Lying: Is it Acceptable?

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Soma999
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Re: Lying; Is it Acceptable?

Post by Soma999 » Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:29 am

Any good idea taken as a rigid rules which has to been followed blindly can lead to harm and suffering.
I guess it's better to see them as guidelines.

I saw a japanese sect who had very good ideas about nature and everything. Great. But they took it as a rigid law and can not change even when circonstances invites them strongly to adapt and adopt new ways of thinking. Then, it creates problems.

One situation that arrived, was someone who asked a question. The point was that the person was going to commit an extremly negative act if the answer to his question was "no". If the person who was asked this question did not perceive the issue behind the situation, and answered too francly, it would have had huge consequences. So, he "lied" a little, and avoided a very negative outcome.

It's always good to adapt. All the rules help us to live a good life. But when the rules go againt intelligence and common sense, it should be adapted.

That's my point of view.

shaunc
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Re: Lying; Is it Acceptable?

Post by shaunc » Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:07 am

For any action there will be certain karmic consequences,sometimes good, sometimes not so good. The question we have to ask ourselves is what is most likely to deliver the type of karmic consequences we can live with.
Also remember that the buddha advised that sometimes it's best to remain silent.

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well wisher
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Re: Lying; Is it Acceptable?

Post by well wisher » Sat Mar 02, 2019 1:58 am

https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/job-in ... -1.5034623
"In job interviews, 100% of respondents willing to stretch the truth, study finds "

It seems in many modern materialistic culture with too much high-expectations for wealth and materialistic comforts, plus competitions for better paying jobs means that: sometimes the more aggressive folks might win out in cut-throat heartless corporatism, where boasting and exaggerations (types of lying) are more of the accepted norm. It seems that it is harder to be truthful when greed/jealousy/ pride is involved.

I guess it also depends on how strictly you want to define honesty. There might always be more greedier or harsher people who makes habits of calling other people liars, to just boast, even in situations that might not warrant it.

Thus I agree that in many situations, the noble silence is truly the best policy, especially if unsure.
Otherwise I think in other normal ordinary basic or harmless situations, when there's no conflict of interest involved, then it becomes easy to just tell the simple truth to help out others, etc.
All the more important for us Buddhists to continue diligent efforts in our Buddhist practices, so that we may transcend the flaws of the materialistic world filled with greed, lies and confusions.

Like when I am meditating or sleeping quietly at home, I would not have to worry about stress or pitfalls of possibly lying to other people, intentionally or not :smile:

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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Lying; Is it Acceptable?

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Sat Mar 02, 2019 5:53 am

A lot depends on one's motivation.
Is there an intent to deceive,
or are you just "guarding the truth"?
.
.
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Profile Picture: "The Fo Ming (Buddha Bright) Monk"
People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.

stevie
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Re: Lying; Is it Acceptable?

Post by stevie » Sat Mar 02, 2019 7:08 am

Seek wrote:
Fri Mar 02, 2018 4:28 pm
How many believe that lying is acceptable IF it is done to prevent hurting another human being?
If someone seeks shelter and hides in a house because she/he is hunted by bad people who want to harm her/him and I know where this person is and these bad people ask me 'Is this person in this house?' then lying 'No' is not only acceptable but a must.

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Nemo
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Re: Lying: Is it Acceptable?

Post by Nemo » Sat Mar 02, 2019 7:16 pm

Negative actions almost always have unexpected consequences in the real world. How has lying worked out for you in the real world with people important to you? Mental gymnastics are fun sometimes. But in the real world having to choose between two terrible choices usually ends up being a steaming pile of crap. I was in the army and know this dilemma intimately. Once you lie you are a liar and untrustworthy. This may not matter today, but it probably will tomorrow. Most gangsters I knew didn't believe crimes were crimes unless you were caught. "Nobody can prove anything." You would need the wisdom of Manjushri to walk this road and you will likely be misunderstood and alone. Good luck with that.

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well wisher
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Re: Lying: Is it Acceptable?

Post by well wisher » Sat Mar 02, 2019 11:07 pm

It seems the real challenges comes when one is a tricky situation to try and pick the "lesser evil" out of multiple undesirable bad choices, and to weight one's own interest against others involved.

But the fact is some deeds are more heinous than others. In my opinion: murder & rape & mugging with bodily harm are much more heinous crimes than compared to lies or minor faults with speech.
And if the lie can help prevent those more heinous deeds from happening, then why not? It could actually end up as a positive!
Also good to think about why many countries law have to most severe punishments for murder, but lesser punishments for lies unless it actually leads to big damages.

