Understanding the fourth precept

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

Post by whynotme » Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:52 am

Dear David,

Thanks for your suggestion.

OK, a bit off topic but I think we're here almost all Buddhists and talk in peace, so no need to rule strictly. And in my opinion, the thing discussed may related to other things, if move it to another threads or start new one it somehow will be nonsense.

Do you expect this topic only talk about is it OK to lie, but don't talk about Buddha, suttas,.. because one could start new threads to talk about those things or easily found similar topics already here?

It is just my opinion,
Regards.
Please stop following me

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

Post by DarwidHalim » Thu Sep 22, 2011 5:14 am

whynotme wrote: The Buddha said what leads to bad actions should be considered bad.
I am not agree with this.

To me, what leads to bad intention should be considered bad.

Action is free and neutral. Lying, killing, and donation are free.

Look at donation. If we think donation is a good action, then donation with the intention to get fame is a good action.
Look at praying. If we think praying is a good action, the praying with the motivation to be looked holy is a good action.

I am not on that kind of understanding.

Let's look at lying. If I see only from the action point of view, lying is bad. But if I see lying with the intention to help others, to me it is a good action.
Same with killing. If I have NO OTHER CHOECES and kill him with the intention to prevent him from making very heavy bad karma, to me it is a good action.

Of course, if I have magic power that can make him doesn't make, I will not kill him. But in the situation, there is no other choices, killing with the good intention, to me is considered good.

We need to be careful here. We cannot lie to karmic law.

We cannot pretend, oh I kill him because I want to help him, but in fact I hate it. This one definitely doesn't work.

I can lie to you, but I cannot lie to myself and nature knows it.
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!

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

Post by whynotme » Thu Sep 22, 2011 5:46 am

DarwidHalim wrote:
whynotme wrote: The Buddha said what leads to bad actions should be considered bad.
I am not agree with this.

To me, what leads to bad intention should be considered bad.

Action is free and neutral. Lying, killing, and donation are free.

Look at donation. If we think donation is a good action, then donation with the intention to get fame is a good action.
Look at praying. If we think praying is a good action, the praying with the motivation to be looked holy is a good action.

I am not on that kind of understanding.

Let's look at lying. If I see only from the action point of view, lying is bad. But if I see lying with the intention to help others, to me it is a good action.
Same with killing. If I have NO OTHER CHOECES and kill him with the intention to prevent him from making very heavy bad karma, to me it is a good action.

Of course, if I have magic power that can make him doesn't make, I will not kill him. But in the situation, there is no other choices, killing with the good intention, to me is considered good.

We need to be careful here. We cannot lie to karmic law.

We cannot pretend, oh I kill him because I want to help him, but in fact I hate it. This one definitely doesn't work.

I can lie to you, but I cannot lie to myself and nature knows it.
I don't care you agree with or not, I just sayin

Have you read the sutta the Buddha did a description how bad action exist in this world? Yes, lying a little thing is sometimes nonsense, but at the social level, it is totally different. Remember that the Buddha has the full view, he knew what is right what is wrong, don't apply your view on his teaching. If he said don't lie, then don't lie, if he said don't kill, then don't kill. If you think you are smarter than him, you know more about this world than him, you better than him, care more about the other than him, then please feel free to do whatever you want

Regards.
Please stop following me

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

Post by DarwidHalim » Thu Sep 22, 2011 5:53 am

whynotme wrote:
DarwidHalim wrote:
whynotme wrote: The Buddha said what leads to bad actions should be considered bad.
I am not agree with this.

To me, what leads to bad intention should be considered bad.

Action is free and neutral. Lying, killing, and donation are free.

Look at donation. If we think donation is a good action, then donation with the intention to get fame is a good action.
Look at praying. If we think praying is a good action, the praying with the motivation to be looked holy is a good action.

I am not on that kind of understanding.

Let's look at lying. If I see only from the action point of view, lying is bad. But if I see lying with the intention to help others, to me it is a good action.
Same with killing. If I have NO OTHER CHOECES and kill him with the intention to prevent him from making very heavy bad karma, to me it is a good action.

Of course, if I have magic power that can make him doesn't make, I will not kill him. But in the situation, there is no other choices, killing with the good intention, to me is considered good.

We need to be careful here. We cannot lie to karmic law.

We cannot pretend, oh I kill him because I want to help him, but in fact I hate it. This one definitely doesn't work.

