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Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox

Sep 5, 2021

In this last of a three episode series on Right Intention, one of the Noble Eightfold Path, we look at how to practice the aspect of harmlessness. Right intention has three parts: Renunciation, Loving-kindness, and Harmlessness. Buddhist Teacher, JoAnn Fox, also shares a meditation and daily mindfulness practice to help us cultivate harmlessness.


What is harmlessness in Buddhism

Harmlessness is a mind that opposes the wish to harm. It is also a path we cultivate gradually to its highest fruition—becoming harmless toward all living beings. It is compassion that helps us develop harmlessness. If there is the wish to harm or a lack of empathy that causes us to inadvertently cause harm, we use compassion to render ourselves harmless. Compassion is cultivated gradually until it is unconditional and extends to all living beings being exception. It is at this point that we possess the pure Right Intention of Harmlessness. 


What are the benefits of developing compassion:

  • Creates good karma
  • Purifies bad karma 
  • Makes our mind strong and resilient
  • Solves problems between people
  • Creates the cause of enlightenment


The Dalai Lama has also said it is the cause of success in life. Recently, he has even said that compassion is not a luxury, but a necessity for the survival of humanity:


“We need compassion and human affection not only to survive; they are the ultimate sources of success in life.” -Dalai Lama


The best of paths is the Eightfold [Path]; 

The best of truths, the Four [Noble Truths]. 

—Buddha, The Dhammapada


The eight parts of the Noble Eightfold Path:

  1. Eightfold Path are Right View
  2. Right Intention
  3. Right Speech
  4. Right Action
  5. Right Livelihood 
  6. Right Effort
  7. Right Mindfulness
  8. Right Concentration


References and Links


Bodhi, Bhikku. The Noble Eightfold Path. Buddhist Publication Society, 1999, pp.37-39+.  BuddhaNet.


Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 72 (Link)