1. Isn't there a story of the Buddha "lying" to a bunch of bandits who were chasing after a guy when they asked him which direction he ran to? Pretty sure it's a Mahayana story.

  2. Indeed. Sometimes told with a hunter and deer. The merit of saving the lives of the person/animal being pursued far outweighs the karmic implications of the lie according to Mahāyāna teachings.

  3. Well that's absurd, Buddha "converted" lots of bandits using their power. He would not lie after his enlightenment. He needed to lie? That's absurd because he was full enlightened Buddha, he could create or change thousands of worlds without effort protect some people wouldn't be a problem if he wanted

  4. The way that I have been taught, you need to weigh the overall harm of your actions. So in the case you mention above, obviously the harm caused by being truthful would be far worse than any negative karma you would accrue by lying. So in that case, yes, you should lie.

  5. According to the Śrāvakayāna, that seems to be the case. Some argue that you're supposed to value personal purity over anything else, and as such saying something that isn't factually true is out of the cards for and reason. You're expected to believe that lying even in this way, which isn't for evading blame for not holding to an oath, or for self gain, or harming others, is still very weighty and doubly so because it might not even work, and therefore to magically come up with clever ways that don't involve saying any such thing but will work nevertheless.

  6. It's more about intention to me. Lying is rarely the right choice, but there are circumstances like the one you presented where you need to weigh a lie against the importance of minimizing suffering for beings.

  7. Buddhism is not a full ethical framework. It does not have an answer to all possible situations and doesn't claim to.

  8. In general, the answer of the Mahayana sect is that bodhisattvas (Buddhas in training) at times should lie to protect beings, but that they will still suffer the karmic retribution for that act. This is a divisive and complicated issue, though.

  9. Thanissaro Bhikkhu had a good response to this specific dilemma. It's quite dense and I'd rather not quote the whole thing here so I recommend reading it.

  10. The skillful thing is to answer without lying, but not necessarily giving away bad information (eg: Nazis looking for Jews).

  11. Lying is always unskillful. This means you may have to use some ingenuity in some circumstances, and not resort to the easiest thing to say.

  12. There have been a few of the minor what if questions that have popped up lately and the answer is always the same.

  13. Theravadans so would say yes. They think maintaining a death grip on the letter of the precepts makes them morally pure as the driven snow, but IMO it does not.

  14. If you're sufficiently trained, you could say "I'm not aware of anyone being here other than me [and any other inoffensive person, if necessary]," and have it be true. :-)

  15. My understanding is that the "noble ones", those of higher attainments - simply have given up lying, they have permanently put down that burden, and are not bothered by it anymore. The inclination is fundamentally eradicated from their being.

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