Understanding the fourth precept

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
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Annapurna
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Re: Are white lies acceptable?

Post by Annapurna » Wed Jul 14, 2010 8:01 pm

SDC wrote: But sometimes a spouse wants to know if they still meet the standard that attracted you to them in the first place
What a good observation! And what were those standards?

Just looks....? Then we have a problem, because looks will wane.

But if a relationships was based on inner values, then we don't, because inner values increase as we age, together. Not just one of the two.

a standard of brutal honesty is very important between a husband and wife.
Ouch....! :o

I hope fate will never give me a husband that is brutally honest, much rather one that has loving kindness...!

5 factors of right speech...

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kc2dpt
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Re: Are white lies acceptable?

Post by kc2dpt » Wed Jul 14, 2010 8:08 pm

Stefan wrote:Are white lies acceptable?
Acceptable to whom? As we have seen in this thread, some people find them acceptable and some people don't. :shrug:

Are you meaning to ask a dhamma question? If so, do you mean "Are white lies ever wholesome? Or is any kind of lie unwholesome?"
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

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Annapurna
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Re: Are white lies acceptable?

Post by Annapurna » Wed Jul 14, 2010 8:27 pm

Mukunda wrote:
PeterB wrote:A white lie is not always about the speakers best interest as they see it. What would you do if a Nazi officer asked you in 1942 if you had any little girls called Anne Frank in your attic ?
Respond with "Why on earth would you think such a thing?" Of course, if he really did ask the question as you posed it, chances are very good he already knows she's there, so where's the benefit in lying?
:tongue:

I would have said:

"Dozens."



Bluff... :tongue:

Speaking of....I was once controlled by the police when I had 3 intoxicated guys in the car with me, who had illegal substances with them. (Which I was not aware of, until they tried to hide them when they saw the police.)

They asked me, the driver, if everything was ok, which was of course sweet.

So I said:" yes", smiled a really big smile, and said, with a strict look at the guys: "Sure. If you enjoy a drunk boyfriend and 2 of his friends, meowing pathfinder songs, you're having a jolly good time."

The policemen grinned and backed off, while the guys were in cold sweat...

:rofl:

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Stiphan
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Re: Are white lies acceptable?

Post by Stiphan » Wed Jul 14, 2010 8:36 pm

Peter wrote:
Stefan wrote:Are white lies acceptable?
Are you meaning to ask a dhamma question? If so, do you mean "Are white lies ever wholesome? Or is any kind of lie unwholesome?"
Exactly.

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SDC
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Re: Are white lies acceptable?

Post by SDC » Wed Jul 14, 2010 8:36 pm

Annapurna wrote:
SDC wrote: But sometimes a spouse wants to know if they still meet the standard that attracted you to them in the first place
What a good observation! And what were those standards?

Just looks....? Then we have a problem, because looks will wane.

But if a relationships was based on inner values, then we don't, because inner values increase as we age, together. Not just one of the two.

a standard of brutal honesty is very important between a husband and wife.
Ouch....! :o

I hope fate will never give me a husband that is brutally honest, much rather one that has loving kindness...!

5 factors of right speech...
Well it depends. Some women/men want there husbands/wives to be attracted to them sexually more than intellectually or spiritually. So its going to vary greatly person to person. Sometimes partners depend on each other to tell them how they see them so there is an idea how the rest of the world sees them. You have to know each other. The better you do the better you both choose your words.

As far as the brutal honesty part, that depends too. My wife and I made an agreement soon after we met about 11 years ago, that we would not hesitate to tell each other what we think of the other person. Although its helped, its definitely created some nasty arguments along the way. So we've had to be careful with that and learn what helps and what hurts. I just think that since we chose to live our lives together, we need keep everything in the open.

I guess using the word "brutal" may have been misleading. There is no goal of harming the other person. In the end you want everything that you choose to say to benefit both parties. That being the goal, there are definitely things that don't get said.

Sorry for taking the discussion a bit off topic.

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jcsuperstar
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Re: Are white lies acceptable?

Post by jcsuperstar » Wed Jul 14, 2010 9:20 pm

the Buddha taught us to do what is skillful and not what is unskillful. if one uses skillful speech one never has to lie.

