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The Eightfold Path Step 3: Right Action

The Eightfold Path Step 3: Right Action

Right action is also called “right conduct,, and involves how to behave in the physical world from day to day. Some examples of the “rules” are to avoid killing, stealing and sexual misconduct.

These three are obviously serious offences, but for the most part are not an issue for most people in civilized parts of the world.

On the other hand, this subject leads us right into another famous Buddhist “list” called The Five Precepts. We’ll get into these five rules another time, but generally speaking, they fall under the category of “right actions,” but these are more difficult to observe in some cases:

The Five Precepts
1. Refrain from destroying living beings.
2. Refrain from stealing.
3. Refrain from sexual misconduct (adultery, rape, etc.).
4. Refrain from false speech (lying).
5. Refrain from intoxicants, which lead to heedlessness.

The idea behind all this is that improper physical actions leads to an unsound mind, so that in order to have a sound mind and attain Enlightenment, one should act properly with the physical body. In another way of looking at the five precepts, all of these rules involve physical attachments and desires, and as we learned last week with the Noble Truths, desire and attachment is the Buddhists’ “Root of all evil.”

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