Discussion: Right Action: Part 1

The discussion on Friday 7:00 pm – 8:50 pm, 2012 February 10th will be led by Jim. The topic will be the first of a 2 part discussion on Right Action continuing his series of discussions on The Noble Eightfold Path.

From Jim:

During the current week, to prepare for the talk, please mindfully observe your daily life and decision making process:

  • Is it always easy and obvious what right action is?
  • Is it right action to?
  • Pay for a piece of chicken at the grocery store, when you know the point of sale computer system orders another chicken to be killed.
  • Accept without response an abusive email from a neighbor?
  • Place a little white lie in an email at the office when you are convinced it is for the “greater good.
  • Tell an addicted loved one who has no money they must move out of your house?

Please read these two suttas to prepare for the discussion

  1. Magga-vibhanga Sutta: An Analysis of the Path
  2. Cula-hatthipadopama Sutta: The Shorter Elephant Footprint Simile



The first sutta, the Samyutta Nikaya 45:8; V 8 – 10 is a summary sutta and puts down our foundation for Right Action. This starts on p. 239 in one of our anthologies, In the Buddha’s Words.  Jim recommends you read carefully the three short paragraphs on Right Speech, Right Action and Right Livelihood; and skim the rest.


The second sutta, theMajjhima Nikaya 27: I 175-84, is a detailed sutta for monastics. We will work together to determine what it says for us. It starts on p. 241 of In the Buddha’s Words.  Jim recommends scanning the sutta until you get to 12. “A householder or householder’s son …,” then carefully read 12 and 13 (“Having thus gone forth…”). Thirteen takes you through abandoning destruction of life, taking what is not given and sexual relations. In the Access To Insight translation above See the page or so under Virtue.


Jim will bring:

  • A few different translations of the Dhammapada to share some background on Right Action.
  • The Buddhist Monastic Code to use as a basis of our discussion on what is “Right” for us lay followers.

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