Is it ever ok to lie?

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Ervin
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Is it ever ok to lie?

Post by Ervin »

If by lying you are saving a life or helping someone not to suffer for instance, then would it be justified?

Thanks
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Ayu
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Re: Is it ever ok to lie?

Post by Ayu »

Yes.

Most "normal" lies are just for convenience, which is a fault.
The main motivation for deeds should be compassion. Thus it would be very self-centered, if I would not like to take the suffering of the bad karma of a little lie, in order to prevent a much bigger suffering of another persons death.
Also, I suppose, this coldheartedness (to say the truth even at the cost of somebody else's life) would accumulate even worse karma for me.
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:
Ervin
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Re: Is it ever ok to lie?

Post by Ervin »

In a book written by Hsing Yan called "Being Good, Buddhist ethics for everyday life" it say to tell the truth no matter what, iregardles of the consequences.

What would be your thoughts on that?

Thanks
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Zhen Li
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Re: Is it ever ok to lie?

Post by Zhen Li »

You have to keep in mind the audience.

The Buddhist texts which do provide allowance for telling lies are for people fairly advanced in understanding and practice. The examples given in which this is allowed are also fairly extreme. For some of these see the Upayakausalya Sutra. These are usually life or death situations, or situations where the listener's faith in the Dharma is at stake (as in the Lotus Sutra). Also, if there is an emergency situation where saying something might cause a panic, and one can say something else that won't cause a panic and result in people's lives being saved, then these are the kinds of extreme circumstances in which such a thing might be allowed.

In everyday circumstances, there should not be allowance for lying. If we are in an everyday situation where we have to lie, we should know that we probably did something wrong. Holding ourselves to always tell the truth is a good way of keeping our behaviour in order. That way, we never have to report bad news and have the temptation to not tell the truth.
Fortyeightvows
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Re: Is it ever ok to lie?

Post by Fortyeightvows »

Ervin wrote:In a book written by Hsing Yan called "Being Good, Buddhist ethics for everyday life" it say to tell the truth no matter what, iregardles of the consequences.

What would be your thoughts on that?

Thanks
One thing to keep in mind is that telling the truth does not bring negative concequences, any negative consequence comes from a past wrongdoing.

The same way stealing does not bring wealth. Any money which one has stolen comes from a past act of generosity, and the act of stealing is sowing the seeds for future problems.
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avisitor
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Re: Is it ever ok to lie?

Post by avisitor »

Is it ever ok to lie?

Any action that is done with wisdom and compassion
And not with only the intent of deception can be done

There is no agency which dispenses Karmic justice
Karma is closely related to the volitional actions associated with mental formations which is part of the five skandhas
The five skandhas work together seamlessly creating a sense of self
This sense of self has no entity which is independent of this body
The intentional actions of this self create Karma
Karma does not dispense justice as many believe

Who or what decides .. what is wrong doing and what is right ... when all the interconnecting lines can not be seen by ordinary mind

A farmer's horse runs away
The neighbors come by say that it was bad luck
The farmer says, "maybe"

The next day, the horse return with three mares following
The neighbors come by to say that it was good luck
The farmer says, "maybe"

The next day, the farmer's son breaks his leg trying to tame one of the new horses
The neighbors come by to say that it was bad luck
The farmer says, "maybe"

The next day, soldiers come by to conscript young men for war
Seeing the farmer's son with a broken leg, they bypass him
The neighbors come by to say it was good luck
The farmer says, "maybe"
theanarchist
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Re: Is it ever ok to lie?

Post by theanarchist »

Zhen Li wrote:Y
In everyday circumstances, there should not be allowance for lying. .

What's that nonsense?

There is no worldly law against lying in normal life circumstances so there can not be an allowance and karma is unescapable so there can not be an allowance, either

Lying has karmic consequences. Knowing that any person can decide freely, if he or she wants to live with those consequences or not. Buddhism is not about policing people's behaviour, it's about giving them an informed choice and then it's completely up to anyone's free decision.


If you want a religion that is policing people's behaviour, go to fundamentalist theistic religions. They function that way.
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Zhen Li
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Re: Is it ever ok to lie?

Post by Zhen Li »

I did not mean allowance in the sense of law or rules. It's just a turn of phrase in English.
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kirtu
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Re: Is it ever ok to lie?

Post by kirtu »

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Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche
madhusudan
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Re: Is it ever ok to lie?

Post by madhusudan »

I find it cooling and relaxing to maintain a general policy of never lying. However, there are circumstances in which it might be acceptable as expedient means to benefit sentient beings.

In ESL we find it convenient to teach beginning students to never begin sentences with "because". For example, we would teach students that this is an error: "I like dogs. Because they are friendly." So, at that level, they would not learn that they could form the sentence, "Because they are friendly, I like dogs." Later, when simple and compound sentences have been mastered, they can move on to complex sentences. At that point it would be developmentally appropriate.
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