Do not lie
Do not idle your time
Do not steal
Dr. Martinez works as a natural medical doctor in Perú. His ancestors settled there many generations ago, and since he is a mix of Native American and Spaniard. He travels back and forth to the United States, where his son lives.
Dr. Martinez tells me that this phrase was spoken by Incan leaders as a kind of motto that instructed people how to live good lives. He values these tenets as basic to a good life, and he believes they represent the culture of the area.
It seems that this phrase is pretty all-encompassing in terms of vice. If you dont lie, idle your time, or steal, you should be a good person. It parallels the Ten Commandments in the authoritative nature. Many of the Ten Commandments outline what not to do in a similar manner, and are also meant to be guidelines to living a good life. These three commands, however, leave out many vices, particularly that of murder. It sounds elegant, but might not be, because it lacks such important ideals. I think this phrase is held onto due to a romanticized view of the Inca Empire. This has remained a powerful message and is used often today.
Annotation: This proverb is discussed in the followeing work: