Most people say that the fourth precept is particularly difficult to strictly observe, especially for those who are merchants. Are there any strategies to keep the fourth precept pure and chaste?

Most people say that the fourth precept is particularly difficult to strictly observe, especially for those who are merchants like myself. I would therefore like to ask Luang Por if there are any strategies to keep the fourth precept pure and chaste? https://dmc.tv/a3463

Dhamma Articles > Question and Answer for Life
[ Nov 19th, 2004 ] - [ read : 13407 ]
Question:
Venerable Luang Por, Sir, most people say that the fourth precept is particularly difficult to strictly observe, especially for those who are merchants like myself. I would therefore like to ask Luang Por if there are any strategies to keep the fourth precept pure and chaste?
  

Answer
by Venerable Dhattajeevo Bhikku

Blessings, benefactor. You have asked the right person, because before I ordained I was a salesman and had stayed in commercial circles for a considerable period of time.  I would like to say from my experience that the merchants, who are able to be highly successful in their careers, especially to the extent of national or global scales, do not lie.

The one who is still lying is merely a trifling merchant whose business, which is deserved to his/her attribute, is insignificant.   Either s/he will not be able to surpass others, or s/he may not wish to engage in the business permanently.

All right, then as we all can see, every brand of products displayed in the market has to compete with each other on different levels:

     1)     Through the finer quality of merchandise.

     2)     Through more personalized services, which is the hardest work.

    3)     Through a more attractive price.

As such, from time to time, special sales promotions are arranged to draw the customers’ interests, such as reductions in price, presenting a gift, offering something as a giveaway or trade-in, etc. These are regarded as components to the quality of competition.  In brief, I would say it is sincerity that is the most valuable ingredient.

Human feeling is rather peculiar in that you can love your beloved ones no matter if they are your husband, wife, children or friends, as long as you think they are sincere to you.  Whenever you find that they are dishonest with you, you will enable at best to no longer love them, even if they are angelic beings. At worst, they become your foe.

Sincerity is the key factor for a prolonged and enduring friendship.  Thus, the one who said the fourth precept is difficult to maintain is presenting to him/herself that:

1)              His/her character traits or his/her inherent qualities were erroneously cultivated from his/her previous life; therefore s/he can possess such a negative core value.

2)              Or his/her inborn character trait was righteously instilled, but the environment of his/her present life in early age was disadvantageous, such as s/he was brought up amidst liars.

3)              In spite of an advantageous background, s/he later underwent some negative experiences in life for example; s/he may be an honest person but happened to conduct some business with the dishonest.  The situation compelled him/her to become untrustworthy.

The other possibility is that because of the failure in his/her business management s/he suffered an economic crisis.  In order to escape from financial disaster, s/he was forced to be temporarily unscrupulous.  Then, the improvisation gradually developed into permanency.

Rather than escaping from the one time calamity, it later resulted in ongoing ruinous habits that are indeed unworthy.

From my point of view, the more one is dealing in business, the more the need of honesty and the consistent quality of the commodities.  In brief, if you compete fairly in the market based on veracity in business, you will gain enduring love.  This is the first aspect of thinking.
The second aspect, which should be given much thought as well is: I often warn many people that when they lie to others one time, they are later inevitably lying to themselves at least three times. I emphasize that the least amount is three but at most it is uncountable.  Why? Because before they lie to others:
1)              They first have to prepare the story.  The preparation is the first occasion of lying to themselves.

2)              When they get into telling the lie, then they complete the second occasion of lying.

Subsequently, in the future, regardless of how many occasions they will meet that person, they must lie about the same situation again and again.  Or even though they have not yet met the person again, but only heard that s/he is coming and they think they might possibly meet him/her incidentally, they are forced to recall the invented story. Each recollection is every additional lie to themselves.

That means, when lying to others a single time, one has to lie to oneself a minimum of three times, and a maximum of infinity.  Thus, if one does not want to be lied to innumerably by one’s own, and at a later date become a confused person, one should keep the fourth precept attentively now.

Furthermore, have you ever noticed that some eighty or ninety-year olds never have forgetfulness?  I have met some almost one hundred year-oldsters who still had an excellent memory.  It is because they, through their lives, have never told lies; so their memories have never been confused by untrue stories replacing reality.

But those forgetful elderly at the mere age of sixty or almost seventy are usually constant liars.  Thus, if one does not want to be a forgetful aged fellow or madam, do not pick up the habit of lying, for the demerits of lying can manifest themselves within the course of this lifetime.

More than that, the more one lies, the more detriment occurs to one’s self-confidence.  Eventually, the constant liar is caught red-handed, for no one can lie forever.  Finally, s/he will gain no respect even from his/her own children or grandchildren.  At that time, what self-worthiness remains?

The word “adult” refers to one who has physically grown to full size as time has passed; which is different from the venerable adult who has matured through the passing of time.  The principal quality to qualify one as a venerable adult is by not lying.  Thus, if you want to be a revered person who is worthy of your own children’s respect, you must never lie to them.  The merit of keeping the fourth precept is obvious as such.

Moreover, those who have enabled themselves to well maintain all the precepts will possess veracity towards human dignity and their blessings to others will always be sacred.

The Lord Buddha strongly stated that there is no evil deed in the world that the liar cannot perform.  Thus try to observe your goodness well; then you will be a sacred person both in this life and in the next.


http://goo.gl/tRUWR


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