Sincerity or truthfulness (sacca) is another perfection the Bodhisatta developed. When one is seeking the truth one is inclined to truthfulness also in speech. The Bodhisatta did not speak falsehood and he always kept his promise, even when he was in danger of life. The commentary to the Cariyapitaka Ven. Bodhi, p. 283 speaks about different aspects of truthfulness:


“Without truthfulness, virtue, etc. is impossible,

and there can be no practice in accordance with ones vows.

All evil states converge upon the transgression of truth.

One who is not devoted to truth is unreliable

and his word cannot be accepted in the future.

On the other hand, one devoted to truth secures the foundations of all noble qualities.

With truthfulness as the foundation,

he is capable of purifying and fulfilling all the requisites of enlightenment.

Not deceived about the true nature of dhammas,

he performs the functions of all the requisites of enlightenment

and completes the practice of the Bodhisatta path.”

The same commentary gives the following definition of truthfulness:

“Truthfulness has the characteristic of non-deceptiveness in speech;

its function is to verify in accordance with fact;

its manifestation is excellence;

honesty is its proximate cause.

The function of truthfulness is verifying according to fact.”

  What are the facts? Our ignorance and the many defilements which arise are facts. We should not be deluded about realities. Do we want to know them as they are, or do we pretend to be more virtuous and wise than we actually are? It takes courage to verify according to fact, and sincerity is indispensable for the development of right understanding. We may take akusala citta for kusala citta, but we have to verify the truth. For example, when we are helping others we may think that there are kusala cittas all the time, but is this true? “Helping can be very superior”, Bhante Dhammadharo reminded us. Is there conceit, is there up-holding of ourselves in our dealings with others? Do we expect kindness in return for our good deeds? Very shortly after the kusala cittas have fallen away there are bound to be akusala cittas but we may not notice this. We take for kusala what is akusala, but also the opposite may be the case. We may take, for example, confidence in the Dhamma for lobha. When there is confidence in wholesomeness (saddha cetasika) it can be accompanied by pleasant feeling and since lobha can also be accompanied by pleasant feeling, we may think that as soon as there is pleasant feeling there must be akusala citta. It is not easy to know the true facts, but we can verify according to fact by being mindful of the different realities of our daily life.

Topic 267