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Is it ever ok to lie?

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Re: Is it ever ok to lie?

Postby fukasetsu on Sun Jul 12, 2015 9:46 pm

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Re: Is it ever ok to lie?

Postby desert_woodworker on Sun Jul 12, 2015 9:52 pm

Yes, A P, thanks. A Buddha is unlikely to prescribe (I say "cannot", but I'll call that my "opinion"), because a Buddha sees no one (no separate beings) to prescribe to. Yet, he/she can "describe" until she/he is blue in the face, because no one is listening at his poetry-reading, anyway, since no one is in attendance. But describing is a nice, neutral activity. No arm-twisting! "Just talking", but talking Truth, in speech that is entirely gratuitous and unassuming. "Take it, or leave it", in other words. And, not even that. Bird song!

"Medicine Buddha" is blue in body and face. He must have been doing a lot of describing, although you'd THINK a Medicine-Buddha would PRESCRIBE! ;)

But seriously again, in addition to a Buddha not prescribing, I'd say a Buddha does not "proscribe", either, for the same reason mentioned. This puts a very different face on the Precepts, versus, e.g., the Mosaic Commandments, I'd say.

--Joe

A Philosopher wrote:Why do you think that the buddha cannot prescribe but only describe? This does not seem to me plausible at all. If a buddha chooses to use words at all, then it would seem to me that he/she can both describe and prescribe. The question would be why he would choose certain kinds of prescriptions rather than others. But this question is already answered (i.e., because at the most basic level it is both prudent and compassionate).
Last edited by desert_woodworker on Sun Jul 12, 2015 11:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is it ever ok to lie?

Postby desert_woodworker on Sun Jul 12, 2015 9:59 pm

Fuki,

fukasetsu wrote:A Buddha does not act, does not work, nor does any act apply to the birthless!

Now, now. The Buddha came down the hill after seeing the star, and eventually taught in the Deer Park, among other places. This was Compassionate Action. Or, maybe not?

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Re: Is it ever ok to lie?

Postby fukasetsu on Sun Jul 12, 2015 10:13 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:Fuki,

fukasetsu wrote:A Buddha does not act, does not work, nor does any act apply to the birthless!

Now, now. The Buddha came down the hill after seeing the star, and eventually taught in the Deer Park, among other places. This was Compassionate Action. Or, maybe not?

--Joe


Joe,

I won't say!

Staring at the laptop, I suddenly noticed fuki (the cat) watching me from the right, a big cheeck to cheeck smile was the result, this knowledge is activity, it comes and goes, and now is a memory (so I smile again) Activity and knowledge is duality, of Action no one can say a word!

Shall I quote the Prajna (a)Gatha now? :tongueincheek:
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Re: Is it ever ok to lie?

Postby A Philosopher on Sun Jul 12, 2015 10:17 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:Yes, Ervin, thanks. A Buddha is unlikely to prescribe (I say "cannot", but I'll call that my "opinion"), because a Buddha sees no one (no separate beings) to prescribe to. Yet, he/she can "describe" until she/he is blue in the face, because no one is listening at his poetry-reading, anyway, since no one is in attendance. But describing is a nice, neutral activity. No arm-twisting! "Just talking", but talking Truth, in speech that is entirely gratuitous and unassuming. "Take it, or leave it", in other words. And, not even that. Bird song!

"Medicine Buddha" is blue in body and face. He must have been doing a lot of describing, although you'd THINK a Medicine-Buddha would PRESCRIBE! ;)

But seriously again, in addition to a Buddha not prescribing, I'd say a Buddha does not "proscribe", either, for the same reason mentioned. This puts a very different face on the Precepts, versus, e.g., the Mosaic Commandments, I'd say.

--Joe

A Philosopher wrote:Why do you think that the buddha cannot prescribe but only describe? This does not seem to me plausible at all. If a buddha chooses to use words at all, then it would seem to me that he/she can both describe and prescribe. The question would be why he would choose certain kinds of prescriptions rather than others. But this question is already answered (i.e., because at the most basic level it is both prudent and compassionate).


