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Lying and happiness

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Lying and happiness
Answer
8/7/12 12:13 PM
http://healthland.time.com/2012/08/06/can-telling-the-truth-make-you-healthier/:
Telling a few white lies may seem harmless, but a new study suggests that you might improve your mental and physical health if you cut down on the fibs you tell. (...) For example, when participants in the no-lie group told three fewer minor lies a week, they reported four fewer mental-health complaints (such as feeling sad or stressed) and three fewer physical complaints (such as headaches or sore throats).


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.061.than.html:
"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.


There are a lot of interesting suggestions from modern psychology, backed by research, about very simple things that a person can do that tend to increase their happiness. If I recall correctly, one example is reflecting on one's advantages in life, and expressing gratitude for them. (Note that this is actually what people do when they say grace before a meal, if they say it sincerely...a traditional practice that has become much less common as society has become less religious.) Perhaps "not lying" (part of the eightfold path) is another one.

As a tangent, does anyone do any very simple practices along these lines (i.e. simple behavioral regulation / adjustment) that benefited them in terms of happiness?

RE: Lying and happiness
Answer
8/7/12 6:48 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
I personally have found that sometimes you feel you are forcing yourself to do the "right" thing or the "bigger" thing. This is until you have made peace with whatever the situation is and stop caring about it either way.

What I mean by that is doing something small that you arent happy about , but you know the only reason you arent happy about it is because of ego.

But, what Ive found is that , even if you feel you are forcing yourself to do the right thing and you are not happy about it at the time, I think it may yield longer term results to still go ahead and do it. Because, when you do make peace with it in the long run, and it no longer feels like you are forcing anything, its nice to have the hindsight that you did the right thing at the time, and you didnt act out on your ego.

Where does happiness come into this? Well, I guess its just one less thought that can arise later on,"Why wasnt I thinking like this at the time? I wish I did what I knew was the right thing at the time".

It also improves relationships in the long run, which helps with happiness.


Maybe thats a little vague. In summary what I mean is , I try and be nice and do the "good" thing, because essentially in the long run I wont regret it, even if its frustrating at the time.

RE: Lying and happiness
Answer
8/7/12 8:14 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
http://healthland.time.com/2012/08/06/can-telling-the-truth-make-you-healthier/:
Telling a few white lies may seem harmless, but a new study suggests that you might improve your mental and physical health if you cut down on the fibs you tell. (...) For example, when participants in the no-lie group told three fewer minor lies a week, they reported four fewer mental-health complaints (such as feeling sad or stressed) and three fewer physical complaints (such as headaches or sore throats).


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.061.than.html:
"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.


There are a lot of interesting suggestions from modern psychology, backed by research, about very simple things that a person can do that tend to increase their happiness. If I recall correctly, one example is reflecting on one's advantages in life, and expressing gratitude for them. (Note that this is actually what people do when they say grace before a meal, if they say it sincerely...a traditional practice that has become much less common as society has become less religious.) Perhaps "not lying" (part of the eightfold path) is another one.

As a tangent, does anyone do any very simple practices along these lines (i.e. simple behavioral regulation / adjustment) that benefited them in terms of happiness?


I think the trick is to be congruent, which means saying what you feel. If you feel angry but you say "oh that's cool, no problem... I don't mind", then that's really ugly, and probably bad for your health. Some people are so incongruent that it's like their whole life is a lie.

The idea of reflecting on your "verbal actions"(!) is suitable only when you feel like you might explode. For normal day to day life, following that advice would send you insane. Not to mention the stifling of sponteneity, which is anti-spiritual.
The access to insight quote is so poorly written - one word: VERBOSE! How's that for speaking one's mind?

RE: Lying and happiness
Answer
8/7/12 10:39 PM as a reply to This Good Self.
This sort of fits in with the theme. Enjoy!



Blues for Buddha -

by the mythical Jed McKenna


Being critical of Buddhism isn't easy.

Buddhism is the most likable of the major religions, and Buddhists are the perennial good guys of modern spirituality. Beautiful traditions, lovely architecture, inspiring statuary, ancient history, the Dalai Lama - what's not to like?

Everything about Buddhsim is just so... nice. No fatwahs or jihads, no inquisitions or crusades, no terrorists or pederasts, just nice people being nice. In fact, Buddhism means niceness. Nice-ism.

At least, it should.

Buddha means Awakened One, so Buddhism can be taken to mean Awake-ism. Awakism. It would therefore be natural to think that if you were looking to wake up, then Buddhism, i.e., Awakism, would be the place to look.

