He lied: a crime worse
than killing—for trusting him
we could die and die
I am paraphrasing the Buddha here. But this is the essence of what he said: Lying is a more severe and devastating and deadly crime and sin than is killing.
Because if you “only” kill someone, you’ve only destroyed one life, but if you lie to him or her—especially in matters of the spirit (and some founders of religions knowingly lied and some leaders of religious sects or cults or branches, some knowingly though some perhaps not, continue to do so to this day)—and steer this man or woman in the wrong direction, away from truth, you may well have killed him or her a thousand times over, since by following your advice true liberation will elude the lied-to and the true path home may not be (re)discovered for aeons. That means you have killed him or her many, many times over.
Is this a stretch?
On the surface, yes, perhaps. And if you do not under any circumstances accept reincarnation or re-birth as a concept or phenomenon, yes, perhaps it is a stretch, for you. But if you allow for re-birth, or even the remotest possibility of it, and if you face and accept that the most important mission any of us has here on this little planet of ours is to wake up and make our way out of this prison/trap, then a wrong steer would clearly be far more catastrophic to our long-term well-being and sanity than a mere loss of a single body.
Not to mention the many hopes such lying dashes.
Yes, I believe this to be true.