Glossary of Pali and Buddhist Terms
Talk No. 6
September 10, 2000
By Ajahn Suchart (Abhijato Bhikkhu)
Translated by Chantaporn Gomutputra
Edited by June Gibb
Buddha teaches that we all have our kamma, intentional acts that result in a
favorable or unfavorable outcome, as our possession. Whatever we do we are the
recipients. Through his
enlightenment he could see that our joy and sorrow are the consequences of our
actions done through our body, speech and thought.
If we do good, wholesome and meritorious kamma, happiness and prosperity,
would follow. On the other hand if
we do bad, unwholesome, and demeritorious kamma, sorrow and deprivation would
follow. Knowing we all desire
happiness and detest pain he therefore exhorts us to do good and avoid doing
evil because good kamma generates joy and peace, while doing evil creates stress
and pain for both ourselves and others.
we cannot do good, at least we should abstain from doing bad kamma.
Our mind may not be cool, but at least itís not on fire. Unwholesome
actions can be committed in three ways, through body, speech and mind that would
result in sorrow and pain.
ten unwholesome actions consist of three actions committed through the body -
killing, stealing and committing adultery; four actions by way of speech - lying,
foul mouthing, inciting hatred, and frivolous talk; and three actions by way of
thought are greed, anger and delusion.
should refrain from these ten unwholesome actions because they would only hurt
others and ourselves, like killing for example.
To lose our lives is excruciatingly painful because we all value life
very dearly, whether we are human or the tiniest animal.
All living creatures large or small are the same in this regard. If we
donít want to be killed then we shouldnít kill others.
We should also abstain from stealing because it hurts the people we steal
from, and also from committing adultery, which causes us to worry about getting
caught and punished.
resist these unwholesome actions we must develop and deploy metta or loving-kindness
because when we have metta we know how to forgive and forget. By forgiving we
eliminate hatred and vengeance and save others and ourselves a lot of trouble
and pain. We should therefore develop lots and lots of metta by treating others
as our brothers and sisters, as friends in aging, sickness and death, and as
fellow travelers in these ceaseless rounds of rebirth and suffering. We all
already have enough suffering on our hands; we shouldnít therefore inflict any
more on each other.
can be avoided by getting a job. If we have a job and earn our own living then
we won't have to steal.
To avoid committing adultery, we should be satisfied with what we have, with our own husbands and wives. If we are satisfied, then we will not want more. Wanting more is delusion. We think that it will be better if we can just have this person. But instead of getting better, many problems follow. The best way to prevent sufferings caused by adultery is that we must restrain our desires. If we let our desires lead the way and do what we want, we will never feel that we have enough and will never be satisfied.
men have hundreds of wives because they lack mind control. They think that they
have money and can use it to buy whoever they want. But they are not really
happy because they feel they need more. Therefore, please be satisfied with your
own husbands and wives. One is enough. It is happier than having dozens because
you will not have problems with mistresses quarrelling and fighting. The husband
who is in the midst of all these will not be able to eat or sleep because he
will have to choose one or the other, and he cannot make that decision easily.
Therefore, restrain your desire. Have only one love, one wife.
This will bring the real happiness.
speech like telling lies can be prevented by striving to tell only the truth.
Always tell the truth. Do not tell lies or deceive others. Before saying
anything, make sure what we say is true. If not, then do not say it.
Better to keep quiet. When
you want to say something, it must be true. Then there will be no lies. If you
are used to telling lies, then your words become worthless. When Rahula, the
Buddhaís son, was ordained as a novice, the Buddha taught him that his
integrity is measured by his truthfulness.
Buddha gave an example by filling a bowl with water then pouring it out little
by little. He then told Rahula that every time he told a lie, his integrity
decreased just like the water that had been poured from the bowl.
If he continued to speak falsehood, his trustworthiness would entirely
disappear just like the water from the bowl. Lies destroyed our integrity. Every
time we told a lie, our credibility diminished.
If telling lies became our habit, then no one would ever believe what we
say. We would become worthless.
is like the story of a shepherd who yelled for help. The first time that he yelled wolf, people rushed to help
only to discover that they were deceived. Then when the wolves really came, no
one came to help because they no longer believed him.
His words carried no weight. Therefore, please value truth, value your
words, know the consequences of telling lies, and refrain from telling them.
