Is it a lie to not keep a promise if...?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).

Is it a lie to not keep a promise if...?

Postby callmetheseeker » Sun Jul 20, 2014 4:26 am

Is it a lie to not keep a promise if you changed your mind? Well, sort of. I changed my mind about keeping it. In order to be nice, I told someone I would do this thing (nothing major), that I didn't want to do. Because of the precepts, I had it in my mind that I had to do it otherwise that would have been a lie. I don't want to do it, though. Also don't want to be a breaker of promises or precepts... What do I do and should I have just said no then, irregardless of they being offended?
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Re: Is it a lie to not keep a promise if...?

Postby culaavuso » Sun Jul 20, 2014 4:56 am

A promise is a communication of intentions regarding some future action. It would seem to be truthful to the extent that it accurately conveys the intentions in question without deliberate deception.

AN 10.176: Cunda Sutta wrote:And how is one made pure in four ways by verbal action? There is the case where a certain person, abandoning false speech, abstains from false speech. When he has been called to a town meeting, a group meeting, a gathering of his relatives, his guild, or of the royalty, if he is asked as a witness, 'Come & tell, good man, what you know': If he doesn't know, he says, 'I don't know.' If he does know, he says, 'I know.' If he hasn't seen, he says, 'I haven't seen.' If he has seen, he says, 'I have seen.' Thus he doesn't consciously tell a lie for his own sake, for the sake of another, or for the sake of any reward. Abandoning false speech, he abstains from false speech. He speaks the truth, holds to the truth, is firm, reliable, no deceiver of the world.


If there is no harm in performing the action, then perhaps not wanting to do it could be seen as providing an opportunity to observe aversion in action.

MN 61: Ambalaṭṭhikā­rāhulovāda Sutta wrote:In the same way, Rahula, when anyone feels no shame in telling a deliberate lie, there is no evil, I tell you, he will not do.
...
Whenever you want to do a bodily action, you should reflect on it: 'This bodily action I want to do — would it lead to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both? Would it be an unskillful bodily action, with painful consequences, painful results?' If, on reflection, you know that it would lead to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both; it would be an unskillful bodily action with painful consequences, painful results, then any bodily action of that sort is absolutely unfit for you to do. But if on reflection you know that it would not cause affliction... it would be a skillful bodily action with pleasant consequences, pleasant results, then any bodily action of that sort is fit for you to do.
...
Whenever you want to do a verbal action, you should reflect on it: 'This verbal action I want to do — would it lead to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both? Would it be an unskillful verbal action, with painful consequences, painful results?' If, on reflection, you know that it would lead to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both; it would be an unskillful verbal action with painful consequences, painful results, then any verbal action of that sort is absolutely unfit for you to do. But if on reflection you know that it would not cause affliction... it would be a skillful verbal action with pleasant consequences, pleasant results, then any verbal action of that sort is fit for you to do.
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Re: Is it a lie to not keep a promise if...?

Postby LXNDR » Sun Jul 20, 2014 8:53 am

Abhaya(rajakumara) sutta (MN 58) wrote:[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."



not being a Tathagata it's not always possible to accurately choose a perfectly proper time, but as a rule of thumb this principle can still be applied, mistakes can be excused with unskillfulness

personally i think it's much safer and fairer to not promise anything at all, but instead to assure of your intention to try to fulfill the expectation without commitment

as a self-penance for lying you can bring yourself to do what you falsely promised, or simply confess your inability to keep the promise and apologize

by experiencing unpleasant emotions, discomfort, uneasiness, gulty conscience in either case you will be taught a lesson for the future
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Re: Is it a lie to not keep a promise if...?

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Sun Jul 20, 2014 9:27 am

callmetheseeker wrote:Is it a lie to not keep a promise if you changed your mind? Well, sort of. I changed my mind about keeping it. In order to be nice, I told someone I would do this thing (nothing major), that I didn't want to do. Because of the precepts, I had it in my mind that I had to do it otherwise that would have been a lie. I don't want to do it, though. Also don't want to be a breaker of promises or precepts... What do I do and should I have just said no then, irregardless of they being offended?


What have you been asked to do, that you do not wish to now do?

