Blameless actions (Mangala Sutta 18)

The support of mother and father,
The welfare of spouse and children,
Engaging in unconflicting livelihood;
This is the greatest blessing.

Selfless giving, and living by the Dhamma,
Looking after relatives and friends,
And blameless actions;
This is the greatest blessing.

“Blameless actions” is a way of describing a life that is not burdened with regrets. At the moment, I’m regretting a bit of hasty posting which subscribers will be aware of. I’m cleaning up and re-numbering the Mangala Sutta posts in a way that makes more sense, but that led me to post a short page of unedited notes – Sorry! Please forgive me.

OK, having proven that things done in haste hardly ever work out well, I’ll take that lesson myself. It is so important, especially when speaking, or writing, or sending electronic communications of any sort. Things cannot really be taken back. Our actions reveal our actual state of awareness, how much care we are using in our interactions. Earlier today I was speaking with a monk on the phone, and my wholesome speech radar was on high alert. It worked out well, I think.

On the whole, although monitoring our intentions during communications will catch most of our actions, it is all of the five precepts that “blameless action” refers to. Really blameless actions are those that accord with the precepts not just “as well as possible” but completely, maximally. It would mean never intentionally killing any living thing (including one mosquito), always being generous, always using kind, true, and harmonious speech, never taking intoxicants or doing anything foolish with our sexual energy. Yikes! What I do know is that there is more road ahead on most of these undertakings for me. The more I understand actions and consequences, the more I see the danger in even a little bit of anger, a little bit of selfishness, etc.

So, no beating yourself up, but also, don’t think you’ve perfected the precepts before you have. OK?

About lynnjkelly

Australian/American. Practicing Buddhist.
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