buddhas/arahants and lying...

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buddhas/arahants and lying...

Postby alan... » Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:51 am

so let's say a buddha is sitting outside of a house and hears a bunch of people inside talking and he knows for a fact that they are all innocent and good people. then a group of people arrive outside the house with swords and tell him they are looking for those people and will kill them when they find them. they ask him if the people are inside.

if he says nothing they will look for themselves and kill the people inside.

if he says "yes" obviously they would go inside and kill the people.

if he says "no" the people will believe him and move on and so the people within will be safe, however he would be lying which is something a buddha/arahant cannot do. so what would he do in this situation?

i suppose one could say that since he had many powers he could simply transport the people elsewhere or something or would have had the foresight to do something about it before it happened?

if so then forget him and let's just say it's an arahant with no supernormal powers. what would he do?

EDIT: i'm talking about the definition of an arahant from the pali canon in which an arahant cannot lie.

"It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to tell a conscious lie."

-AN 9.7
"Sutava Sutta: To Sutavan" (AN 9.7), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, 4 July 2010, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an09/an09.007.than.html . Retrieved on 28 January 2013.
Last edited by alan... on Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:44 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: buddhas/arahants and lying...

Postby Virgo » Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:05 am

alan... wrote:so let's say a buddha is sitting outside of a house and hears a bunch of people inside talking and he knows for a fact that they are all innocent and good people. then a group of people arrive outside the house with swords and tell him they are looking for those people and will kill them when they find them. they ask him if the people are inside.

if he says nothing they will look for themselves and kill the people inside.

if he says "yes" obviously they would go inside and kill the people.

if he says "no" the people will believe him and move on and so the people within will be safe, however he would be lying which is something a buddha/arahant cannot do. so what would he do in this situation?

i suppose one could say that since he had many powers he could simply transport the people elsewhere or something or would have had the foresight to do something about it before it happened?

if so then forget him and let's just say it's an arahant with no supernormal powers. what would he do?

He would probably just do whatever he could, without lying. If it was not enough, then He would probably just accept that sometimes there is nothing you can do in a situation.

There is precedent from the Buddha's actions recorded in stories that show that had he foreseen what would happen, he would probably have tried to do something earlier to thwart the whole situation (for example, when He tried to thwart the killers of the Sakyas from going after the Sakyas, which he could not do because of their kamma, though he nevertheless tried). The Buddha does not accept or reject, it's His wholesome accumulations that cause him to always want to do good deeds. It's just the natural tendency in His citta from many lifetimes of practicing the Perfections. Arahants are not disturbed by the world.

Kevin
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Re: buddhas/arahants and lying...

Postby alan... » Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:09 am

Virgo wrote:
alan... wrote:so let's say a buddha is sitting outside of a house and hears a bunch of people inside talking and he knows for a fact that they are all innocent and good people. then a group of people arrive outside the house with swords and tell him they are looking for those people and will kill them when they find them. they ask him if the people are inside.

if he says nothing they will look for themselves and kill the people inside.

if he says "yes" obviously they would go inside and kill the people.

if he says "no" the people will believe him and move on and so the people within will be safe, however he would be lying which is something a buddha/arahant cannot do. so what would he do in this situation?

i suppose one could say that since he had many powers he could simply transport the people elsewhere or something or would have had the foresight to do something about it before it happened?

if so then forget him and let's just say it's an arahant with no supernormal powers. what would he do?

He would probably just do whatever he could, without lying. If it was not enough, then He would probably just accept that sometimes there is nothing you can do in a situation.

There is precedent from the Buddha's actions recorded in stories that show that had he foreseen what would happen, he would probably have tried to do something earlier to thwart the whole situation (for example, when He tried to thwart the killers of the Sakyas from going after the Sakyas, which he could not do because of their kamma, though he nevertheless tried). The Buddha does not accept or reject, it's His wholesome accumulations that cause him to always want to do good deeds. It's just the natural tendency in His citta from many lifetimes of practicing the Perfections. Arahants are not disturbed by the world.

Kevin


cool story, where is it from? that's pretty much the way i imagine he would have worked the situation.
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Re: buddhas/arahants and lying...

Postby Virgo » Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:28 am

alan... wrote:cool story, where is it from? that's pretty much the way i imagine he would have worked the situation.

What happened was Viṭaṭūbha got pissed off and decided to kill most of them. You can read the story here: http://www.vridhamma.org/Why-Sakyan-Republic-Destroyed. :)

Kevin
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Re: buddhas/arahants and lying...

Postby alan... » Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:33 am

Virgo wrote:
alan... wrote:cool story, where is it from? that's pretty much the way i imagine he would have worked the situation.

What happened was Viṭaṭūbha got pissed off and decided to kill most of them. You can read the story here: http://www.vridhamma.org/Why-Sakyan-Republic-Destroyed. :)

Kevin


cool thanks much!
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Re: buddhas/arahants and lying...

Postby Virgo » Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:34 am

alan... wrote:
Virgo wrote:
alan... wrote:cool story, where is it from? that's pretty much the way i imagine he would have worked the situation.

What happened was Viṭaṭūbha got pissed off and decided to kill most of them. You can read the story here: http://www.vridhamma.org/Why-Sakyan-Republic-Destroyed. :)

Kevin


cool thanks much!

Sure :thumbsup: .
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Re: buddhas/arahants and lying...

Postby barcsimalsi » Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:38 am

From what i learn, arahant does not have attachment so why must he attached to the precept...
Out of wisdom and compassion, IMO he lied.
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Re: buddhas/arahants and lying...

Postby alan... » Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:40 am

barcsimalsi wrote:From what i learn, arahant does not have attachment so why must he attached to the precept...
Out of wisdom and compassion, IMO he lied.


i don't disagree with your logic, however in the pali canon it specifically states that an arahant does not have the ability to lie. my fault for not making it clear i was coming from a canonical standpoint definition of arahant. i should have been more specific in my OP, i'll add an edit.
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Re: buddhas/arahants and lying...

Postby barcsimalsi » Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:53 am

alan... wrote:
barcsimalsi wrote:From what i learn, arahant does not have attachment so why must he attached to the precept...
Out of wisdom and compassion, IMO he lied.


i don't disagree with your logic, however in the pali canon it specifically states that an arahant does not have the ability to lie. my fault for not making it clear i was coming from a canonical standpoint definition of arahant. i should have been more specific in my OP, i'll add an edit.

Not your fault. It is also my lack study of the suttas that provide that opinion. :(
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Re: buddhas/arahants and lying...

Postby alan... » Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:54 am

barcsimalsi wrote:
alan... wrote:
barcsimalsi wrote:From what i learn, arahant does not have attachment so why must he attached to the precept...
Out of wisdom and compassion, IMO he lied.


i don't disagree with your logic, however in the pali canon it specifically states that an arahant does not have the ability to lie. my fault for not making it clear i was coming from a canonical standpoint definition of arahant. i should have been more specific in my OP, i'll add an edit.

Not your fault. It is also my lack study of the suttas that provide that opinion. :(



no worries, the suttas are MASSIVE, spanning thousands upon thousands of pages, so it's no fault to not be well versed in them. if we were on a taoist forum and you had failed to read the tao te ching (a mere 81 pages) then that would be a different story lol!
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