When joining this forum the conditions are that you don’t post lies. Im in favour of that and I think it really helpful to keep things clear. I just don’t know how you can draw such a certain line. Many of things i learn are from other people and sometimes it turns out to be untrue. I can change my beliefs accordingly because I don’t really know. How is it possible to really know what is true. Do we have to trust the buddhas conventional right view. I feel that these things are right but I wouldn’t go as far to say I know.
With this attitude I am an easy target for wrong, crazy and deluded views because I’m more open than i used to be to me being wrong. I struggle to bat away wrong views with a fly swatter because part of me thinks, well maybe. Then I get hooked and lose my footing.
Any advice for knowing what is wrong or right?
Yes, so for example I believe the buddha was born in Nepal because of what I’ve read so I wouldn’t post otherwise. I just think if someone made a compelling case that he was born somewhere else it might change my views. I’m guessing some people do think otherwise now so if they if post that and they believed it do they just get banned?
Don’t get me wrong, I like the fact that people can be banned to purposefully lying. I get bit confused about how to tell.
It’s important to be clear on the difference between telling a lie and saying something that is untrue. With a lie there has to be the intention to deceive by saying something that isn’t true. If I tell you it’s 11 o’clock but it’s really 12, I have not told a lie if I think it is 11.
That’s not really the question you are asking, but you framed your question in regards to the forum rules against telling lies.
Edit to add… Perhaps you are referring to the list of forbidden topics such as saying the Buddha was born in Sri Lanka. For that it doesn’t matter how strongly you believe it is true, you can’t post that. Because that’s a forum rule. If you said it and actually believed it, you wouldn’t be lying, just profoundly deluded.
Ive bought into the idea of free speech. I see the dangers in not having free speech but free speech itself is also bad. I can’t work out what the an appropriate structure for a forum is. When I’m talking in real life its the right speech path factor. On forums it’s unclear to me. Ive been convinced that if you regulate speech then tyranny can happen but if you don’t people still get hurt from speech fro what is see.
Am i thinking in the wrong terms? How does it work here?
When people speak in real life you get a better impression of where its coming from. If its just words on a computer with no tone or feeling then does that open the door for manipulative speech because people don’t need to feel what they’re saying now. Its more intellectual. Is that the issue?
I agree and I think that means we’ve got to be that bit kinder and gentler in our speech on line as it is easier to offend. And we also need to be that bit more understanding because we might be misinterpreting what is being said by others. It’s even harder when you factor in that English is not everyone’s first language.
My pithy little answer above is a case in point. It can be read in a number of ways, so perhaps it wasn’t very skillful. What I meant was … that anything that can possibly be ‘said’ has gone through the process of thinking and in that way it is far from the truth. At the very best, what is said is pointing towards the truth, not the truth.
I can’t speak for everyone but for me, I deeply want to know what the Buddha actually said, so that I can integrate this understanding into my life. I think that there is a way to get closer to this and that’s through the study of the EBTs in the company of like minded serious practitioners.
Indeed. Which is where the Buddhist concept of “right speech” comes in. Speech should aim to be more than merely “not incorrect”. It should be meaningful and helpful.
If we are to consider the question of simply “not being untruthful”, then we can follow the standard of the Culahatthipadopama Sutta, AKA the “wikipedia” standard, which is to properly represent the grounds for what you say. If it is a belief, say so. If there is supporting evidence, say so. If there is a scientific consensus, say so. But don’t say it’s true just because you believe it.
This isn’t enough, however. Bad faith actors indulge in tactics like sealioning, where they are “just asking questions”, but the questions are designed to create doubt and disharmony. At the end of the day, you have to use intuition.
Having said which, there are a number of tells when you’re dealing with bad faith actors. The number one is that when chastened, they argue back, or criticize the moderators. This is an extremely predictable response, it happens almost every time in such cases. A sincere person feels shame when criticized, and is eager to do better.
Pretty much all these things are covered in the suttas. They actually give a lot of very specific examples and advice for how to deal with wrong speech.
“But to what extent, Master Gotama, is there the safeguarding of the truth? To what extent does one safeguard the truth? We ask Master Gotama about the safeguarding of the truth.”
"If a person has conviction, his statement, ‘This is my conviction,’ safeguards the truth. But he doesn’t yet come to the definite conclusion that ‘Only this is true; anything else is worthless.’ To this extent, Bharadvaja, there is the safeguarding of the truth. To this extent one safeguards the truth. I describe this as the safeguarding of the truth. But it is not yet an awakening to the truth.
"If a person likes something… holds an unbroken tradition… has something reasoned through analogy… has something he agrees to, having pondered views, his statement, ‘This is what I agree to, having pondered views,’ safeguards the truth. But he doesn’t yet come to the definite conclusion that ‘Only this is true; anything else is worthless.’ To this extent, Bharadvaja, there is the safeguarding of the truth. To this extent one safeguards the truth. I describe this as the safeguarding of the truth. But it is not yet an awakening to the truth. Canki Sutta
It is good to avoid making definitive statements if one is unsure.
It seems to me, It looks like, I am convinced of, I believe that, these expressions and expressions like these are most useful.
There is also an instruction called The Four Great References which teaches how to act when people say things that are supposedly true teachings;
“Mendicants, what are the four great references?
Take a mendicant who says: ‘Reverend, I have heard and learned this in the presence of the Buddha: this is the teaching, this is the training, this is the Teacher’s instruction.’ You should neither approve nor dismiss that mendicant’s statement. Instead, you should carefully memorize those words and phrases, then check if they’re included in the discourses and found in the texts on monastic training. If they’re not included in the discourses and found in the texts on monastic training, you should draw the conclusion: ‘Clearly this is not the word of the Blessed One, the perfected one, the fully awakened Buddha. It has been incorrectly memorized by that mendicant.’ And so you should reject it.
I personally start with the precepts. Do I feel good with them in any circumstances? Yes? Well, then it must be true for me.
Somebody else comes and says: “Oh, so, you are living a vegan lifestyle? That harms your body, our farmers, our economy etc.” He makes a statement which he thinks is true. I then look how I feel in regards to my body and my mind and can smile and say “Thanks for your concerns but I feel fine the way I am living.”
Whenever doubt comes up in my mind, I need to ask myself what Buddhas teachings are. Then I examine how I feel with it. Is my mind clear and filled with loving kindness? Are body and mind at ease? Or am I tense and full of remorse?
That’s my way of finding out what the truth is. The truth which works for me without harming others. In this forum it means to me to use words which are (hopefully) not confronting.
Freedom of speech is great and important but many people use it to push their beliefs and opinions on others to convince them “that this is the truth”.
“If you want to be successful never lie to yourself”