Is it ever okay to tell a lie?


August 1, 2012. 87-minute recording given at Lower Hamlet, Plum Village by Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the nineteenth dharma talk of the Summer Opening and this is a session of questions and answers. Editor’s note, we have skipped the talks from July 29 & 31 here on this site; it may appear later.


  1. Why is my brother always so nasty to me?
  2. Why does Thay do hand symbols (mudra) during chanting?
  3. Why do Buddhist shave their head?
  4. What should we do if we begin to hate someone we love?


  1. Is it correct to tell a lie if the truth would hurt the person you love?
  2. How can I be stable? How can I live with a person who doesn’t believe in spirituality?
  3. Why is it that monastics sisters have more precepts than monastic brothers? If it is because they have special problems, shouldn’t the brothers at least have the same number of precepts?
  4. How can you help a child recognize their father of they’ve never had te opportunity to know him? For example, artificial insemination.
  5. What was the biggest notion in your life that you’ve overcome?
  6. How do I practice this teaching with suicide?
  7. When you have arrived on the other shore. Do you still think? Do you still suffer?
  8. How do we build and organize a practice center?

By Chan Niem Hy

Dharma Teacher.


  1. Thank you for posting this. There is much here from which I can learn and apply to my work and my interactions with people, even the teachings for the children. In many ways I am still a child and have child’s questions too. These help.

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