Why lying is spiritually harmful?

samsara's picture

Average: 4.5 (24 votes)

Most religious and spiritual figures advise very strongly not to lie. They say that not saying the truth (when you are aware that what you say is not the truth or when you are not sure that it is the truth) is one of the main hindrances towards spiritual development, that you must be strict with yourself in real-time and not present to others as truth something which you know is untrue or which you don't know for sure that is true.

Others would probably say that saying the truth is just a social norm designed by society to control you and that it has nothing to do with spirituality.

I'm not talking about religious commandments or "God demands so". I'm talking about direct impact of lying on our metal and spiritual being.

I couldn't find anywhere an explanation or a suggestion why lying is actually so harmful on the spiritual path.

Do you have any suggestions or idea why not saying the truth is spiritually harmful? I will appreciate your insights.

abra's picture

outer and inner

Because when you tend to lie to others, you tend to lie also to yourself. These are the very same unconscious behavioral patterns.

And when you are not completely honest with yourself, you can hardly advance on the spiritual path.

abra | Sat, 08/25/2012 - 20:47
kulchnaui's picture

Lying creates a great

Lying creates a great tension within us, much greater than what we tend to believe. You can sense that tension if you are quiet enough through your body sensations. This is actually how the polygraph works. And these problematic tensions do not turn into thin air, they accumulate as do all sensations.

With such accumulated distracting tension, one cannot be balanced and cannot have a clear mind - conditions that are critically essential for true spiritual practice and development.

kulchnaui | Sun, 08/26/2012 - 21:31
madan_gautam's picture


lying creates negativity in us and hence drag behind us from our positiveness and accession to higher plans ,

madan_gautam | Tue, 08/28/2012 - 07:03
mariposa's picture

You are right but you didn't

You are right but you didn't actually answer the question, you just rephrased it. why does it creates negativity?

mariposa | Thu, 08/30/2012 - 07:20
mariposa's picture

The main reason for the

The main reason for the advise not to lie if you are on the spiritual path is not negativity or conflict (you can easily eliminate this negativity with awareness).

The reason is that if you are with a guru or a sadhana that you hope that they will assist you and reflect to you things that your mind is blocked from seeing then you must expose yourself to these people as you really are.

It is especially important with your guru.

mariposa | Thu, 08/30/2012 - 07:23
sonti's picture

Lying stems from great fear and unwillingness to cope with it

What is the basic reason for lying? It is ultimately a great fear to cope with someone else, to cope with a conflict with someone else. One prefers to escape the situation of conflict, of shame, of anger and instead lies. There is always fear there and it is always related to some other person or people.

So it is always fear related to someone else plus the inability or rather the unwillingness to cope with this fear.

The spiritual path doesn't oblige us not to fear. We have no control over the appearance of fear anyway. But the spiritual path does oblige us to cope with this fear, this is actually a central theme of our spiritual work - to be brave enough to observe and accept whatever difficult feeling that rises, including and above all fear. And if we tend to lie then it means that we are not coping with these fears.

sonti | Fri, 08/31/2012 - 05:14
leo's picture

Lying to others means you

Lying to others means you take them to be separate, you take them to be aliens. You preserve the attitude of "me" and "them" and of the "me" has to protect against the "them".

This is in contrast with one of the main themes of spiritual development - to seek the mental deep understanding that you are one.

leo | Mon, 09/03/2012 - 07:58
Jibanda's picture

Fear and ego

The problem is not the lying itself but mainly the reason that forces us to lie, the inner drive to lie. This reason is either fear or ego. If you want to advance spiritually, you need to work on your ego and fears.

In other words, lying is not the obstacle but rather a signal of the obstacle.

Jibanda | Wed, 09/05/2012 - 19:59
mika's picture

Because he who lies is not

Because he who lies is not you and by lying and protecting your lie you strengthen your identification with this lying "I" instead of disidentifying and diving inside to your real essence, real you which is what spirituality is all about.

mika | Sun, 09/09/2012 - 20:09
nathan's picture

It is important to note that

It is important to note that lies also include things that we present as facts that are not so, presenting something in a confident way while we are not confident about it at all and so on.

These kinds of lies are very relevant on the spiritual path and are being used by many of us sometimes without being aware of it in real time.

nathan | Tue, 09/11/2012 - 08:27
erez's picture

Identification with body+mind

He who lies is not you, it is the body+mind. And when the body+mind lies, it strengthens your identification with this body_mind.

It strengthens your identification because the act of lying, of not simply telling the truth always stems from fear, from anxiety, even if this act of lying has become natural and automatic for you.

erez | Tue, 09/18/2012 - 08:25
shira's picture

Right Speech (Samma Vaca)

Right speech is the third factor in the Buddha's noble eight-fold path.

And right speech according to the Buddha includes the abstaining from lying (false speech). It also includes, by the way, the abstaining from divisive speech, from abusive speech, and from idle chatter which lead to the same result.

Some Buddhist scholars explain that the probable reason behind this Right Speech precept is that if you can't control your mouth, there's no way you can hope to control your mind.

shira | Mon, 09/24/2012 - 16:20
Tania's picture

Lying creates a false reality

Lying creates a false reality. You can notice that for example when at work you pretend to be very busy while you have no work at all. At some point you notice that you actually became very tense and agitated as if you are truly very busy.

The false reality that you create by lying is only in your mind. Thus a buffer is created between you, the observer and reality, a buffer that obscures truth.

Spirituality is mainly seeing reality as it is and so if one does not train himself to refrain from lying, his spirituality is redundant, he is wasting his time.

As someone said here before, the worse lie of a spiritual person is presenting to others a spiritual hypothesis as a fact.

Tania | Tue, 10/09/2012 - 05:02
Elijah_NatureBoy's picture

A Lie Is Sometimes Necessary!

In developing into a spiritual person I've discovered there is a time and place for all things without exception. Lying, I've found, is sometimes prophecies of one's future, here's an example.

When I was 15 I left my mother in Fort Worth, Texas and went to my daddy in Baker, Louisiana. At school I was being kidded about not having engaged in sex when I made the statement before having engaged in sexual intercourse, "I have 6 children by five different mothers, one not [African-American] and one by another boys wife." My first girlfriend, at age 19, conceived my first and my third girlfriend my second, my first wife conceived my third and fifth while a Vietnamese did my fourth and the wife of a boy in Vietnam my sixth. That lie was repeated several times that year while living with my daddy, yet, by the time I was 26 the lie became a reality.

Of course, at that time I was not aware that I was on a spiritual journey although upon being "spiritually conceived" I was told I had already been taught by spirit. And there are other such things I thought were lies but became prophetic truths.

My findings are also, as long as we have never experienced the metamorphosis, called "New Birth" in Christianity, it's almost impossible not to lie and since being metamorphosed sometimes a white lie is more appropriate than the truth. However, when we tell the "white lie" we must consciously remind ourselves that we lied at that moment in order to see why it was necessary, which will reveal itself.

--Elijah "NatureBoy"--
Presenting SEEDS OF LIFE @

Elijah_NatureBoy | Sun, 01/12/2014 - 16:35
NIKKI | Sat, 06/29/2019 - 14:29