An ageing monk was sitting contentedly basking in the sun just outside the cave where he lived when all of a sudden a beautiful young lady came running to him, in a state of some distress. “Please,” she exclaimed, “a man is running after me who I think is going to kill me! Please, please can I hide in your cave?” Without waiting for the monk to reply, she runs into the cave and secretes herself in the darkest corner. Five minutes later a man riding a horse stops by the entrance of the cave. He is fierce some looking and holding a sword and looking extremely angry as he asks the old monk, “Have you seen a young woman? I saw her running in this direction.” Now the rules of the monk’s order were never to touch women and not to tell an untruth. Therefore serenely and without demurring he replies, “What do you think an old monk like me would be doing with a woman?” The angry man believes his answer as being true and so rides off into the sunset.The monk however did not tell a direct lie, but by choosing his words carefully he saved the three lives of three people: the woman, the old monk and the man who would surely have been killed for murdering them.
"Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill." The Buddha