It looks like maybe we'll have to disagree about it.

It seems to me that, so far as verbal means of communications are at stake, buddhas can and do both describe and prescribe. The difference between awakened descriptions and prescriptions are that they are correct and accurate. The difference between buddhas and the rest of us is that the buddhas understand the conventional aspect of language (and that the "absolute reality" cannot be fully captured in words). Hence, they are not attached to those descriptions and prescriptions.

Thus, their prescriptions are not prescriptions.
Their description are non-descriptions.
And their actions are non-actions.
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Re: Is it ever ok to lie?

Postby desert_woodworker on Sun Jul 12, 2015 10:34 pm

A P,

I admit that I have taken an extreme view, today. And I would be hard-pressed to assure anyone from which point of view -- if any but mine! -- the claims I make might be accurate.

It's possible too that I misspeak, and make a confusion of two formal types of beings: It's possible that I conflate Bodhisattvas with Buddhas.

Anyway, I hope the "experiment" I proposed and suggested in viewing the Buddhist Precepts as "Descriptive of the behavior of a Buddha", has not been harmful, and I hope it may at least have been of a little interest.

best,

--Joe
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Re: Is it ever ok to lie?

Postby chankin1937 on Fri Aug 21, 2015 12:45 pm

Hello all,
A good general rule is to act so as to increase the amount of happiness in the world. If that entails lying – so be it. For example, you say to the terminally ill cancer sufferer, “it looks as if the treatment is working. Science is finding new cures every day. Hang on in there, you’ll be all right.”
Sets of instructions like the Ten Commandments and Buddhist Precepts are not arbitrary rules made up by authority figures. They are pragmatic rules that, if followed, will make people happier.
Even the “eye for an eye…..” rule restricted people from over reacting to offences against their person. It said in effect, “don’t take more than an eye for an eye…” It warned against escalating any act of revenge.
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Re: Is it ever ok to lie?

Postby dennis on Fri Aug 21, 2015 7:43 pm

Hi everyone.

I believe a lie is an action you perform on another (unless it's "lying to yourself") which may effect another's entire life.

To defend a "beneficial" lie some people may say "...it's for their best interests that I lie."

But, regardless, beneficial or not, a person lies because they either "want" something, or "want" something to happen
or they "do not want something", or "do not want" something to happen. This has become an totally accepted part of society
and an automatic way of life for many.

But, the wanting or not wanting I believe (from reading) are the roots of the 3 poisons.....did I get this right?

My belief then is that lying directs a person away from equanimity and toward ignorance, attachment, and aversion.

:Namaste: all
One day as Manjusri stood outside the gate, the Buddha called to him:
"Manjusri, Manjusri, why do you not enter?"
Manjusri replied:
"I do not see myself as outside. Why enter?"
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Re: Is it ever ok to lie?

Postby dennis on Tue Dec 08, 2015 9:55 pm

But perhaps this is too harsh an interpretation? Perhaps people should forgive themselves a lie if, in their personal estimation, telling a lie would be EASIER than telling the truth ????

Who could be blamed for "fudging" on the answer to: "Do you think this dress makes my behind look fat?" (Well, I'm human too.)
or
Telling someone to have false hope in the case of imminent death. (I personally would not like someone doing this terrible thing to me, no matter what their personal reasons.)
or
Lying a small lie to someone who will discover the truth later. (Personally, if you don't want to tell me the truth, I can understand this. But please don't lie, just keep silence in your own way. Hmmmmm.)
or
Etc.
When I'm mindful I catch myself in lies often. I'm hoping by doing this "catching" frequently/constantly I'll soon "nip" these lies in the "bud" so to speak.

Would anyone have any suggestions for me?
One day as Manjusri stood outside the gate, the Buddha called to him:
"Manjusri, Manjusri, why do you not enter?"
Manjusri replied:
"I do not see myself as outside. Why enter?"
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Re: Is it ever ok to lie?

