Question re- heinous crime

One kills and If they turn out to be one’s own mother or father, even if one did not know that they were, then it amounts to a heinous crime.
Is this statement correct?

I would say no. However, I don’t believe that this situation is directly addressed in the Suttas.

But according to my understanding of the Vinaya, in order for something to qualify as murder in the full sense, there must be an agreement of the “object” (in this case, one’s parents) and one’s “perception” (i.e. that they are one’s parents.) If they really are your parents, but you don’t correctly perceive them as such, then it is not the full offence.

It’s not possible to draw a simple one-to-one correspondence between Vinaya offences and kammic responsibility. Still, in this case, it seems to agree with our moral intuition. To murder anyone is terrible; to murder one’s parents is specially heinous; but if you don’t know it’s your parents, it can hardly be the same level of accountability.

I should note that I also believe that the idea that killing your parents sends you to hell applies only to murder. It doesn’t apply to cases of killing that are not murder, for example, self-defense, accident, or euthanasia.


How would we qualify a murder of parents committed under influence of alcohol or drugs? On the one hand, one cannot think straight while in this state and can perceive their parents as someone else. On the other hand, drinking alcohol is their own fault and is legally regarded as an aggravating circumstance.

Another interesting question is how would Vinaya treat a monk that got drunk or high on drugs and killed someone perceiving them as an inanimate object?

Someone who is really angry cannot think straight and perceives someone else as worth harming, the kammic consequences of this are bad. I don’t see why it would be different with drugs/alcohol, probably why there is a 5th precept IMO.

I don’t think being angry or intoxicated would be an excuse under Vinaya. Only a genuine psychosis is a sufficient excuse. I think the standard is similar to the legal one.


A person with anger or intoxicated is already in Niraya. (woeful state)