The Buddhist Path to Enlightenment (study)

by Dr Kala Acharya | 2016 | 118,883 words

This page relates ‘Right Action (Samma-kammanta or Samyak-karmanta)’ of the study on the Buddhist path to enlightenment. The Buddha was born in the Lumbini grove near the present-day border of India and Nepal in the 6th century B.C. He had achieved enlightenment at the age of thirty–five under the ‘Bodhi-tree’ at Buddha-Gaya. This study investigates the teachings after his Enlightenment which the Buddha decided to teach ‘out of compassion for beings’.

2.4. Right Action (Sammā-kammanta or Samyak-karmānta)

[Full title: The Noble Eightfold Path (Ariya-aṭṭhaṅgika-magga)—(4): Right Action (Sammā-kammanta or Samyak-karmānta)]

Right action is abstinence from three wrong actions:

  1. killing (pāṇātipāta),
  2. stealing (adinnādāna) and
  3. sexual misconduct (kāmesu micchācāra).

Verbal and physical acts not tinged with love and compassion cannot be regarded as good and wholesome. Surely one cannot kill, steal and so forth with thoughts of love and a good conscience, but one is driven by thoughts of cruelty, greed and ignorance.

It is necessary to cultivate a certain measure of mental discipline, because the untamed mind always finds excuses to commit evil in word or deed.

‘When the thought is unguarded, bodily action also is unguarded; so are speech and mental action.’[1]

The Buddha says:

‘A fool is known by his actions and so is a sage. By conduct is knowledge made bright.’

‘One endowed with three qualities should be known as a fool. With what are three? With wrong bodily behavior, wrong speech and wrong thought. A fool should be known as one endowed with these three qualities.’

‘One endowed with three qualities should be known as a sage. With what are three? With right bodily behavior, right speech and right thought. A sage should be known as endowed with these three qualities.’

So, monks, you should train yourselves thus: We shall live have given up the three things endowed with which a man is known as a fool, and shall practice three things endowed with which a man is known as a sage. Thus, monks, should you train yourselves.’

Footnotes and references:


AN I, p. 261

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