Postby desert_woodworker on Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:07 pm

Picasso wrote that, "Art is a lie that reveals the truth".

--Joe
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Re: Is it ever ok to lie?

Postby fukasetsu on Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:27 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:Picasso wrote that, "Art is a lie that reveals the truth".

--Joe


All manifests are a lie, until you see That very Source of Love's very own play thing.
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Re: Is it ever ok to lie?

Postby dennis on Fri Feb 12, 2016 10:37 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:Picasso wrote that, "Art is a lie that reveals the truth".

--Joe


Or perhaps he might have said...Art is an illusion the artist creates that reveals the truth,without the ultimate intent to deceive.

In "The Art of War" it's said war (or conflict...my personal interpretation) is always based on deceit.

The lies you're told and which you encounter while growing up seem to lead directly to the lies you tell yourself.

Without being completely honest to yourself about yourself you can not avoid lying to others. It's hard.
One day as Manjusri stood outside the gate, the Buddha called to him:
"Manjusri, Manjusri, why do you not enter?"
Manjusri replied:
"I do not see myself as outside. Why enter?"
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Location: Chico California

Re: Is it ever ok to lie?

Postby dennis on Wed May 11, 2016 5:13 pm

dennis wrote:Hi everyone.

I believe a lie is an action you perform on another (unless it's "lying to yourself") which may effect another's entire life.

To defend a "beneficial" lie some people may say "...it's for their best interests that I lie."

But, regardless, beneficial or not, a person lies because they either "want" something, or "want" something to happen
or they "do not want something", or "do not want" something to happen. This has become an totally accepted part of society
and an automatic way of life for many.

But, the wanting or not wanting I believe (from reading) are the roots of the 3 poisons.....did I get this right?

My belief then is that lying directs a person away from equanimity and toward ignorance, attachment, and aversion.

:Namaste: all


And yet, as a wise man wrote (not me, obviously), we still prefer flowers to weeds in our gardens.

And, as Dogen notes, (paraphrased):

Even so, flowers fall amid our longing and weeds spring up amid our antipathy.

:Namaste:
One day as Manjusri stood outside the gate, the Buddha called to him:
"Manjusri, Manjusri, why do you not enter?"
Manjusri replied:
"I do not see myself as outside. Why enter?"
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Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:43 pm
Location: Chico California

Re: Is it ever ok to lie?

Postby desert_woodworker on Wed May 11, 2016 7:36 pm

Ervin,

Ervin wrote:..lies. Is it ever ok? If it is then when?

I took a moment to revisit the OP to try to obtain clarity.

You ask "ok?". Now, in what sense ok?

And, for who(m)?

What, for you, would make something about lies not ok? And, why?

--Joe
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Re: Is it ever ok to lie?

Postby fukasetsu on Wed May 11, 2016 8:17 pm

Joe, I know I told a lie today (some social thingy) but I can't remember what it was.

It doesn't happen often, I found myself right after noticing "hey, that just happened" funny, I can't remember what it was.

(no I haven't been drinking)
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Re: Is it ever ok to lie?

Postby fukasetsu on Wed May 11, 2016 8:18 pm

Ah, I remember now, ah yes I can't really speak about it :lol2:
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Re: Is it ever ok to lie?

Postby Nothing on Wed May 11, 2016 10:45 pm

Ervin wrote:I am interested in what is the opinion on the subject of lies. Is it ever ok? If it is then when?

Thanks


When I've read Steve Hagen's book 'Buddhism Plain and Simple' years ago , there was this example related to your question:

"For example, suppose you're harboring a family of Jews
in your attic when two Gestapo officers come to your door.
They ask you the whereabouts of the family. Do you say
they're in your attic?"


I don't think that there is a definitive answer to that question to which you can stick to.
I would say it depends on the circumstances, it some circumstances it can be wise and compassionate to lie as in the example above, in other the lie is just a habitual response, where the every next lie just makes stronger that habitual tendency when awareness is not present i.e pointed in wrong direction, and that is not just about lying, but about any of our afflictions. :) This is not to say I don't lie, but usually I notice that either during the telling of the lie, or the moment after it is told.