::: The Light is Better Over Here

Such thinking, however, would reveal a dangerous lack of respect for the opposition. Maya, goddess of delusion, has been doing her job with supreme mastery since the first spark of self-awareness flickered in some chimp's noggin, and the idea that the neophyte truth-seeker can just sign up with the Buddhists, read some books, embrace some new concepts and slam her to the mat might be a bit on the naive side.

On the other hand, why not? How'd this get so turned around? It's just truth. Shouldn't truth be, like, the simplest thing? Shouldn't someone who wants to find something as ubiquitous as truth be able to do so? And here's this venerable organization supposedly dedicated to just that very thing, even named for it, so what's the problem?

::: Why doesn't Buddhism produce Buddhas?

The problem arises from the fact that Buddhists, like everyone else, insist on reconciling the irreconcilable. They don't just want to awaken to the true, they also want to make sense of the untrue. They want to have their cake and eat it too, so they end up with nonsensical theories, divergent schools, sagacious doubletalk, and zero Buddhas.

Typical of Buddhist insistence on reconciling the irreconcilable is the concept of Two Truths, a poignant two-word joke they don't seem to get, and yet this sort of perversely irrational thinking is at the very heart of the failed search for truth. We don't want truth, we want a particular truth; one that doesn't threaten ego, one that doesn't exist. We insist on a truth that makes sense given what we know, not knowing that we don't know anything.

Nothing about Buddhism is more revealing than the Four Noble Truths which, not being true, are of pretty dubious nobility. They form the basis of Buddhism, so it's clear from the outset that the Buddhists have whipped up a proprietary version of truth shaped more by market forces than any particular concern for the less consumer-friendly, albeit true, truth.

Yes, Buddhism may be spiritually filling, even nourishing, but insofar as truth is concerned, it's junkfood. You can eat it every day of your life and die exactly as Awakened as the day you signed up.

::: Bait & Switch

Buddhism is a classic bait-and-switch operation. We're attracted by the enlightenment in the window, but as soon as we're in the door they start steering us over to the compassion aisle. Buddhists could be honest and change their name to Compassionism, but who wants that?

There's the rub. They can't sell compassion and they can't deliver enlightenment.

This untruth-in-advertising is the kind of game you have to play if you want to stay successful in a business where the customer is always wrong. You can either go out of business honestly, or thrive by giving the people what they want. What they say they want and what they really want, though, are two very different things.

::: Me Me Me

To the outside observer, much of Buddhist knowledge and practice seems focused on spiritual self-improvement. This, too, is hard to speak against... except within the context of awakening from delusion. Then it's easy.

There is no such thing as true self, so any pursuit geared toward its aggrandizement, betterment, upliftment, elevation, evolution, glorification, salvation, etc, is utter folly. How much more so any endeavor undertaken merely to increase one's own happiness or contentment or, I'm embarrassed to even say it, bliss?

Self is ego and ego is the realm of the dreamstate. If you want to break free of the dreamstate, you must break free of self, not stroke it to make it purr or groom it for some imagined brighter future.

::: Maya's House of Enlightenment

The trick with being critical of so esteemed and beloved an institution is not to get dragged down into the morass of details and debate. It's very simple: If Buddhism is about enlightenment, people should be getting enlightened. If it's not about enlightenment, they should change the sign.

Of course, Buddhism isn't completely unique in its survival tactics. This same gulf between promise and performance is found in all systems of human spirituality. We're looking at it in Buddhism because that's where it's most pronounced. No disrespect to the Buddha is intended. If there was a Buddha and he was enlightened, then it's Buddhism that insults his memory, not healthy skepticism. Blame the naked emperor's retinue of tailors and lickspittles, not the boy who merely states the obvious.

Buddhism is arguably the most elevated of man's great belief systems. If you want to enjoy the many valuable benefits it has to offer, then I wouldn't presume to utter a syllable against it. But if you want to escape from the clutches of Maya, then I suggest you take a very close look at the serene face on all those golden statues to see if it isn't really hers.

RE: Lying and happiness
Answer
8/7/12 10:35 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
I read a similar study. It stated that secrets are no better than lies, and that your body interprets them the same way.

Love & Happiness,
Jazzi

PS- I'll see if I can find it online- to get the link.

RE: Lying and happiness
Answer
8/8/12 7:36 AM as a reply to This Good Self.
C C C:
The idea of reflecting on your "verbal actions"(!) is suitable only when you feel like you might explode. For normal day to day life, following that advice would send you insane.


Have you tried it?

RE: Lying and happiness
Answer
8/8/12 1:53 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
Hm.

