To abstain from all evil, to cultivate the good, and to purify one’s mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
Dhammapada 183, translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi
The Buddha mentions three components of right action as part of the 8-fold path: (1) abstaining from taking life, (2) abstaining from taking what is not given, and (3) abstaining from sexual misconduct. You might recognize these as three of the five training precepts. Many of the same elements turn up in various lists of the Buddha’s training, and we can deduce that the more often something is repeated, the more important it is to give it our attention.
(1) Abstaining from taking life
…means not killing or harming any sentient being. The impulse to take life is based on some form of aversion or anger. An example of this is when we swat a mosquito that’s sucking our blood; if we…
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