What causes a person to be dishonest? Potentially it provides them with some advantage; the dishonesty or the lie allows them to obtain financial gain or possession of something they otherwise wouldn’t have had. Often, fear of the repercussions that come with the truth will cause someone to lie and/or omit the truth. Whatever the reason may be, lying always causes issues down the road; for the liar and the victim of the lie.
Lying is hard! For the most part, the people I’ve dealt with that have been caught in their dishonesty have seemed relieved at the fact they no longer had to carry the lie and could finally breath freely again. Maintaining a lie takes an immense amount of effort and the pressure it puts on a person just isn’t worth the repercussions of providing the truth.
In some scenarios, lying will cause serious, irreparable damage to others. I can easily use myself as an example of this, since someone else’s lie is currently hampering the harmony of my work and home life. It’s a damage that could have easily been avoided by simply having the liar admit to their mistake and move on with their lives rather than being deceitful.
Let’s be clear on something: it is IMPOSSIBLE to lie without the intent to do so. Don’t believe me? If someone tells you something untruthful and you pass on that information, not knowing the deceit, does that make YOU the liar or the person who told you? This is an important discernation. So if you are lying, being deceitful or dishonest you are doing it because you intend to. No if, ands or buts…
Lying and dishonesty is generally a staple of writings within theological circles, but lying is also covered quite often in Buddhism. According to the Noble Eightfold Path, lying goes against a number of precepts including Right Speech, Right Action and depending on your perspective, Right View.
Keeping things honest is SO simple. It keeps you from having to maintain an illusion and prevents damage to yourself and others. The amount of stress it eliminates is phenomenal. At the end of the day, it also makes you a better person. ☯