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Buddhism and Me: Right Action 
29th-Jan-2012 10:00 am

1. Introduction
2. The Three Refuges
3. The Four Noble Truths
The Eightfold Path:
4. Right Understanding
5. Right Intent
6. Right Speech


“And what is right action? Abstaining from taking life, abstaining from stealing, abstaining from unchastity. This is called right action.”
-  Buddha Gotama

I always thought this was the third part of the Eightfold Path, until looking things up for this series of posts, when I found out that Right Speech was the first part of ethical conduct, and Right Action the second. It would make sense, right? Action the most important with speech part of action. But the power of speech and thoughts can be so powerful that it does make sense to list them higher.

As with Right Speech, what makes up Right Action has been kindly codified for practitioners through the Dharma.

There are three important parts of Right Action: to abstain from harming sentient beings; to abstain from taking that which is not freely given, and to abstain from sexual misconduct. There is a code like this is most faith-based lifestyles: don’t kill, don’t steal and don’t rape. And don’t act in ways leading to those actions. These aspects of behaviour form three of the Five Precepts; a guide of behaviour for lay practitioners such as myself, and because each of those precepts also have a bead on my bracelet, I will address them individually in later posts.

In the meantime, I give the precepts here, just in case questions come up in the comments I can address later.

The Five Precepts:

  1. I will abstain from harming living beings
  2. I will abstain from taking things that are not freely given
  3. I will abstain from sexual misconduct
  4. I will abstain from false speech
  5. I will abstain from the consumption of intoxicating substances.

Monastic life also involves eight or ten precepts, but they are not what I’m concerned with in this series of posts.

As mentioned before, my beads run parallel to a 21-bead mala, and dedicating a bead for each precept is as important to me and reminding myself about each of them by gving myself the time to hold the beads and take the precepts, for myself, throughout the day.

I know this has been a brief one, but that is because I do think each of these deserves its own post.


This post can also be found at Thagomizer.net. Feel free to join in the conversation wherever you feel most comfortable.

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