Yes lying or misleading deeds might damage one's own reputation and credit ratings, but I think it can be repaired over time, and is easier to repair than actual acts of murder / rape / mugging.
So the above posts regarding intention seems very important too; as long as you do not intend to mislead others into committing more serious crimes or harm to their self or others, then whatever you speak should not lead to severely bad consequences.
Also what do you think about jokes and fictional forms entertainment (like tv & movies) to lighten the mood?
Do you consider those as lies deviant from the "truth" reality? If one knows those are fictional ahead of time, it wouldn't be a outright lie, right?

Anyways I will confess I am not entirely honest when it comes to money conflicts.
But I don't want to spoil others, or to let others to think I am an easy target to take money from, I don't want to become an abused cash cow.
Like the time when I argued with my former landlord about being over-charged on property damages during harsh winter, who or what caused it. So I ended up telling half truths and omitting some details, like "I cannot remember the past too clearly".
And bartering in flea-markets or street stalls, where store keepers and customers calling each other liars in terms price fairness seems to happen more often than not. So in my opinion, it seems lying is like the more accepted norm in modern day society when money and greed is involved.
The "truth" becomes very subjective to personal opinions in terms of the finer details, especially when price tags are involved.

Anyways I am ready to take the financial hit, as my goal in life is not to be come the richest man or to over-indulge in worldly luxury anyways; I just want enough money for basic needs like food and shelter along the way.
Hopefully the Karmic punishment on me is limited only to my purse, and the punishment is of appropriate scoping and just, and not too overly harsh.

I just really dislike greedy /selfish /ego-centrist people who enjoys guilt-tripping others by calling others as "dishonest to the last tiniest details" for their own selfish goals, wielding their own obsession with their own version as truth as the one and only truth.
It feels like an unjustified witch-hunt to me.

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TharpaChodron
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Re: Lying: Is it Acceptable?

Post by TharpaChodron » Sun Mar 03, 2019 3:10 am

You might want to check out Columbia U's study on lies, or specifically secrets, Keepingsecrets.org

Truth is most people will lie or keep secrets, and why they do is interesting. What I find curious is that we have dominant cultural norms that tell us how we should behave, but reality doesn't meet our societal expectations, creating a cognitive dissonance that people struggle with, often unnecessarily. My truth is what Tennessee Williams wrote in "Night of the Iguana," - the only behavior I see that's ugly or wrong in humanity is unkindness.

Daizan
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Re: Lying; Is it Acceptable?

Post by Daizan » Sun Mar 03, 2019 6:27 am

Yavana wrote:
Sat Mar 03, 2018 10:55 am
MatthewAngby wrote:
Sat Mar 03, 2018 9:41 am
Grigoris wrote:
Fri Mar 02, 2018 5:21 pm
Whether it is acceptable or not is irrelevant, either way there will be karmic consequences (vipaka).

Any action executed from a self-centred view is going to have stronger negative consequences.
Why would lying be a bad karmic consequence ? Can u elaborate more?
Suppose you had a girlfriend that you were unfaithful to several times. She discovers that you lied to her and leaves you, and so you gain a reputation as a womanizer. Because you have gained such a reputation, many women of dubious intent pursue you constantly, and your next girlfriend is always jealous and physically fights other women over you.

This is cause and effect.
This is self-contradictory, being faithful and honest so you won’t be constantly pursued by women with dubious intent [I should be so lucky!] and have jelly aggressive girlfriends, is necessarily a self-interested point of view and, according to Grigoris‘s theory, will result in negative consequences.

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catmoon
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Re: Lying: Is it Acceptable?

Post by catmoon » Sun Mar 03, 2019 8:55 am

There are self centred actions that are virtuous. Seeking enlightenment is one of them. Any attempt at self improvement is going to be somewhat self centred. Although such attempts can spiral down into narcissism, the can also spiral up, leading to kindness, compassion and a commitment to ending suffering.

Suppose you were, oh, pick something at random, say a Greek pastry chef or something. Such a person might spend most of the hours in a day immersed the mechanics of making baklava. Suppose he finds a way to make baklava more efficiently without sacrificing quality. This means more Greek people will be happily munching baklava, and while they are doing that they are not overthrowing governments, starting civil wars or planting bombs.

The pastry chef has clearly benefitted himself and his country. But if the same chef did the same thing just because he wanted to be rich and famous, the above mentioned benefits to society would still apply. There would actually be some positive karma attached to a somewhat selfish action.
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.

stevie
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Re: Lying: Is it Acceptable?

Post by stevie » Sun Mar 03, 2019 10:37 am

[1] In the case of words that the Tathagata 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 Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.

[3] In the case of words that the Tathagata 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 Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.

