The essence of leading an ethical life is that you don’t look for excuses to act wrongly. One excuse is that you have to be dishonest to succeed in this world because everybody else is, and they are getting ahead quickly. And, if you don’t do the same you will lag behind.
Understand that such thinking is the result of weakness of the mind. This meditation will make your mind so strong that you never even consider being unethical; and you will find success at your doorstep. On the contrary, if you fear failure because you are not using underhand methods to succeed, then this fear will become the cause of your failure, whereas the strength of the mind will bring you success. So you must strengthen the mind and not weaken it on some pretext or the other.
As you grow, you will understand further that people who have acquired name, fame, position and wealth through dishonest means, and apparently leading very successful lives, remain agitated and full of misery. When you progress on this path, then you will realize that such people don’t sleep well at night and have no peace of mind during the day. What have they gained by being so successful? The wealth, position, fame and name are all futile if they don’t bring peace and happiness.
On the other hand, a person who is not so wealthy or famous but who has a contented and compassionate heart is a real noble soul and leads a truly happy life. So to compete in the world and be a success, don’t take the wrong path. This is why you are learning to meditate at this young age, so that you do not take a wrong path at any cost. Even for the sake of the right goal, do not walk on the wrong path. Always take the right course for a righteous aim.
It is an unwholesome action under all circumstances. We get into the habit of justifying a lie when it is not morally justifiable. First of all, how are you certain that the reason you lied is OK? Everyone has limitations when it comes to analysing and understanding things, and so do you. It is hard to be perfect and know clearly whether the lie was told for a reasonable cause. And even if you say you are sure that you lied for a good reason, then you are bound to lie again for another reason that you think is good. If you lie repeatedly, you get into the habit of lying, and keep justifying it with the excuse that telling a small lie doesn’t matter. Don’t ever get into the habit of doing this. Don’t be tempted to lie for any reason, however good it appears to be. Speak only the truth.
Sometimes, you might avoid the truth for fear of harming someone. For example, your teacher asks you who in your class was misbehaving. You know your friend is the trouble-maker but you don’t want him to be punished. So you tell a downright lie by saying that your friend is innocent. Understand what has happened because of this. On the surface it seems that telling a small lie has saved him from being punished. But in reality, a great harm has been done and you have in fact helped him to misbehave. Because he wasn’t corrected at the time he made a mistake, he will feel encouraged to do the same thing time and again. So your one lie has opened the doors of misbehaviour and misery for your friend. If the truth had come out, the teacher would have given him the appropriate punishment to stop him from going astray in the future.
There is no harm in maintaining silence if you don’t want to make any comment. If you think you might say something incorrect or misleading, then with humility and firmness, you can refuse to give any reply. You have not done anything wrong in telling the truth, which is that you do not wish to speak. Otherwise, if you try to save someone by making a false statement, you might do him more harm than good. Not only can you harm your friend, but you can harm yourself too by starting a habit of telling lies.