I can lie to you, but I cannot lie to myself and nature knows it.
I don't care you agree with or not, I just sayin

Have you read the sutta the Buddha did a description how bad action exist in this world? Yes, lying a little thing is sometimes nonsense, but at the social level, it is totally different. Remember that the Buddha has the full view, he knew what is right what is wrong, don't apply your view on his teaching. If he said don't lie, then don't lie, if he said don't kill, then don't kill. If you think you are smarter than him, you know more about this world than him, you better than him, care more about the other than him, then please feel free to do whatever you want

Regards.
OK, then if you have reached arahant state or buddha state, what will you do? Lie or not? :jumping: :jumping: :jumping:
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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acinteyyo
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Re: Is it ever O.K. to lie?

Post by acinteyyo » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:50 am

DarwidHalim wrote:To me, what leads to bad intention should be considered bad. Action is free and neutral. Lying, killing, and donation are free.
Nibbedhika Sutta
ANVI.63 wrote:"Intention, I tell you, is action (kamma). Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, & intellect."
"And what is the cause by which kamma comes into play? Contact is the cause by which kamma comes into play.
best wishes, acinteyyo
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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

Post by DarwidHalim » Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:04 am

acinteyyo wrote:
DarwidHalim wrote:To me, what leads to bad intention should be considered bad. Action is free and neutral. Lying, killing, and donation are free.
Nibbedhika Sutta
ANVI.63 wrote:"Intention, I tell you, is action (kamma). Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, & intellect."
"And what is the cause by which kamma comes into play? Contact is the cause by which kamma comes into play.
best wishes, acinteyyo
Uh yeah, I think I should use the word called motivation, instead of intention. Any quote from Pali if I choose motivation instead of intention? :jumping: :jumping:

"Intention, I tell you, is action (kamma)"

a) I intend to eat.
b) I am eating.

a = b ? :thinking:
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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acinteyyo
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Re: Is it ever O.K. to lie?

Post by acinteyyo » Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:22 am

DarwidHalim wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:
DarwidHalim wrote:To me, what leads to bad intention should be considered bad. Action is free and neutral. Lying, killing, and donation are free.
Nibbedhika Sutta
ANVI.63 wrote:"Intention, I tell you, is action (kamma). Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, & intellect."
"And what is the cause by which kamma comes into play? Contact is the cause by which kamma comes into play.
best wishes, acinteyyo
Uh yeah, I think I should use the word called motivation, instead of intention. Any quote from Pali if I choose motivation instead of intention? :jumping: :jumping:
I just wanted to show you the connection between contact, intention and action. You said "action is free and neutral". But according to this sutta, action is not free from intention.
DarwidHalim wrote:"Intention, I tell you, is action (kamma)"

a) I intend to eat.
b) I am eating.

a = b ? :thinking:
a is a and b is b, but for example intending (a) one does kamma by way of body, speech & intellect (b)

best wishes, acinteyyo
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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

Post by DarwidHalim » Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:38 am

I see. May be there is a misunderstanding.

When I say action is free, What I mean free is free from label good, bad, or neutral. Not free from intention.

I should write Action is free from label good, bad, or neutral.

The sutta, which you quote: show the relationship between contact, intention and action. So they are 3 different things, which always present when we do something. It doesn't mean they are same. Only inseparable.

Quite interesting. :jumping:
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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acinteyyo
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Re: Is it ever O.K. to lie?

Post by acinteyyo » Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:57 am

DarwidHalim wrote:When I say action is free, What I mean free is free from label good, bad, or neutral. Not free from intention.
I should write Action is free from label good, bad, or neutral.
ah okay... I see. But still one thing:
Nidana Sutta
AN3.33 wrote:Where that action ripens, there one will experience its fruit, either in this very life that has arisen or further along in the sequence.
action (kamma) bears fruits (kamma-vipaka) and accordingly it can be labeled as wholesome action, unwholsome action and neutral action.
See Kamma and its Fruit for more info.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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

Post by Claudia » Thu Sep 22, 2011 12:54 pm

I take my vows (Silas) very, very seriously and I really try to keep them strictly.

But if it ever would happen, that a Neo-Nazi would stand in front of my door and ask if my african adopted daughter or my african and disabled foster daughter is here, I definitly would lie and say "no" to protect my children (and then I would call the police instantly).

We had a situation like this just a few months ago and it was alarming. I was not in the situation to lie, but it could have happened. I just had not been in this situation to lie, because I called the police before the young and violent people were able to asked me (my daughter recognized them and alarmed me).

