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The Principles of Ethics: Right Action

by Sangharakshita

How can we decide between right and wrong? The Eastern criterion of ethics is psychological rather than theological: ethical behaviour is said to express higher orders of awareness. This lecture explains the Five Shilas (ethical principles), the basic Buddhist precepts.

Talk given in 1968.

This talk is part of the series The Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path.

Tracks (click play to listen)

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1. Recapitulation (6:33) 
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2. The principles of ethics (6:20) 
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3. Western and Christian ethics (7:39) 
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4. Buddhist ethics (5:33) 
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5. The origin of precepts (8:29) 
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6. Introduction to the Five Precepts (2:11) 
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7. The 1st Precept: Abstention from violence - Love (4:30) 
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8. The 2nd Precept: Abstention from taking the not-given - Generosity (1:26) 
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9. The 3rd Precept: Abstention from sexual misconduct - Contentment (3:39) 
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10. The 4th Precept: Abstention from false speech - Truthfulness (0:45) 
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11. The 5th Precept: Abstention from intoxicants - Mindfulness (1:27) 
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12. Additional patterns of ethical behaviour (3:04) 
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13. “Perfect Action is Total Action” (5:41) 


Total running time: 57:17