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Episode 9 Transcript: Right Action

Episode 9, 13 December 2013, Right Action. [06:12]


Intro: Welcome to Buddhism Guide’s Audio blog.

Episode 9: Right Action. [00:30]

1. The next part of the Eightfold Path is Right Action. [30:00]

  • The next part of the Eightfold Path is Right Action.
  • This is talking about actions of the body.
  • Right Action is divided into 3 parts:
    1. Refrain from Taking Life;
    2. Refrain from Stealing, and
    3. Refrain from Sexual Misconduct.

2. Refraining from taking life. [00:52]

  • Refraining from taking life, or causing others to take life, is not just talking about humans, but all beings.
  • It is no good us refraining from taking life ourselves, if we are going to encourage others to take life.
  • Gautama Buddha taught, that all life is precious and so should not be ended by others.
    • It should be noted here that I am talking about intentionally taking life.
    • It is of course a fact, that we unintentionally take life every time we walk around.
    • If we walk across a field to meet a friend, we take the lives of many insects.
    • However, this was not our intention; we just wanted to meet our friend.
  • If we are present in the moment and conscious of every step, we can however, reduce the lives we take, and the harm we cause.
  • We may feel that taking the lives of flies, or mosquitoes do not count, but of course they do.
  • Every being is interconnected, and so by killing something, we are somehow tipping the balance of nature.
  • So to live in harmony with the world, we must refrain from killing.

3. Refraining from Stealing. [02:17]

  • When we take something that has not been given, we are hurting ourselves as well as others.
    • Obviously, people will be upset and hurt if you steal from them, but you will also get yourself a bad reputation.
    • People will not trust you, or want you as a friend, which is going to make you suffer.
  • Gautama Buddha was not just talking about stealing here, but also fraud, deceit and cheating people out of money.
  • All of these acts are carried out due to greed, jealousy, pride and sometimes even hatred.
  • The way to counter this, is by having respect for other people’s belongings.
    • Being honest, generous, and above all, contented with what we have.
    • If we are honest, we would never steal or defraud people.
    • If we act out of generosity, we would never want anybody else’s possessions.
    • In fact, we would want to share our own belongings and wealth.
  • If we are content, and this really is the heart of the matter, we would see no need to take what does not belong to us, or cheat another person in any way, because we would already have enough to keep us satisfied.

4. Refraining from Sexual Misconduct. [03:49]

  • Inappropriate sexual conduct is when we cause harm to someone with a sexual act.
  • This includes:
    1. rape,
    2. forcing your partner to have sex when they do not want to, and
    3. having sex with an underage child.
  • All of these will bring harm to people, and so we must refrain from such hurtful acts.

5. The 10 Unwholesome Acts. [04:18]

  • If we do not kill, do not steal and do not use sex in an inappropriate way, we will not be causing harm to anybody with our bodies, and we will be following Gautama Buddha’s Right Action.
  • However, we have to ensure that all our actions, not just our bodily actions, do not bring harm to ourselves or others.
  • One way of doing this is by refraining from the 10 Unwholesome Ways to Act.
  • They are as follows:
    1. Refrain from taking the life of any being;
    2. Refrain from taking what is not freely given;
    3. Refrain from inappropriate sexual conduct;
    4. Refrain from lying;
    5. Refrain from divisive speech;
    6. Refrain from using harsh words;
    7. Refrain from idle talk;
    8. Refrain from coveting others’ possessions;
    9. Refrain from resenting the good fortune of others;
    10. Refrain from holding a closed mind about things one doesn’t fully understand.
  • If we refrain from these 10 Unwholesome Acts, we will not be harming others with our body, speech or mind.

Outro. [05:50]

  • You can find more information about this subject in Karma Yeshe Rabgye’s books at
    1. The best way to catch a snake – A Practical Guide to the Buddha’s Teachings;
    2. Life’s meandering path – A Secular Approach to Gautama Buddha’s Guide to Living;
    3. Ripples in the stream – A Pragmatic Journey Through Gautama Buddha’s Teachings.
  • They’re available now, from Amazon and Kindle.
  • Thank you so much for listening, and I hope you enjoyed this audio blog.




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