To me it would have been o.k. to lie in this situation - if I made bad khamma, so I have to pay for it.

I would lie if I'd say: I would never lie.
Many greetings from

Claudia

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

Post by Lazy_eye » Thu Sep 22, 2011 1:13 pm

whynotme wrote: 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.
In the Gestapo scenario, other lives are at stake. It's not only about saving one's own life.

It's one thing to say "I will keep the precept even at the cost of my life." It's quite another to say "I will keep the precept, even at the cost of their lives."

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

Post by santa100 » Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:30 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:
It's one thing to say "I will keep the precept even at the cost of my life." It's quite another to say "I will keep the precept, even at the cost of their lives."
Nicely put!

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

Post by DNS » Thu Sep 22, 2011 5:33 pm

Lazy_eye wrote: In the Gestapo scenario, other lives are at stake. It's not only about saving one's own life.

It's one thing to say "I will keep the precept even at the cost of my life." It's quite another to say "I will keep the precept, even at the cost of their lives."
Exactly. In one way, it might even be considered 'selfish' to not lie. If the main motivation was so that you don't get any bad kamma by not breaking the precept and tell the truth and let the Gestapo know where the Jews or minorities are hiding, then your concern is for your kamma and not the welfare of others.

But by lying, you are preventing the death of innocents and possibly putting your own life in jeopardy, if you get caught. In such a case you are acting out of compassion and I think that is wholesome, not unwholesome. It is important to understand the Letter and Spirit of the teachings. By focusing too much on the letter, the spirit can be lost and one might do things which could cause death and murder, as in this example.

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

Post by daverupa » Thu Sep 22, 2011 6:31 pm

It's almost as if one's intention matters...
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

Tom
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Would this break the fourth precept?

Post by Tom » Tue Apr 23, 2013 4:31 am

If you say to someone "I never eat pasta without sauce", meaning you hardly eat pasta without sauce, not literally never, would this be a breach of the fourth precept?

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Re: Would this break the fourth precept?

Post by polarbear101 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 4:43 am

It depends on how strictly you want to take the 4th precept. I would say that it is, because the precepts don't just provide us with good kamma or provide safety for other beings, but they also allow the mind to be more honest with itself and exaggeration works against that. Hindsight is 20/20, and the fact that you're asking this question shows that you've reflected on your action/speech which is a praiseworthy thing. So next time, maybe you could just say, "I almost never eat pasta without sauce" and then there's no way you would question whether you broke the precept.

Metta

:anjali:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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Ben
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Re: Would this break the fourth precept?

Post by Ben » Tue Apr 23, 2013 4:51 am

Unless you were intentionally attempting to deceive someone, you might be guilty of not being very mindful of your communication style.
Its always good to be as precise as possible when using language, but sometimes we fall into habitual modes of expression.
The fourth precept has four factors:
atatham-vatthu — a falsehood.
visam-vadana-cittam — the intention to speak a falsehood.
tajjo vayamo — the effort is made.
parassa ta-dattha-vijananam — others understand what was said.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ha.html#qa
All four factors need to be present for a breach of the fourth precept to occur.
kind regards,

Ben
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in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
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barcsimalsi
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Re: Would this break the fourth precept?

Post by barcsimalsi » Tue Apr 23, 2013 4:54 am

ccharles wrote:If you say to someone "I never eat pasta without sauce", meaning you hardly eat pasta without sauce, not literally never, would this be a breach of the fourth precept?
Don't think so. Because there's no intention to lie, it's just a habitual speech from your local language.

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Re: Would this break the fourth precept?

Post by Buckwheat » Tue Apr 23, 2013 3:28 pm

ccharles wrote:If you say to someone "I never eat pasta without sauce", meaning you hardly eat pasta without sauce, not literally never, would this be a breach of the fourth precept?
Did the listener understand what you really meant?
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

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daverupa
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Re: Would this break the fourth precept?

Post by daverupa » Sat Apr 27, 2013 4:01 pm

Buckwheat wrote:
ccharles wrote:If you say to someone "I never eat pasta without sauce", meaning you hardly eat pasta without sauce, not literally never, would this be a breach of the fourth precept?
Did the listener understand what you really meant?
Was there an intention to mislead (false speech), or is the idiom frivolous (idle speech)?

Does the fourth precept make reference to the four speech acts referred to in kammapatha, or is it to be understood as only one of those four?
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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