[5] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.

[6] In the case of words that the Tathagata 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 Tathagata has sympathy for living beings."
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

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well wisher
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Re: Lying: Is it Acceptable?

Post by well wisher » Sun Mar 03, 2019 2:14 pm

TharpaChodron wrote:
Sun Mar 03, 2019 3:10 am
You might want to check out Columbia U's study on lies, or specifically secrets, Keepingsecrets.org

Truth is most people will lie or keep secrets, and why they do is interesting. What I find curious is that we have dominant cultural norms that tell us how we should behave, but reality doesn't meet our societal expectations, creating a cognitive dissonance that people struggle with, often unnecessarily. My truth is what Tennessee Williams wrote in "Night of the Iguana," - the only behavior I see that's ugly or wrong in humanity is unkindness.
Very interesting link, thanks for sharing TharpaChodron. I think its a good point your brought up regarding secrets versus lies:
I personally don't think holding secrets or withholding some facts as equating to lies.
I think its actually valid self-defense against possibly overly annoying and selifsh inquisitors!
"Mind you own business" is a good defensive phrase.
I guess some secrets might be unavoidable due to all the Samsara and unwanted sufferings in each of our life.
catmoon wrote:
Sun Mar 03, 2019 8:55 am
Suppose you were, oh, pick something at random, say a Greek pastry chef or something. Such a person might spend most of the hours in a day immersed the mechanics of making baklava. Suppose he finds a way to make baklava more efficiently without sacrificing quality. This means more Greek people will be happily munching baklava, and while they are doing that they are not overthrowing governments, starting civil wars or planting bombs.
Haha, very nice and colorful analogy & imaginative scenario catmoon! I totally agree that bakery is a much safer and beneficial profession overall, compared to war-making and professional killers.
Great general Theravadin guide regarding right speech, but I must have read it myself too many times already.
I do agree it's great guide overall, but it just feels somewhat lacking in details, and possibly not flexible to accommodate the more complex interpersonal conflicts scenarios in a more crowded setting.
For example, I have trouble determining exactly what is "beneficial" to others, as each person's own interests and each version of truths (each ) all seem to deviate at some point, as in the relative truths.
Then again, the noble silence is truly a great fall-back, if nothing else! Although being too silent all the time wouldn't be much help either in situations that does call for some speaking out, like scientific surveys... etc.
Maybe friendly light-asking is a good start?
Otherwise: solitary reclusion to minimize interactions with other people to play it safe?

Perhaps some social expectations and norms and customs, like the overly-polite ones regarding how nobles (eg. royalty & presidents & chancellors) should speak, become overly-strict silly games with little actual use for a commoner's everyday life?
Overly clinging and attachments to social some norms and "idealism" is a form of greed on idealism & expectaions, and is a bad mental fetter, right?
I think we should embrace diversity and temporary disagreements as great learning experiences, rather than forcing some ideals and expectations on the general population.

https://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.c ... hallenging
"The 4th precept is difficult as it requires us to hold our tongue when angry and to never lie for our own benefit. Both of these things are hard to keep to, due to the defilements of the mind (greed, hatred and delusion)".

I also find the 4th precept to be the hardest and most challenging one. So yeah, what a dilemma!

stevie
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Re: Lying: Is it Acceptable?

Post by stevie » Mon Mar 04, 2019 7:59 am

well wisher wrote:
Sun Mar 03, 2019 2:14 pm
Great general Theravadin guide regarding right speech, but I must have read it myself too many times already.
I do agree it's great guide overall, but it just feels somewhat lacking in details, and possibly not flexible to accommodate the more complex interpersonal conflicts scenarios in a more crowded setting.
For example, I have trouble determining exactly what is "beneficial" to others, as each person's own interests and each version of truths (each ) all seem to deviate at some point, as in the relative truths.
If it's lack in details it is because it refers to the Tathagata. What is so special about the Tathagata? It reads: 'Because the Tathagata has sympathy for living beings.' which would be translated into Mahayana as 'Because the Tathagata has Great Compassion.' Great Compassion is not ordinary wordly compassion.

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well wisher
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Re: Lying: Is it Acceptable?

Post by well wisher » Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:59 am

stevie wrote:
Mon Mar 04, 2019 7:59 am
If it's lack in details it is because it refers to the Tathagata. What is so special about the Tathagata? It reads: 'Because the Tathagata has sympathy for living beings.' which would be translated into Mahayana as 'Because the Tathagata has Great Compassion.' Great Compassion is not ordinary wordly compassion.
Well, fair enough, its definitely a great ideal to aim for!
Anyways seeing how many dharma paths suggests to seek within, and not without, I suppose nothing beats actual experience then! Different "beneficial" solutions for different scenarios. Trial and error, if nothing else.
Of course, sometimes advice from teachers / friends / family can help a lot for references!

