The 8th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Another formulation of the path is the Threefold Way of ethics, meditation, and wisdom. This is a progressive path ( threefold training} , as ethics and a clear conscience provides an indispensable basis for meditation, and meditation is the ground on which wisdom can develop.
To live is to act, and our actions can have either harmful or beneficial consequences for ourselves and others. Buddhist ethics is concerned with the principles and practices that help one to act in ways that help rather than harm.
The core ethical code is known as the Five Precepts. These are not rules or commandments, but ‘principles of training’, which are undertaken freely and put into practice with intelligence and sensitivity. The Buddhist tradition acknowledges that life is complex and throws up many difficulties, and it does not suggest that there is a single course of action that will be right in all circumstances. Indeed, rather than speaking of actions being right or wrong, Buddhism speaks of them being skilful (kusala) or unskilful (akusala).