- 1. Preface
- 2. Notes to Parents and Teachers
- 3. How to Impart Buddhism to Children
- 4. Devotional Exercises
- 5. The Life Story of Lord Buddha
- 6. The One Main Teaching
- 7. The Refuges
- 8. The Five Precepts
- 9. The Four Noble Truths
- 10. Right Understanding
- 11. Right Aims
- 12. Right Speech
- 13. Right Action
- 14. Right Livelihood
- 15. Right Effort
- 16. Right Mindfulness
- 17. Right Meditation
- 18. The Law of Karma
- 19. Rebirth
- 20. The Three Signs
- 21. The Seven Jewels
- 22. The Three Evils
- 23. Our Duties Towards Others
- 24. The Meaning of Wesak
- 25. Trusting to Luck
- 26. The Wheel of the Law
- 27. The Teaching of all Buddha
- 28. The Greatest Secret in the World
- 29. Filial Piety
- 31. Perseverance
- 32. The Drawings in this Book
- 33. Remembering Lord Buddha
- 34. A Buddhism Catechism
When we speak of action we always mean doing Our conduct, our behaviour, our deeds, everything that we do, must be such that we can properly call each act “Right Action”.
There is an ancient proverb that says: “Actions speak louder than words”. Good words ought to be coupled with good deeds. No matter how cleverly we may try always to speak in a good way, we shall fail to disguise our true nature unless our acts are the same as our words.
Every boy and girl ought to learn quite early in life that promises are sacred things. We must not be too quick to promise to do this or that. We ought first to decide if the promise when kept will be “Right Action”. Also, before we make a promise, we ought to ask ourselves if we shall be able to make our actions fit in with our words. Those who fail to keep promises, soon are not respected.
All of us ought to arrange all our actions so that they will earn us respect from our friends and all who know us. But this is only half the picture. The other side is the importance of keeping our self-respect. If we commit the wrong actions, we may possibly be able to deceive others and keep them from knowing what we have done, but we shall not be able to deceive ourselves. Before we plan any course of action, we ought first to think carefully to see if it will bring us joy or sorrow. If we think and act wisely and well, then we shall not need to feel shame for our conduct. Wise thought coupled with wise action bring us the respect of others and keep us from ever losing our self-respect.
So many say they believe Lord Buddha’s Teachings. But when we look at their actions, we wonder if they are telling the truth, because their deeds do not fit in with their words. We must always remember that Lord Buddha’s religion is something to do, not just something to talk about.
Among the Tamil people of India, there is a legend about a holy man who became known all over India as a famous teacher and preacher. Thousands of pilgrims came to learn from him. He showed kindness to all, regardless of rank. The goodness of his heart was shown by his actions. Everyone who came to visit this great and holy teacher went away feeling that he had received deep instruction. Yet this great teacher and preacher had never in his life been able to utter even one word. He had been born dumb. The examples he set by his actions was the only sermon he could preach. “Good people shine from afar, like the snowy mountains; bad people are not seen, like arrows shot by night.”
Firm in our purpose we have set
Our feet in Wisdom’s Way,
Nor shall the transient things of earth
Our resolution sway.
We spurn the lure of fame or gold,
The lust for things of sense,
And find purity and peace
Our ample recompense.
Unselfish love to all that live
Our lives shall manifest,
In thought, in word, in action show
Its inspiration blest.
Though steep and toilsome be the path,
We shall but strive the more
Nirvana’s holy realm to gain
And peace forevermore.
THE CUNING OLD HERON
There was an old heron who lived near the edge of a large fish pond. The heron, being old, was too lazy to find food, and so he thought of a trick that would help him get easy food. It happened that a giant crab also lived in the pond, and while the heron was resting in the pond, thinking about the plan, the crab asked him why he was so quiet. The cunning heron replied that he was very sorry that a fisherman would soon be catching all the fish inside the pond. This news reached the ears of the king of the fish, who then asked the heron what the remedy was. To this the heron replied that the only way out was to carry all the fish to another pond. The king thanked him for the excellent answer and also added he needed his help in carrying all the fish to another pond.
The heron was all the time hoping for the king to say this, and immediately eh caught some fish in his bill and carried them to a dry stone slab far away, where he ate them. This went on for several days until finally the giant crab asked the heron to carry him, too. When they reached the stone slab, the crab saw a pile of fish bones and he at once knew the trick. He then asked the heron to put him down and as soon as he was free, he caught hold of the heron’s neck with his powerful nippers and killed him after telling him that his wrongful acts had to be stopped. It can clearly be seen that all wrong actions will have bad results, thus proving the truth of the old saying, “You will reap what you have sown”.
- What does the word “Action” mean?
- What ancient proverb tells us about actions and words?
- Is it wise to make a promise without first thinking about it?
- What happens if our actions are not the same as our speech?
- What do we mean by “self-respect”?
- Is Lord Buddha’s teaching a religion of doing – or is just believing?
- What is a pilgrim?
- Why did so many pilgrims come to visit the teacher who was dumb?
- Does wrong action bring happiness or unhappiness?
- One of the mottos of the Boy Scouts is: “Think before you act”. If we follow this advice, will it help us to be happy?