The Buddha's Teaching



2. Right Intention

NARRATOR TWO: The survey of right view is now concluded. The next factor of the Noble Eightfold Path is right intention.

"What is right intention? It is the intention of renunciation, the intention of non-ill will, the intention of non-cruelty: this is called right intention."

SN 45:8; DN 22


"When a noble disciple has clearly seen with right understanding, as it actually is, how little gratification sensual desires provide and how much pain and despair they entail, and how great is their inadequacy, and he attains to happiness and pleasure dissociated from sensual desires and unwholesome states, or to something higher than that, then he is no more interested in sensual desires."

MN 14


"Even if bandits brutally severed him limb from limb with a two-handled saw, he who entertained hate in his heart on that account would not be one who followed my teaching."

MN 21


"He does not choose for his own affliction, or for others' affliction, or for the affliction of both."

MN 13



3. Right Speech

NARRATOR TWO: These two factors of right view and right intention together constitute (the group of path factors) "understanding" (paa). Now the third factor, right speech.

"What is right speech? Abstention from lying, slander, abuse, and gossip; this is called right speech."

SN 45:8; DN 22


"Here someone abandons lying: when summoned to a court or to a meeting or to his relatives' presence or to his guild or to the royal family's presence and questioned as a witness thus 'So, good man, tell what you know,' then, not knowing, he says 'I do not know,' knowing, he says 'I know,' not seeing, he says 'I do not see,' seeing, he says 'I see'; he does not in full awareness speak falsehood for his own ends or for another's ends or for some petty worldly end.

"He abandons slander: as one who is neither a repeater elsewhere of what is heard here for the purpose of causing division from these, nor a repeater to these of what is heard elsewhere for the purpose of causing division from those, who is thus a reuniter of the divided, a promoter of friendships, enjoying concord, rejoicing in concord, delighting in concord, he becomes a speaker of words that promote concord.

"He abandons abuse: he becomes a speaker of such words as are innocent, pleasing to the ear and lovable, as go to the heart, are civil, desired of many and dear to many.

"He abandons gossip: as one who tells that which is reasonable, factual, good, and the Dhamma and Discipline, he speaks in season speech worth recording, which is reasoned, definite, and connected with good."

MN 41



4. Right Action

NARRATOR TWO: And the fourth factor, right action.

"What is right action? Abstention from killing living beings, stealing, misconduct in sensual desires: this is called right action."

SN 45:8; DN 22


"When a lay follower possesses five things, he lives with confidence in his house, and he will find himself in heaven as sure as if he had been carried off and put there. What are the five? He abstains from killing living beings, from taking what is not given, from misconduct in sensual desires, from speaking falsehood, and from indulging in liquor, wine, and fermented brews."

AN 5:172-73



5. Right Livelihood

NARRATOR TWO: And the fifth factor, right livelihood.

"What is right livelihood? Here a noble disciple abandons wrong livelihood and gets his living by right livelihood."

SN 45:8; DN 22


"Scheming (to deceive), persuading, hinting, belittling, and pursuing gain with gain; this is called wrong livelihood (for bhikkhus)."

MN 117


"There are five trades that a lay follower should not ply. What five? They are: trading in weapons, living beings, meat, liquor, and poisons."

AN 5:177



6. Right Effort

NARRATOR TWO: These last three factors, right speech, action, and livelihood, constitute (the group of path factors) "virtue" (sila). They are known as the preliminary stage of the path. Now comes the sixth factor, right effort.

"What is right effort? Here a bhikkhu awakens desire for the non-arising of unarisen evil unwholesome states, for which he makes efforts, arouses energy, exerts his mind, and endeavours. He awakens desire for the abandoning of arisen evil unwholesome states, for which he makes efforts ... He awakens desire for the arising of unarisen wholesome states, for which he makes efforts ... He awakens desire for the continuance, non-corruption, strengthening, maintenance in being, and perfecting, of arisen wholesome states, for which he makes efforts, arouses energy, exerts his mind, and endeavours: this is called right effort."

SN 45:8; DN 22


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