Dharma Mom

Right Conduct and Action


Chapter 1: The Threefold Training

Chapter 2: The Five Precepts

Chapter 3: The Four Right Efforts

Chapter 4: Beneficial Actions

Chapter 5: Harmful Actions

Chapter 6: Right Speech

Chapter 7: The Practice of Non-Violence


Throughout the book, rich imagery, metaphors, and similes could be used to illustrate the concepts of Right Conduct or Action, as well as references to the five senses to allow the reader to experience the teachings on a deeper level. Quotes from primary sources such as the Sutras and Words of the Buddha could be used to reinforce the teachings and provide a deeper understanding of their significance.

Right Action consists of bodily conduct free from harmful effects: refraining from killing, stealing and sexual misconduct. It involves proper means of livelihood and skillful action that conduces to one’s own welfare and that of others. Right Action stems from Right Intention and leads to Right Livelihood.

The Buddha taught that all volitional actions of body, speech and mind originate from the mind, are rooted in intention, and leave seeds that ripen into results. Therefore, the key lies in purifying intentions and cultivating Right View.

Renunciation is the heart of Right Action, which involves letting go of harmful activities, craving and attachments. It is an inward act of releasing identities and desires rather than rejecting the world. Restraint based on wisdom opens inner freedom.

The essence of wisdom is harmlessness. The Word of the Dhammapada says:”Whoever harms the harmless does not go straightly to heaven.” Right Action radiates goodwill and avoids harming others as one avoids harming oneself, seeing all beings as one’s self.

Right Action follows the Middle Way, avoiding extremes of indulgence and austerity. It balances involvement in the world with spiritual practice and detachment. The path of moderation leads to awakening.

Right Action is cultivated through daily practice :

The fruit of Right Action is:

Part I: The Seeds of Action

  1. Renunciation as the Heart of Right Action
    – Quote from the Buddha: “Cease to do evil, learn to do good.”
    – Metaphor: Renunciation as a release like leaves falling from a tree
    – Personal story: Remembering a time you chose to let go of harmful actions
    – Practice: Cultivating restraint through daily living
  2. Harmlessness: The Essence of Wisdom
    – Quote from the Dhammapada: “Whoever harms the harmless… suffers pain.”
    – Sensory experience: Feeling freedom that comes from harmless choices
    – Simile: Right Action walks an untrodden path of non-harming
    – Vision: Seeing all beings as one’s self
  3. The Middle Way of Wise Action
    – Quote: “Avoiding extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dharma.”
    – Details: Balancing activity and renunciation, worldly involvement and retreat
    – Parable: The Eye (vision requires both sight and form)
    – Story: An old teacher embodying wisdom through Right Action

Part II: Growing Action from Within

  1. Tend the Garden Within
    – Metaphor: Cultivating wise action like tending a garden
    – Details: Daily practices that nurture wise choices
    – Experience: Using difficult situations as fertilizer for awakening
    – Quote from a Sutta: “Guard your actions, words and thoughts.”
  2. Watering Seeds of Wisdom Continually
    – Simile: Right Action watered by mindfulness
    – Concrete examples: How to nourish wise choices in daily life
    – Quote: “Perseverance is the power of the will.”
    – Story: Someone who embodied perseverance in wise action.
  3. Transforming Action “From the Inside Out”
    – Quotes: “Be the change you seek to bring about.”
    – Experience: How inner transformation leads to outer change
    – Simile: Right Action seeds right livelihood, which nourishes right action.
    – Example: An old teacher walking their talk through wise living

Part III: The Fruit of Wise Action

  1. Freedom Through Daily Living
    – Sensory details: Experiencing ease and lightness through renunciation
    – Quote from the Pali Canon: “With actions free from attachment…”
    – Practice: How to bring Right Action into any situation.
    – Story: Remembering a moment freedom arose from letting go.
  2. Joy in Serving Others
    – Metaphor: Skillful action flowers into service
    – Descriptions: Helping another with no thought of reward
    – Quote from the Buddha: “Go from here with a happy and pure heart.”
    – Gratitude: Thankful for all those who have served our highest good.
  3. Unity Through Harmlessness
    – Vision: Seeing actions as intertwined in oneness
    – Quotes: “May all beings be happy, peaceful and free.”
    – Invocation: Aligning actions with the highest good of all.
    – Practice: Bringing wisdom and compassion to conflicting situations.

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