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Re: Lying: Is it Acceptable?

Post by Kuluru » Sat Mar 09, 2019 2:07 pm

stevie wrote:
Sun Mar 03, 2019 10:37 am
[1] In the case of words that the Tathagata 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 Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.

[3] In the case of words that the Tathagata 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 Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.

[5] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.

[6] In the case of words that the Tathagata 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 Tathagata has sympathy for living beings."
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
While "factual, true" words (2, 3, 5, 6) can be either "beneficial" (3, 6) or "unbeneficial" (2, 5), in case of "unfactual, untrue" words (1, 4) no such distinction is made, they are all "unbeneficial" (1, 4).

KiwiNFLFan
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Re: Lying: Is it Acceptable?

Post by KiwiNFLFan » Mon Mar 11, 2019 11:57 pm

What would you say about the classic Nazi conundrum - it's WWII and you're hiding Jews in your house. Some Nazi officers come to your door and ask you if you're hiding any Jews in your house. What do you say?

As an ex-Catholic, I remember a Catholic answer being along the line of "there are no Jewish dogs in this house". That is technically true. The Catholic position, however, is that lying is always wrong and that evil (here: telling a lie) can never be done so that good may result (here: the saving of lives). The big difference being that Catholic (and Christian) laws and commandments are a reflection of God's moral character and that breaking them offends God.

boda
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Re: Lying: Is it Acceptable?

Post by boda » Tue Mar 12, 2019 12:30 am

Seek wrote:
Fri Mar 02, 2018 4:28 pm
How many believe that lying is acceptable IF it is done to prevent hurting another human being?
When a person lies they’re keeping the truth hidden. Many do this because they’re ashamed of themselves and ashamed of how the community will perceive them. They hide the truth to prevent their ego from being hurt. This is an evil way to live.

£$&^@
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Re: Lying: Is it Acceptable?

Post by £$&^@ » Tue Mar 12, 2019 12:55 pm

A story from the Sufi tradition.

Nasruddin the Holy Fool is debating with the local Sharif. The Sharif is saying that truth is simple and clear and that one is either lying or telling the truth.
Nasruddin says that things are more nuanced than that.
The Sharif replies that Nasruddin's view is mere sophistry.." I will demonstrate how simple it actually is" he says." I will build a gallows and send for prisoners from the town jail, one by one I will ask them a question, If they lie I will hang them. We will see how nuanced that is!"
Nasruddin agrees as long as he can be the first man to be interrogated.

He steps up to the gallows. " Where are you going this morning?" asks the Sharif.
" To be hung on those gallows" replies the Fool.
" No you are not!" splutters the Sharif.
" Well then I have lied and you had better hang me" says Nasruddin.
" But that would make it true!" Shouts the Sharif.
" Exactly so" replies Nasruddin," your truth"...
My name is Simon John Ellis. Husband of a Buddhist wife. Father of a Buddhist son. And I will have Enlightenment in this life or the next.

( Or the next..or the next....)

DharmaN00b
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Re: Lying: Is it Acceptable?

Post by DharmaN00b » Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:49 pm

There's a difference between lying and making a mistake. (Devils in the details)

deirdre
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Re: Lying: Is it Acceptable?

Post by deirdre » Wed Mar 13, 2019 10:12 pm

If people practiced appropriately, there would be no 'but in this situation, you're going to save someone', because at no point would there ever arise the situation where someone's life was at risk where lying would save the person. We must take into consideration the entire purpose of the 8-fold path and what the outcome of practicing it is.

Lies and deception seem to be one of the things wherein the negative karma may take a lot longer to ripen than something like physical violence. Perpetuated lies can be spread over generations, their negative karma slowly eating away at a society or culture. They are in part responsible for prejudices we may carry with us. To believe an untruth means the individual will act in accordance to that untruth. This may cause all sorts of strife as they believe a falsehood, never questioning it. It may become so embedded to that person's identity that when confronted with even hard evidence to the contrary, they cling to the untruth despite experiencing pain by doing so, or despite inflicting pain upon others when doing so.

Someone who perceives themselves to have gained something by lying is definitely in an ego-centric view, and is someone who is clearly running in a samsaric path.

My psychology background likes the label of 'cognitive dissonance' as being the internal state that grows with lies.

The past few months of my life have been inondated with people lying to me continually, the deception is near-constant. Without my meditation expertise I think I would be dead from the gaslighting. It is psychological torture.

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