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Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox

Jun 12, 2022

Buddha explained the Ten Nonvirtuous Actions as a way to guide our actions of body, speech, and mind. "Nonvirtuous" means that it brings suffering to us in the future by way of negative karmic results. Yet it is easy to be confused about what is nonvirtuous if everyone around us is doing it or if our society sanctions it. That is why we are encouraged in Buddhism to bring the light of awareness to our actions. To see, in the light of our own wisdom, if our actions are helpful or harmful. The daily mindfulness practice JoAnn Fox suggests begins by contemplating what unskillful actions of body we currently engage in and deciding if we want to abandon them. Over the course of the week, with mindfulness, we observe our thoughts when the impulse to engage in that behavior arises. We try to understand why we engage in that behavior and make an effort to abandon it. 


The Three Nonvirtuous Actions of Body:

  1. Killing 
  2. Stealing
  3. Sexual Misconduct


The karmic results of the three nonvirtuous actions of body

  1. Killing: a short lifetime. Things in the external environment such as food and drink, medicine, and fruits will have little strength, be ineffective, have little potency and power, or, being difficult to digest, will induce illness. Hence, most living beings will die without living out their expected life spans. 
  2. Stealing: a lack of resources. The environmental effects of stealing are that you will have few fruits, the fruits will not be perfect, will change, or will be partially spoiled. There will be severe droughts or torrential downpours. The fruits will dry up or disappear. 
  3. Sexual misconduct: an unruly spouse; inability to find a lasting relationship. The environmental effects of sexual misconduct are living where there is excrement and urine, mud, filth, unclean things, many evil smells, misery, and discomfort.


Ashamed of what’s not shameful 

And not ashamed of what is, 

Those who take up wrong views 

Go to a bad rebirth. (316)* 

--Buddha, The Dhammapada


References and Links


Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 78 (Link)


Je Tsongkhapa. Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, by Je Tsongkhapa, Volume 1 (Kindle). Translated by the Lamrim Chenmo Translation Committee. Joshua Cutler, Editor-in-Chief, and Guy Newlan, Editor.