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Re: Is it ever ok to lie?

Postby fukasetsu on Thu May 12, 2016 12:41 am

Nothing wrote:"For example, suppose you're harboring a family of Jews
in your attic when two Gestapo officers come to your door.
They ask you the whereabouts of the family. Do you say
they're in your attic?"



Remember a similar one from almost 20 years back from Seung Sahn, which goes something like;
If you see a rabbit going right of you and after that a hunter passes by and asks you "in what direction did the rabbit go"
Then you would point him in the opposite direction. There's more to the story but you get the jest of it.

I used to quote this story at the beginning of my internet days, but even different Buddhist teachers reacted different to it and argued among themselves :lol2:

But for me this is what I would do in this situation, point at the opposite direction, the notion of "lying" wouldn't even occur to me, since it is a ridiculous human dualistic fabrication anyway. Most of "speak the truth" stuff is based on social conformity based on cultural emotional reactivity (hope and angst)... I don't need holy books or laws to tell me what to do or not, I would "lie" or tell the "truth" spontaneously depending on the situation and circumstance at hand.

For those who are likely to cause harm in most situations out of habit energy/delusion, for everyone's protection there are laws, rules, or universal precepts/guidelines as basics to follow, but ideology from religion (you must-you must not/it's ok it's not ok) those are the most destructive habits from whatever religion, we have enough demonstartion of that in daily live and in the (media) world, don't live by concepts. Use your wisdom instead of covering it with cultural spoon fed nonsense.
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Re: Is it ever ok to lie?

Postby fukasetsu on Thu May 12, 2016 12:52 am

Nothing wrote:in other the lie is just a habitual response,


Funny in my late teen years I evolved the habit of (or close to) lying compulsively, for instance I would lie to when I was asked (from the pressured ones, like family,lover,work etc) Even if I did what was socially accepted I would say the opposite.

Did you go to work today "yes" (if I didn't) I bet you didn't go to work today "no I didn't" even if I did.

I was under severe scrutiny as a kid and devoloped the habit of saying the opposite, for they would be mad either way, it was crazy but still...I got myself to turn around just in time. People who know me today very closely (who really know me) know I don't like superficial inquiries still, not that I lie about it but I'm known for keeping silent for nonsense questions like "how was your day" "what did you do today" did you do this, did you do that...etc etc :lol2:
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Re: Is it ever ok to lie?

Postby Nothing on Thu May 12, 2016 9:27 am

fukasetsu wrote:I used to quote this story at the beginning of my internet days, but even different Buddhist teachers reacted different to it and argued among themselves :lol2:

But for me this is what I would do in this situation, point at the opposite direction, the notion of "lying" wouldn't even occur to me, since it is a ridiculous human dualistic fabrication anyway. Most of "speak the truth" stuff is based on social conformity based on cultural emotional reactivity (hope and angst)... I don't need holy books or laws to tell me what to do or not, I would "lie" or tell the "truth" spontaneously depending on the situation and circumstance at hand.

Yes, only moment to moment action without any preconceived notions of "lie" vs 'truth", "moral" vs "immoral" , "right" vs "wrong" otherwise it is attachment to extreme views, you fall in duality, taking the expedient teachings as absolute, as reality, just like those Buddhist teachers who were arguing :)

fukasetsu wrote:For those who are likely to cause harm in most situations out of habit energy/delusion, for everyone's protection there are laws, rules, or universal precepts/guidelines as basics to follow, but ideology from religion (you must-you must not/it's ok it's not ok) those are the most destructive habits from whatever religion, we have enough demonstartion of that in daily live and in the (media) world, don't live by concepts. Use your wisdom instead of covering it with cultural spoon fed nonsense.

Oh yes friend, but not just ideology from religion (although it is the worst kind), also national and political ideologies or all three combined together.
Don't you think that 72 virgins sound quite tempting? :lol2:
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