Q. does my butt look fat in these?
A. you know, i like the black dress better, really turns me on

or whatever

you never really have to lie if you can use a little mindfulness and know who you're talking to

resorting to lying (in these types of situations), even white lies is a sign of a lack of skill more than it is a moral dilemma.

the Nazi thing may be a bit different but i'm sure there is a skillful way out of this situation as well, fortunately for me I've never had to be in such a situation so i am not well equipped to give advice about hiding Jews from Nazis.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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SDC
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Re: Are white lies acceptable?

Post by SDC » Wed Jul 14, 2010 9:50 pm

jcsuperstar wrote:you never really have to lie if you can use a little mindfulness and know who you're talking to

resorting to lying (in these types of situations), even white lies is a sign of a lack of skill more than it is a moral dilemma.
Well said, jc.

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Wind
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Re: Are white lies acceptable?

Post by Wind » Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:24 am

For the Jews and Nazi case: If they come knocking at my door, and ask me if I am hiding any Jews. My reply would be "You may search if you want. But be careful not to wake the dog, he might bite"

This way i am being honest and the reverse psychology might be more effective, plus the idea of getting biting by my dog will make him think twice of coming in. If you lie about it and they detect a sense of nervousness, they will come in regardless of what you say. So the best thing is not to raise suspicion.

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JeffR
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Re: Are white lies acceptable?

Post by JeffR » Thu Jul 15, 2010 2:33 am

If you lie about it and they detect a sense of nervousness, they will come in regardless of what you say.
I believe this is exactly how the Frank family was discovered by the Nazi's.

To answer the original OP question: No.
Therein what are 'six (types of) disrespect'? One dwells without respect, without deference for the Teacher; one dwells without respect, without deference for the Teaching; one dwells without respect, without deference for the Order; one dwells without respect, without deference for the precepts; one dwells without respect, without deference for heedfulness; one dwells without respect, without deference for hospitality. These are six (types of) disrespect.
:Vibh 945

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kc2dpt
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Re: Are white lies acceptable?

Post by kc2dpt » Thu Jul 15, 2010 4:07 am

Stefan wrote:
Peter wrote:
Stefan wrote:Are white lies acceptable?
Are you meaning to ask a dhamma question? If so, do you mean "Are white lies ever wholesome? Or is any kind of lie unwholesome?"
Exactly.
I have never read any scripture in which the Buddha calls lying wholesome; it is only ever called unwholesome. I have never read of a case where the Buddha says "in this case lying is good".

Keep in mind that the hypothetical actions in this thread are really multiple actions bundled together. So there is the intention to protect someone from harm or the intention to protect someone's feelings - these are wholesome and will therefore produce good fruits. Then there is also the intention to deceive - this is unwholesome and will therefore produce bad fruits.

This is likely what the scriptures refer to as mixed kamma.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

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Stiphan
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Re: Are white lies acceptable?

Post by Stiphan » Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:11 am

Thank you Peter.

But is it possible to avoid the unwholesome completely in these situations?

PeterB
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Re: Are white lies acceptable?

Post by PeterB » Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:38 am

The centipede was happy quite
until a toad in fun said
"pray which leg goes after which ?
Which worked his mind to such a pitch
he lay distracted in a ditch, considering how to run .

I think we can overthink things Stefan. We should not act thoughtlessly.
But neither should we attempt to have a strategy for all of life's possibilities.
The guidelines that Anna quoted "The Five Keys To Right Speech" will serve us for most situations.
Its a matter of reflecting on them and seeing how they best apply to any given situation.

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Zom
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Re: Are white lies acceptable?

Post by Zom » Thu Jul 15, 2010 6:21 pm

Telling truth is the option -)

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kc2dpt
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Re: Are white lies acceptable?

Post by kc2dpt » Thu Jul 15, 2010 6:58 pm

Stefan wrote:But is it possible to avoid the unwholesome completely in these situations?
I already answered this to the best of my ability.

I have never read any scripture in which the Buddha calls lying wholesome; it is only ever called unwholesome. I have never read of a case where the Buddha says "in this case lying is good".
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

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Goedert
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Re: Are white lies acceptable?

Post by Goedert » Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:43 am

No. Silence is acceptable.

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