 wrote:
Whynotme wrote:
A mass murderer is going to kill hundreds of victims by press a button of a bomb, there is a gun and you are the only one could stop him by killing him instantly by a shot, there is no other way to stop him, if he is wounded, he still could trigger the bomb. What is your choice? Remember that you could save hundreds lives, do you kill him? Or do you let hundreds people die?
Need more info. for appropriate action: type of rifle (automatic, semi-automatic, with or without sniper optic scope?), number of rounds available, distance from the mass murderer (point blank, 100-200m, beyond 300m?). If your weapon is automatic, there're plenty of rounds, and distance within 200m, you can aim at the arm and spray it; if it's a sniper rifle, aim at the arm with the optic scope; no automatic weapon, only a few rounds, and within 100m? go for the lower belly, being hit in this area won't kill but cause enough pain to immobilize; beyond 300m? good luck, it's a hit or miss, aim for the trunk since it's a bigger target than the head. Bottom line, try your best to save as many lives as you can (including the mass murderer too, if possible)...
Here is the info:
The murderer has very thick body armor covering all of his body, or he is standing after a wall, the only possible target is the head. Hey, assume you have a sniper rifle and the ability to use it, and the only way is aiming for the head and killing him instantly. Time is counting in seconds, you don't have time to change position to choose other part of body of him because he is going to press the button of the bomb. What will you do, kill him or not?
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Re: Is it ever O.K. to lie?

Post by whynotme » Tue Sep 20, 2011 2:03 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:
Ben wrote:I think this one might be of relevance:

"For the person who transgresses in one thing, I tell you, there is no evil deed that is not to be done. Which one thing? This: telling a deliberate lie."


The person who lies,
who transgress in this one thing,
transcending concern for the world beyond:
there's no evil
he might not do.
— Iti 25
Thing is, though, while this passage warns of a hypothetical evil ("there is no evil he might not do"), in the Gestapo scenario one is committing, or at least abetting, a real and immanent evil by not concealing the family's presence. Since harm is being done in either case, it seems to me one must choose the option that does less harm -- in this case, hiding the family.

We do not know for sure what sort of unwholesomeness might arise from deceiving the Nazis, nor what vipaka would result, but we can be fairly certain about what will happen if the Gestapo find who they're looking for.

It is also questionable whether the lie in this case can be termed "deliberate", since it is occurring under duress. Volition is compromised when someone is pointing a gun to your head.
You forgot one thing, Buddhism is about free from relation, you want to save other lives, it is a good intention but be careful of its relation.

It seems people don't believe in the Teacher, they only believe in their own eyes.

In the suttas, a king said the most loved thing to one is oneself, so your life or other lives, which one do you choose? And in another sutta, Sukkha the king of Devas thought that, even costing his life, he won't lie. Hope that helps.
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Re: Is it ever O.K. to lie?

Post by santa100 » Tue Sep 20, 2011 2:10 pm

Whynotme wrote:
Here is the info:
The murderer has very thick body armor covering all of his body, or he is standing after a wall, the only possible target is the head. Hey, assume you have a sniper rifle and the ability to use it, and the only way is aiming for the head and killing him instantly. Time is counting in seconds, you don't have time to change position to choose other part of body of him because he is going to press the button of the bomb. What will you do, kill him or not?
Well, the key stragetic goal would still be the same: to save many lives including the mass murderer "If Possible". Depends on the situation, we can come up with creative and flexible ways to achieve this goal. Obviously, there'll be a situation where one's really left with no other choice but to squeeze the trigger. By the way, just to spice things up a little bit, given all the premises that you already given, adding that many of your relatives and loved ones (grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, spouse, kids, etc...) are among the hostages. What will YOU do?

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Re: Is it ever O.K. to lie?

Post by whynotme » Tue Sep 20, 2011 2:20 pm

santa100 wrote:
Whynotme wrote:
Here is the info:
The murderer has very thick body armor covering all of his body, or he is standing after a wall, the only possible target is the head. Hey, assume you have a sniper rifle and the ability to use it, and the only way is aiming for the head and killing him instantly. Time is counting in seconds, you don't have time to change position to choose other part of body of him because he is going to press the button of the bomb. What will you do, kill him or not?
Well, the key stragetic goal would still be the same: to save many lives including the mass murderer "If Possible". Depends on the situation, we can come up with creative and flexible ways to achieve this goal. Obviously, there'll be a situation where one's really left with no other choice but to squeeze the trigger. By the way, just to spice things up a little bit, given all the premises that you already given, adding that many of your relatives and loved ones (grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, spouse, kids, etc...) are among the hostages. What will YOU do?
As I already said, I will not pull the trigger, I will not kill him.

Thing is, the stop of the life is not the stop of all things. There is still next life, if they, my loved ones have done good things, I am not worried about them, their next life may be better than this life, I always try to convince them to do good things.

In my view, the stopping of their life isn't different from they taking a hit from a punch, should I tell them to punch back? Should I revenge?

This life is just a flash in the infinity time. Don't worry about the death, let worry if you or other ones you love didn't do good karma to prepare for it (the death).

That is my thought, and what about you, what is your choice?

Regards.
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Re: Is it ever O.K. to lie?

Post by santa100 » Tue Sep 20, 2011 2:30 pm

Whynotme wrote:
santa100 wrote:
Well, the key stragetic goal would still be the same: to save many lives including the mass murderer "If Possible". Depends on the situation, we can come up with creative and flexible ways to achieve this goal. Obviously, there'll be a situation where one's really left with no other choice but to squeeze the trigger. By the way, just to spice things up a little bit, given all the premises that you already given, adding that many of your relatives and loved ones (grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, spouse, kids, etc...) are among the hostages. What will YOU do?
As I already said, I will not pull the trigger, I will not kill him
What????????????????????????????????????? I don't know what else to say..

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Re: Is it ever O.K. to lie?

Post by whynotme » Tue Sep 20, 2011 2:33 pm

santa100 wrote:
Whynotme wrote:
santa100 wrote:
Well, the key stragetic goal would still be the same: to save many lives including the mass murderer "If Possible". Depends on the situation, we can come up with creative and flexible ways to achieve this goal. Obviously, there'll be a situation where one's really left with no other choice but to squeeze the trigger. By the way, just to spice things up a little bit, given all the premises that you already given, adding that many of your relatives and loved ones (grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, spouse, kids, etc...) are among the hostages. What will YOU do?
As I already said, I will not pull the trigger, I will not kill him
What????????????????????????????????????? I don't know what else to say..
Well, it is easier said than done,

But why are you so surprised, this is a Buddhism forum.
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Re: Is it ever O.K. to lie?

Post by santa100 » Tue Sep 20, 2011 2:36 pm

I don't know Whynotme, even in this Buddhist forum, your view is very, what can I say, "unique"...

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Re: Is it ever O.K. to lie?

Post by whynotme » Tue Sep 20, 2011 2:42 pm

santa100 wrote:I don't know Whynotme, even in this Buddhist forum, your view is very, what can I say, "unique"...
So by unique you mean you will kill him?

And I am pretty sure there are people in this forum will not kill in that situation

Regards.
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Re: Is it ever O.K. to lie?

Post by santa100 » Tue Sep 20, 2011 2:46 pm

Then the only way to find out is to make a poll. Again, I'd ask folks to carefully re-read all the premises made by you and the extra premises made by me for the scenario..

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Re: Is it ever O.K. to lie?

Post by DNS » Tue Sep 20, 2011 5:09 pm

This thread is about "Is it ever O.K. to lie?" not about hypothetical situations about killing. Better to take those issues to the following thread or make another one:

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 28&start=0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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