More importantly, why don't you want to do it?

(and as a final friendly indicator, it's not 'irregardless... it's regardless.... ) ;)
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



Image

Pay attention, simplify, and (Meditation instruction in a nutshell) "Mind - the Gap."
‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, this may be why....
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Re: Is it a lie to not keep a promise if...?

Postby Dan74 » Sun Jul 20, 2014 9:59 am

This isn't really so profound, is it?

You promised, it means a lot. People who break promises are not trusted. Will you trust yourself afterwards? Do you break promises to yourself? Resolutions? Most of us do, but it's not a good thing.

Doing something positive for somebody else is a good deed, precepts or no precepts. So figure it out.
_/|\_
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Re: Is it a lie to not keep a promise if...?

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Sun Jul 20, 2014 1:41 pm

:goodpost:
Very good point, Dan74:

Buddhism or not, if you don't keep your word, you betray the trust people have put in you.
It doesn't matter what Discipline you practice, what calling you follow. You let people down, they remember it.
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



Image

Pay attention, simplify, and (Meditation instruction in a nutshell) "Mind - the Gap."
‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, this may be why....
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Re: Is it a lie to not keep a promise if...?

Postby callmetheseeker » Sun Jul 20, 2014 8:48 pm

LXNDR wrote:
Abhaya(rajakumara) sutta (MN 58) wrote:[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."



not being a Tathagata it's not always possible to accurately choose a perfectly proper time, but as a rule of thumb this principle can still be applied, mistakes can be excused with unskillfulness

personally i think it's much safer and fairer to not promise anything at all, but instead to assure of your intention to try to fulfill the expectation without commitment

as a self-penance for lying you can bring yourself to do what you falsely promised, or simply confess your inability to keep the promise and apologize

by experiencing unpleasant emotions, discomfort, uneasiness, gulty conscience in either case you will be taught a lesson for the future



I don't think it was exactly a false promise, was it? More like a tentative one? Anyway, I don't believe in punishing oneself. You get what you give in any way.
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Re: Is it a lie to not keep a promise if...?

Postby callmetheseeker » Sun Jul 20, 2014 8:54 pm

TheNoBSBuddhist wrote:
callmetheseeker wrote:Is it a lie to not keep a promise if you changed your mind? Well, sort of. I changed my mind about keeping it. In order to be nice, I told someone I would do this thing (nothing major), that I didn't want to do. Because of the precepts, I had it in my mind that I had to do it otherwise that would have been a lie. I don't want to do it, though. Also don't want to be a breaker of promises or precepts... What do I do and should I have just said no then, irregardless of they being offended?


What have you been asked to do, that you do not wish to now do?

More importantly, why don't you want to do it?

(and as a final friendly indicator, it's not 'irregardless... it's regardless.... ) ;)



This guy I met online asked me if I would email him, so I said I would. I don't want to do it because I'm not interested in him as a friend.
Oh, okay, 'regardless'... English is my second language, and I seem to be slowly failing at it. Thanks.
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Re: Is it a lie to not keep a promise if...?

Postby callmetheseeker » Sun Jul 20, 2014 9:03 pm

Okay, this is strange. I was gonna check the email he sent to me and it was gone. I know I sent it to the bin, but I don't know how it got totally deleted. Should I be glad is what I'm wondering.
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Re: Is it a lie to not keep a promise if...?

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Sun Jul 20, 2014 9:40 pm

Well, I don't know what your first language is, but your English is as near-perfect as it could be. I can't find any flaws in it. And many naturally-speaking English people make grammatical errors....

As for the disappeared email, well now you can just let it go. No need to wonder one way or the other. The problem seems to have resolved itself.
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



Image

Pay attention, simplify, and (Meditation instruction in a nutshell) "Mind - the Gap."
‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, this may be why....
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Re: Is it a lie to not keep a promise if...?

Postby callmetheseeker » Sun Jul 20, 2014 9:57 pm

Thanks, it's Brazilian Portuguese. I need more practice and study, though. Uh, yeah, thank you Universe. Gotta learn my lesson and not promise anything, or at least nothing I fear I won't follow through. Thank you and everyone as well. :hello:
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