Right Action – Right Consciousness
Ultimately, right consciousness is pure consciousness, so right action is remaining in pure consciousness and acting for the benefit of others. That is the bodhisattva* ideal at any of the ten levels or grounds.
Conventionally, right action – from a spiritual point of view – is manifesting the right conditions for ultimate pure consciousness to take place. We are changing a dark place into a space of light, or clarity.
We do this by caring about everything we do, say and think. In other words “Do good, do no harm, tame the mind.”
Right consciousness is pure consciousness, that does not judge. Although our capacity in body, speech and mind is limited at present, we can endeavour to bring about the right conditions of clarity so that light can be brought to a situation. This means skilful actions, which means applying the right psychology. In this way, our capacity grows, and we start to enter the levels of a bodhisattva – bearing in mind that we don’t always get it right! 😀
“But what is right action in ordinary, conventional life?”
It’s the same. We all want inner peace, but we all want something interesting and meaningful as well. The more we pay attention, and the more aware we are, the more interesting everything grows. So we become kind, caring, relaxed, interested, empathetic, understanding, and without hope and fear.
The traditional answer to questions regarding ‘right action’ is the six perfections: generosity, discipline, patience, perseverance, concentration and transcendent knowledge, for the benefit of all beings suffering in the six psychological realms (hell, hungry ghost, animal, human, jealous god and god realms).
Of course, we have to be friendly as well! 😀
To put it even more simply, the Buddha said, “Not too tight and not too loose.”
Of course, we have to be friendly as well! 😀
We are all going the same way, some sooner, some later. 😀
*The following is from Wikipedia:
“There are a variety of different conceptions of the nature of a bodhisattva in Mahāyāna. According to some Mahāyāna sources a bodhisattva is someone on the path to full Buddhahood. Others speak of bodhisattvas renouncing Buddhahood. According to the Kun-bzang bla-ma’i zhal-lung, a bodhisattva can choose any of three paths to help sentient beings in the process of achieving buddhahood.
king-like bodhisattva – one who aspires to become buddha as soon as possible and then help sentient beings in full fledge;
boatman-like bodhisattva – one who aspires to achieve buddhahood along with other sentient beings;
shepherd-like bodhisattva – one who aspires to delay buddhahood until all other sentient beings achieve buddhahood. Bodhisattvas like Avalokiteśvara and Śāntideva are believed to fall in this category.
According to many traditions within Mahāyāna Buddhism, on the way to becoming a Buddha, a bodhisattva proceeds through ten, or sometimes fourteen, grounds or bhūmis. Below is the list of the ten bhūmis and their descriptions according to the Avataṃsaka Sūtra and The Jewel Ornament of Liberation, a treatise by Gampopa, an influential teacher of the Tibetan Kagyu school. (Other schools give slightly variant descriptions.)
“Before a bodhisattva arrives at the first ground, he or she first must travel the first two of the five paths:
the path of accumulation
the path of preparation
“The ten grounds of the bodhisattva then can be grouped into the next three paths
bhūmi 1 the path of insight
bhūmis 2-7 the path of meditation
bhūmis 8-10 the path of no more learning
“The 10 grounds are:
Great Joy: It is said that being close to enlightenment and seeing the benefit for all sentient beings, one achieves great joy, hence the name. In this bhūmi the bodhisattvas practice all perfections (pāramitās), but especially emphasizing generosity (dāna).
Stainless: In accomplishing the second bhūmi, the bodhisattva is free from the stains of immorality, therefore, this bhūmi is named “stainless”. The emphasized perfection is moral discipline (śīla).
Luminous: The third bhūmi is named “luminous”, because, for a bodhisattva who accomplishes this bhūmi, the light of Dharma is said to radiate for others from the bodhisattva. The emphasized perfection is patience (kṣānti).
Radiant: This bhūmi is called “radiant”, because it is said to be like a radiating light that fully burns that which opposes enlightenment. The emphasized perfection is vigor (vīrya).
Very difficult to train: Bodhisattvas who attain this bhūmi strive to help sentient beings attain maturity, and do not become emotionally involved when such beings respond negatively, both of which are difficult to do. The emphasized perfection is meditative concentration (dhyāna).
Obviously Transcendent: By depending on the perfection of wisdom, [the bodhisattva] does not abide in either saṃsāra or nirvāṇa, so this state is “obviously transcendent”. The emphasized perfection is wisdom (prajñā).
Gone afar: Particular emphasis is on the perfection of skillful means (upāya), to help others.
Immovable: The emphasized virtue is aspiration. This, the “immovable” bhūmi, is the bhūmi at which one becomes able to choose his place of rebirth.
Good Discriminating Wisdom: The emphasized virtue is power.
Cloud of Dharma: The emphasized virtue is the practice of primordial wisdom.
“After the ten bhūmis, according to Mahāyāna Buddhism, one attains complete enlightenment and becomes a Buddha.”