If you cannot tell the truth, just keep quiet or talk about something
else such as the weather, the rain, the sky, the sun or the storm. Itís better
to be evasive than to tell lies.
donít use foul language because itís not nice. There are two kinds of beauty:
beautiful looks and beautiful words. No one will want to be with girls
who look beautiful but have foul mouths. Boyfriends and husbands will soon leave
them because of their vulgarity. When
they get angry, they swear. How can
husbands live with them? Even being
as beautiful as a Miss Universe cannot obscure their rudeness. If you want to be
loved and cherished by others, then you must be beautiful both in your looks and
your words. If you donít look beautiful, you can still be beautiful by what
you say. Words are more important than looks. Everyone wants to hear nice things
and be near such speakers. Listening
to the Buddhaís Dhamma talks brought joy and contentment because they were
beautiful from the beginning to the end. Hearing them brought happiness and
wisdom. Therefore, please check your words the same way you check yourself in
the mirror to see how you look before leaving the house. Think before you speak.
Be mindful when you speak; make sure you speak politely.
do not incite people to hatred by saying things that will cause them to
misunderstand each other. For
example, do not drive a wedge between a loving couple by telling the husband
that his wife was with another man, and vice versa. This causes people to break
up and brings them sufferings. If
people find out the truth afterwards, no one would want to associate with us.
we say something, say it with kindness. Make
sure it benefits others. If what we say is not useful, then do not say it.
When a wise man says things about himself, he only talks about his faults
even though he has very few. He does not talk much about his achievements
although he has plenty. On the other hand, when he talks about others, he only
concentrates on their good side even if they do not have many. Saying something
good about others can only be beneficial while saying something bad can only be
damaging. There are good and bad in
all of us. Why talk only of the bad
side? Why not talk about the good side? Saying
something nice brings happiness to everyone, including the speaker and the one
being talked about. Therefore, be careful of what you say. Say only good things,
nice things. Do not destroy each other with your words.
abstain from frivolous talk. Talking
for the sake of talking is useless. Gossiping is a waste of time. We should talk
about things that impart knowledge and benefits like talking about our work,
about maintaining the moral precepts or about the Dhamma teaching.
are three unwholesome actions committed by the mind namely, greed, hatred, and
delusion. When greed arises, suffering follows; we become restless and
agitated. When we see things, we want them immediately.
If the desire is so strong and we cannot obtain these things in the
proper way, we will resort to dishonest ways such as stealing.
But if we are satisfied with what we have, this greed will diminish or
may even disappear. If we have no greed, we shall be happy because no kilesa
remains in our mind.
the same is true with hatred because it strokes the fire of revenge in our mind.
When we are very angry, we may want that person to die a thousand deaths.
We must forgive and have kindness. If
we can always forgive, we shall be able to conquer ourselves.
When we vanquish others, they would hate us.
When they beat us, we would hate them.
But if we conquer ourselves by subduing our anger, our mind will be cool
and calm. For example, now you are sitting here without any anger, you
are comfortable and at ease. But if
you were angry, how would you feel? You
would be agitated and ill at ease.
when we become angry with someone, try to stay calm and tell ourselves to leave
him alone. Whatever he said or did
has already happened. Nothing could
be changed. It is impossible for
him to do things that would please us every time.
What can be done now is to forgive him.
Once we forgive, we become peaceful because the poisonous elements have
been driven out of our mind. It is
as though nothing has happened. But
if we swear at him or constantly think of him, we become hateful and unhappy.
When we get angry, it is like banging our head with a hammer.
When we get angry, others donít suffer with us.
The person who makes us angry knows nothing of the pain we are going
through or suffers the pain with us. The
ones who suffer are ourselves. Therefore,
when we get angry, try to forgive, then we will be calm and cool.
we must get rid of our delusion. What
is delusion? Itís the
misperception of the truth such as seeing wrong as right, bad as good, doing
good as a waste of time, or doing evil as profitable. Why is this so? It is because we havenít yet experienced the consequences
of our good deeds. After making
merits and not seeing the immediate results, we have no incentive to do good
deeds and prefer to do bad deeds. For example, instead of giving to charity, we
spend money on alcohol, on parties, on having fun, which make us instantly happy.
But we fail to see the pain and anxiety hidden behind this happiness when
we run out of money to spend on having fun.
we must listen to the Dhamma teaching in order to see that wholesome actions are
meritorious, and unwholesome actions are harmful. Doing good deeds bring happiness, doing evil deeds brings
suffering. When we experience the
result of our skilful actions in our mind, we will want to do more.
Bad people prefer to do evil deeds and do not like to do good deeds
because they do not believe in the consequences of good and bad kamma.
Good people like to do good kamma and abstain from doing bad kamma
because they believe in the results of kamma.
The way to understand the consequences of kamma is to constantly listen
to the Dhamma teaching. We should
seek after enlightened teachers and study Dhamma from them in order to become
wise and enlightened ourselves. Then
we will see that doing good kamma is beneficial and doing bad kamma is harmful
for us. We should therefore do only good kamma and abstain from doing
bad kamma. Then we will always be
happy and prosperous.