Perfection of Ethics

Ethics 

This paramita is the enlightened quality of virtuous and ethical behavior, morality, self-discipline, impeccability, personal integrity, honor, and harmlessness.  

The essence of this paramita is that through our love and compassion we do not harm others; we are virtuous and harmless in our thoughts, speech, and actions.  

This practice of ethical conduct is the very foundation for progressing in any practice of meditation and for attaining all higher realizations on the path. Our practice of generosity must always be supported by our practice of ethics; this ensures the lasting results of our generosity.  

We should perfect our conduct by eliminating harmful behavior and following the Bodhisattva precepts. We abstain from killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, divisive speech, harsh speech, gossip, greed, malice, and wrong views.  

Following these precepts or guidelines is not meant to be a burden or a restriction of our freedom. We follow these precepts so we can enjoy greater freedom, happiness, and security in our lives, because through our virtuous behavior we are no longer creating suffering for ourselves and others.  

We must realize that unethical behavior is always the cause of suffering and unhappiness. If we give even the slightest consideration to the advantages of cultivating ethical behavior and the disadvantages of unethical behavior, we will certainly develop great enthusiasm for this practice of ethics.  

Practicing the perfection of ethics, we are free of negativity, we cause no harm to others by our actions, our speech is kind and compassionate, and our thoughts are free of anger, malice, and wrong views.  

When our commitment is strong in the practice of ethics we are at ease, naturally confident, without stress, and happy because we are not carrying any underlying sense of guilt or remorse for our actions; we have nothing to hide.  

Maintaining our personal honor and integrity, our moral impeccability, this is the cause of all goodness, happiness, and even the attainment of enlightenment.

Source: Used with permission from Neil Cohen at Naljor Prison Dharma Service, PO Box 1177, Mount Shasta CA 96067.

Following is a chart listing the ten non-virtuous and ten virtuous actions: 

 

 

Ten Non-Virtuous/Virtuous Actions 

 

 

Non-Virtuous Actions  

 

 

Virtuous Actions  

 

 

Actions of Body 

 

 

Killing  

 

Protecting life  

 

 

Stealing 

 

Generosity; giving 

 

 

Sexual misconduct 

 

Loyalty and trustworthiness 

 

 

Actions of Speech 

 

 

Lying 

 

 

Truthfulness; honesty   

 

Divisive speech  

 

 

 

Tolerance, reconciliation, and harmony 

 

 

Harsh speech  

 

Kind speech 

 

 

Meaningless talk /  

idle gossip 

 

 

Meaningful, positive and beneficial talk 

 

 

 

Actions of Mind 

 

 

Craving (covetousness) 

 

 

Contentedness; gratitude  

 

 

 

Aversion (ill-will) 

 

 

Love; compassion 

 

Wrong view (delusion) 

 

 

Right view (wisdom) 

 

 

UNHAPPINESS 

 

 

 

HAPPINESS 

 

 

©  Alexander Peck 2013  

 

 

A PDF copy of this table can be downloaded by clicking on Ten Non-Virtuous / Virtuous Actions.

Photo Credit: Intellimon Ltd.