The world is full of lies. People telling outright and deliberate lies. LIes about others. Lies about events. Lies about everything in life.
Some people have motive. Some people have agenda. Some people do it just because they can or because they are covering for their own errors. Some
lie about others because of their own jealousy of those people and they want to bring the others down to their miserable level. All other evil that
happens in the world is built on the foundation of lies and liars.
This Buddhist teaching on lies is really a good read ...
Ambalatthika-rahulovada Sutta: Instructions to Rahula at Mango Stone (BUDDHIST) on
At that time Ven. Rahula was staying at the Mango Stone. Then the Blessed One, arising from his seclusion in the late afternoon, went to where
Ven. Rahula was staying at the Mango Stone. Ven. Rahula saw him coming from afar and, on seeing him, set out a seat & water for washing the feet. The
Blessed One sat down on the seat set out and, having sat down, washed his feet. Ven. Rahula, bowing down to the Blessed One, sat to one side.
Then the Blessed One, having left a little bit of water in the water dipper, said to Ven. Rahula, "Rahula, do you see this little bit of left-over
water remaining in the water dipper?"
"That's how little of a contemplative there is in anyone who feels no shame at telling a deliberate lie."
Having tossed away the little bit of left-over water, the Blessed One said to Ven. Rahula, "Rahula, do you see how this little bit of left-over water
is tossed away?"
"Rahula, whatever there is of a contemplative in anyone who feels no shame at telling a deliberate lie is tossed away just like that."
Having turned the water dipper upside down, the Blessed One said to Ven. Rahula, "Rahula, do you see how this water dipper is turned upside
"Rahula, whatever there is of a contemplative in anyone who feels no shame at telling a deliberate lie is turned upside down just like that."
Having turned the water dipper right-side up, the Blessed One said to Ven. Rahula, "Rahula, do you see how empty & hollow this water dipper is?"
"Rahula, whatever there is of a contemplative in anyone who feels no shame at telling a deliberate lie is empty & hollow just like that.
"Rahula, it's like a royal elephant: immense, pedigreed, accustomed to battles, its tusks like chariot poles. Having gone into battle, it uses its
forefeet & hindfeet, its forequarters & hindquarters, its head & ears & tusks & tail, but keeps protecting its trunk. The elephant trainer notices
that and thinks, 'This royal elephant has not given up its life to the king.' But when the royal elephant... having gone into battle, uses its
forefeet & hindfeet, its forequarters & hindquarters, its head & ears & tusks & tail & his trunk, the trainer notices that and thinks, 'This royal
elephant has given up its life to the king. There is nothing it will not do.'
"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. Thus, Rahula, you
should train yourself, 'I will not tell a deliberate lie even in jest.'
According to this teaching - a person who lies will not stop with 'just' lies. There is nothing that person will not do. A liar is more evil than
we think. When asking people what is the worst thing a person can do, we don't usually think of telling lies or deceiving others. We usually think
of murder or adultery, etc. But according to Buddhist teaching, a person who will lie will stop at nothing and the other evils will come.
Those telling lies because of their own agenda can change the situation in favor of their desires. But that new reality is based on falsehoods. The
bible says that a house built on sand can not stand and that is what happens when people build on lies. The foundation is weak and will eventually
crumble and fall when the lies are exposed. No matter what people think about the bible, that's a good teaching about what happens when you try to
build on lies.
Some people tell lies about other people in order to try to discredit them. Sometimes this works for a while. But when the truth comes out, the
liar is the one discredited. In my own experience (some of it here at ATS), when people have lied about me and been caught at it, they refuse to
apologize. They refuse to admit they told lies even in the face of the truth. The buddhist teaching on liars is true .... there is nothing that a
liar won't do. When caught, they end up shaming themselves instead of the person who they tried to ruin.
I have noticed that liars, when caught in lies, act like they haven't lied. They have no shame. They lie to cover being caught in lies. A very
recent example - Obama's 'I never set a red line' lie comes to mind. He screwed up; tried to cover with a lie; showed no shame in having other
politicians cover his lie with their corresponding lies - even though the entire planet knows he lied, Obama offers no apology or acknowledgement that
he lied to cover. I've seen this same kind of behavior with liars in real life. No shame. No regrets. Just more lies.
Some lies endure. And we can see the evil that pours off what has grown from the original lies.
Example - Lies of cult leaders the the past hundreds of years who sucked ignorant people in. Some of those cults survive and the evil that is done in
the name of those cults is outrageous. That evil is the fruit of the original lies. (like the teaching said - the lie eventually leads to all evils
being committed (paraphrase) )
Example - Lies of politicians and leaders around the world. What evil won't they do to uphold themselves in positions and to further their agendas?
... Putin, Obama, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Assad, Lil' Kim of N. Korea, Muslim Brotherhood leadership, Hamas, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, John McCain
... various religious leaders around the world - be they Christian or Muslim or _____ (fill in the blank), all telling lies about the other in order
to keep their flocks (and the income from those flocks) ... etc etc. The fruit of their lies is more and more evil.
Sure .. sometimes people get something wrong but they were sincerely wrong. They admit it when confronted with truth. So that's not a lie. I'm
talking about LIES ... agendas ... purposely misleading others.
So perhaps we should take lies more seriously. We should take the lies of Ministers and Imams and Politicians and co-Workers and neighbors and even
the lies of posters here at ATS more seriously. All evil is built on the foundation of lies. And instead of saying 'oh, he's just another liar
politician' and brush it off because we are jaded (I admit I'm VERY jaded), perhaps we should understand that all the evil in the world has at it's
root LIES. We wonder why there is so much evil in the world. It starts with LIES. The evil is built on top of LIES. Lies in politics. Lies in
religion. Lies because of jealousy, greed, corruption, agenda .... but the bottom line is LIES.
If we hold people more accountable for lies, perhaps there wouldn't be so much evil in the world today. Kill the lies .. expose them to sunlight ...
drive a steak through the heart of a lie ... and the evil will be stopped before it can grow into a huge monster.