In the commentary it's said, in order to lie, all four conditions must be met:

  1. An untrue statement
  2. Intention to deceive
  3. Effort is made
  4. Other deceived by what is said

But according to original Vinaya, AFAIK, whether one is deceived or not is irrelevant. I think that is because the intention to lie arises from the doer not the perceiver. But if last condition is not met i.e. a being is not dead, how can we say someone is killing?

2 Answers 2


According to this description of the vinaya, on page 74+ the conditions for the offence "intentionally deprive a human being of life" includes the result as a necessary condition:

This rule against intentionally causing the death of a human being is best understood in terms of five factors, all of which must be present for there to be the full offense.

  1. Object: a human being, which according to the Vibhaºga includes human fetuses as well, counting from the time consciousness first arises in the womb immediately after conception up to the time of death.
  2. Intention: knowingly, consciously, deliberately, and purposefully wanting to cause that person’s death. “Knowingly” also includes the factor of—
  3. Perception: perceiving the person as a living being.
  4. Effort: whatever one does with the purpose of causing that person to die.
  5. Result: The life-faculty of the person is cut as the result of one’s act.

On page 245 the conditions for telling a lie involves only two factors:

A deliberate lie is a statement or gesture made with the aim of misrepresenting the truth to someone else. The K/Commentary, summarizing the long “wheels” in the Vibhaºga, states that a violation of this rule requires two factors:

  1. Intention: the aim to misrepresent the truth; and
  2. Effort: the effort to make another individual know whatever one wants to communicate based on that aim.

Page 246 says,

Result is not a factor under this rule. Thus whether anyone understands the lie or is deceived by it is irrelevant to the offense.

  • The first precept is clear but is the latter one (result is not a factor) based on Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation only or original Vinaya? Can anyone provide a reference?
    – B1100
    Mar 26, 2016 at 5:20
  • There's another definition here: it doesn't mention result (someone's being deceived) as a condition (whereas the result, i.e. someone dying, is mentioned here).
    – ChrisW
    Mar 26, 2016 at 13:53
  • But do we know whose translation is that? I read somewhere it's said in the original Vinaya it doesn't talk about the last factor. Need someone to clarify this.
    – B1100
    Mar 26, 2016 at 14:17
  • There's an "about this page" in the right-hand margin: that page was translated from Burmese to French by Monk Dhamma Sāmi.
    – ChrisW
    Mar 26, 2016 at 14:34
  • A living being must die as the last factor is mentioned by Buddha in Vinaya, I think. But not sure about fourth precept.
    – B1100
    Mar 26, 2016 at 14:49

The way you memorized the 4th condition is wrong.

The four conditions:

  1. The statement must be untrue.
  2. There must be an intention to deceive.
  3. An effort must be made to deceive.
  4. The other person must know the meaning of what is expressed(whether he is deceived or not).

So it's not a lie if you say something false to your dog.

  • Where are those four conditions defined?
    – ChrisW
    Mar 25, 2016 at 15:49
  • Updated with a link Mar 25, 2016 at 15:56
  • I was wondering whether those conditions are listed in the canon somewhere: in a sutta? Or a commentary or later analysis?
    – ChrisW
    Mar 25, 2016 at 16:08
  • I would look in the commentary. Suttas usually don't go into detail. Mar 25, 2016 at 16:29
  • I wonder whether we need to go into more detail just because it's from commentary. Five precepts I think are more about our relationship with other human being rather than other being. How do we exactly know whether others know the meaning of what is expressed or not? Regarding dog, some dogs or pets can be quite smart. Some people experience accident the result is unable to talk, no one knows whether that person can understand or not. Is that not lying if one tells something false to them?
    – B1100
    Mar 26, 2016 at 5:24

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