I found that, the thing that really lead me to happiness, was the resolving of the thing that I had been 'trying' to ignore for the past three years.

Namely, my existential yearning. After that was gone, virtue came to me naturally.

Things like this are mainly a facet of self-discipline, they, in themselves, don't really do much.

RE: Lying and happiness
Answer
8/9/12 7:37 PM as a reply to This Good Self.
C C C:
This sort of fits in with the theme. Enjoy!



Blues for Buddha -

by the mythical Jed McKenna


Being critical of Buddhism isn't easy.
...
...


Thats funny, its probably something I would have written too about a year ago months after my awakening before actually learning about Buddhism.
Now, if only I was a semi-enlightened opinionated and talented author and a shrewd marketing campaigner, maybe I could have had the same influence on people with my anonymous rants!! emoticon

RE: Lying and happiness
Answer
8/9/12 7:54 PM as a reply to wylo ..
I tried it yesterday EIS: I tried it for 5 mins and it stopped me talking altogether. If I take the time to review things before I speak, it's like I'm too "in my head" and self-absorbed. If you're suggesting I should be less aggressive in here, yeh I know... I probably should.

wylo, he's a great read isn't he, the old Jed? Very talented with the pen. I read him the same way I do Carlos Castaneda... as a mixture of fact and story telling. There's no rules against that. Why not make something palatable? God knows, the sutras are as boring as .... ooops, check yourself CCC!~

RE: Lying and happiness
Answer
8/9/12 7:59 PM as a reply to This Good Self.
The middle way between fiction and non-fiction:

I call it, noction.

RE: Lying and happiness
Answer
8/9/12 11:43 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
Positive thinking

I used to suck at positive thinking. As a seeker on the spiritual path and in life, I was naturally inclined to look for the falsehood in ones mental model of reality in order to realize 'the truth'. Indeed this is initially quite helpful eg. to see no self, or to notice that there is not distinction between outside and inside within the sensory experience etc..

The mind lets go of notions of absolute truth, one idea at a time. Eventually there came to a point where 'the truth' itself is seen through.

Nothing that is absolutely true. And there is nothing that is absolutely false. Every idea conceived by humans has elements of truth and falsehood simultaneously, that are apparent depending on the perspective you look at it from.

eg. 'the self' is True from perspective 1, False from P2, Neither True nor False from P3, Not Neither True nor False from P4 etc

Armed with this idea now instead of looking for the falsehood in things, I practiced seeing a perspective from which they might be true.

This also naturally spilled over into positive thinking. Bad stuff is a learning opportunity. Even death is, in some regards, just an experience.

This generally results in more compassionate behavior, resulting from seeing the truth in other people's viewpoints rather than merely dismissing them as false.

Honesty

This works best in conjunction with the positive thinking techniques described about.

It can be initially quite difficult to face hidden psychological and relationship problems with honesty. Because of this the best way to do it is from a positive viewpoint. Described above.

Leading an honest life, results in more fun and compelling interactions with other people. It also tends be a motivator to do stuff.

RE: Lying and happiness
Answer
8/10/12 3:41 AM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
DZ,
I wish there was a "like" button! I couldn't agree with you more! I always say it as "everything is true from a manner of perspective," but I like your way of stating it better. After all, we each create our own reality within our minds, correct? And things tend to seem to happen right as we need them to? It's because it is all a limit of perspective! Very good post!

Love and Happiness,
Jazzi

RE: Lying and happiness
Answer
8/10/12 4:58 PM as a reply to This Good Self.
C C C:
But if you want to escape from the clutches of Maya, then I suggest you take a very close look at the serene face on all those golden statues to see if it isn't really hers.


Enjoyed it, C C C, thanks.

RE: Lying and happiness
Answer
8/16/12 3:03 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
As a tangent, does anyone do any very simple practices along these lines (i.e. simple behavioral regulation / adjustment) that benefited them in terms of happiness?


This is VERY important. This is why at the end of a 10-day course Goenka says that all the students should thank him and whoever they got Dhamma from. He is not saying this for his benefit. He is saying it for theirs. In fact, if you are not thanking your dhamma lineage... your dhamma teachers the bandwith and rate at which you progress and receive dhamma will shrink.

So it is most important to be thankful for dhamma but this extends to everything else.

Here are the things you should be doing. Do them sincerely as possible. You might not even need to say it but rather feel it.

-Be thankful for the various things in your life
-Apologize when you harm someone
-Forgive people who've harmed you
-Be especially thankful to your parents and elders (you owe them a very large karmic debt)


-d