Good and Evil in the Pali Canon

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Lombardi4
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Good and Evil in the Pali Canon

Post by Lombardi4 »

Dear all,

I have started a research on the topic of 'Good and Evil' (not just in Buddhism, but also in Philosophy), as I want to structure my whole life around this duality (following the good, avoiding the evil), so would greatly appreciate it if you could help me find suttas, or passages of suttas, that deal precisely with this topic.

For starters, I am aware of the famous Dhammapada verse (Not to any evil, to do good, to purify the mind - this is the teaching of the Buddhas). I also remember a short passage where someone asked Sariputta (I think?) "Pray, Sir, what is good and what is bad?" and Sariputta said that rebirth is bad and the cessation of rebirth is good. And then I remember, I think it was from the Milindapanha, where the question was asked "Which is greater - good or evil?" and the monk replied that good is greater because when one does evil one feels remorse and then doesn't continue with doing evil, whereas when one does good one doesn't feel remorse and tends to continue doing good.

Any other instances in the Pali Canon (or elsewhere) dealing with Good and Evil, including descriptions of good and evil that you know of and would like to share?

Thanks!
santa100
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Re: Good and Evil in the Pali Canon

Post by santa100 »

More sutta sources from Ven. Thanissaro's "Wings to Awakening"..
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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Good and Evil in the Pali Canon

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala »

There's an entire chapter in the Dhammapada on evil (pāpa).

One needs to make a clear distinction between unwholesome (akusala) and evil (pāpa). In the verse that you quoted the text says “The not doing of any evil (sabba pāpassa akaraṇaṃ).” Only Arahants can be relied upon to abstain from all unwholesome deeds by body, speech, or thought. Ordinary people should just try to avoid all immorality or evil deeds by cultivating wholesome deeds and purifying the mind. When the mind is fully purified, even the intention to do evil deeds will cease to arise.
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gavesako
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Re: Good and Evil in the Pali Canon

Post by gavesako »

Ven. Nyanaponika Maha Thera – Roots of Good & Evil (PDF)

http://www.theravada-dhamma.org/blog/?p=7224" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Lombardi4
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Re: Good and Evil in the Pali Canon

Post by Lombardi4 »

Thank you, santa100 and Venerables.
Leon-nl
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Re: Good and Evil in the Pali Canon

Post by Leon-nl »

Maybe you already know the following:

Good, Evil and Beyond
Kamma in the Buddha's Teaching

By Bhikkhu P.A. Payutto

http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/good_evil_beyond.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
“Look on the world as empty, Mogharāja, being always mindful.
Having removed wrong view of self, in this way one will cross beyond Death.
When looking on the world in this way the king of Death does not see one.” - Sn 5.15
Cormac Brown
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Re: Good and Evil in the Pali Canon

Post by Cormac Brown »

This follows the distinction of integrity/no integrity:

https://suttacentral.net/en/an4.73

Also see this discussion:

http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=25692

Metta

Cormac
“I in the present who am a worthy one, rightly self-awakened, am a
teacher of action, a teacher of activity, a teacher of persistence. But the
worthless man Makkhali contradicts even me, (saying,) ‘There is no
action. There is no activity. There is no persistence.’ "
AN 3.138, trans. Ven. Thanissaro
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Shuun
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Re: Good and Evil in the Pali Canon

Post by Shuun »

For the sake of liberation there is only this evil and good - following 8 fold path rightly and not. Anything that decreases the bad qualities and anything that increases good qualities is ''good'', and anything that increases bad qualities like sensual desire, aversion, delusion is ''evil''.
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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Good and Evil in the Pali Canon

Post by Nicholas Weeks »

The link above from Ven. Nyanaponika seems broken, so here is one that is live:

https://www.bps.lk/olib/wh/wh251_Nyanap ... -Evil.html
Dhamma is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Eko Care
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Re: Good and Evil in the Pali Canon

Post by Eko Care »

robertk wrote: Sun Apr 05, 2015 4:31 am
The Meaning of Dhamma 1

One of the meanings of dhamma is gu.na, virtue or good quality. In different commentaries this is explained as kusala kamma different from akusala kamma. Kusala kamma is denoted as dhamma and akusala kamma is denoted as adhamma. We read in the Atthasaalinii, 38:

"
QUOTE
Na hi dhammo adhammo ca, ubho samavipaakino;
dhamma, adhamma bear no equal fruit:
adhammo niraya.m neti, dhammo paapeti suggatin"ti,
adhamma leads to hell, dhamma causes one to reach heaven,(theragaa. 304; jaa. 1.15.386).

The Saddaniti explains dhamma as gu.na, merit, virtue:

QUOTE
Channa.m buddhadhammaanan"ti-aadiisu gu.ne. In the passage such as “of the six special qualities of the Buddha”, dhamma means excellent quality, virtue.

the various meanings of dhamma
Pali Term: Dhamma
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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Good and Evil in the Pali Canon

Post by Nicholas Weeks »

Here is how Ven. Nyanaponika begins his Introduction to Roots of Good and Evil:
The Buddha has taught that there are three roots of evil: greed, hatred and delusion. These three states comprise the entire range of evil, whether of lesser or greater intensity, from a faint mental tendency to the coarsest manifestations in action and speech. In whatever way they appear, these are the basic causes of suffering.

These roots have their opposites: non-greed, non-hatred and non-delusion. These are the three roots of good: of all acts of unselfishness, liberality and renunciation; of all expressions of loving kindness and compassion; of all achievements in knowledge and understanding.

These six mental states are the roots from which everything harmful and beneficial sprouts. They are the roots of the Tree of Life with its sweet and bitter fruits.

Greed and hatred, maintained and fed by delusion, are the universal impelling forces of all animate life, individually and socially. Fortunately, the roots of good also reach into our world and keep the forces of evil in check, but the balance is a precarious one needing to be preserved by constant watchfulness and effort. On the level of inanimate nature, too, we find counterparts to greed and hatred in the forces of attraction and repulsion, kept in their purposeless reactive movement by inherent nescience which cannot provide a motive for cessation of the process. Thus, through an unfathomable past, the macrocosm of nature and the microcosm of mind have continued their contest between attraction and repulsion, greed and hatred; and unless stopped by voluntary effort and insight, they will so continue for aeons to come. This cosmic conflict of opposing energies, unsolvable on its own level, is one aspect of dukkha (unsatisfactoriness): the ill of restless, senseless movement as felt by a sensitive being.
Dhamma is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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