January 4, 2011


This is the part 2 of the Eightfold Path: Right Intention. Enjoy
Part 2. Right Intention

Right Intention is sometimes translated as “right thought” or “right aspiration”. I think of Right Intention as a pro-active commitment to ethical and mental self-improvement. In practice, Right View helps me to distinguish between the wholesome and unwholesome aspects of my moment-to-moment experience, and Right Intention helps me focus my energy on developing the wholesome aspects as they arise and letting go of the unwholesome. Seems simple enough, but quite often in our daily lives we are unwittingly developing unwholesome situations through our own ignorance and lack of perspective.
The Buddha taught that a person should be judged by their intentions, not the outcome of their actions. I think this is a key point in Buddhist philosophy. It simply means that if you go into a situation with the right intention, then regardless of the outcome you can’t be judged to have done anything wrong. However, if you act out of ignorance, your right intention isn’t worth shit.
The Buddha described three types of Right Intentions:
- First is the intention of renunciation. In practice, this means that I have the intention to give up the things that cause harm or suffering in my life. For myself, that means giving up stuff like television, cars, meat, cigarettes, cocaine, horror movies, MySpace, one-night stands, etc.
- Second is the intention of good will. In practice, this means that I always have the intention to act with kindness, especially when faced with anger or aversion. It is important to note that aggression in this sense doesn’t always mean that it’s coming from an outside source. Aggression most often begins in our own thinking minds. It is within the space of your thinking mind that your intention of good will is most helpful.
- Third is the intention of harmlessness, such that you don’t think or act cruelly, violently, or aggressively. In practice, this means that I always have the intention to bring love, peace and compassion to any given situation. And again, it is important that we maintain this intention of harmlessness at the level of thinking. It is very important to remember that feeding cruel or violent thoughts only creates more to harm you and those around you. We must be pro-active about letting go of such unwholesome thoughts with compassion, patience and understanding.
By practicing Right View and Right Intention, we can develop the foundational wisdom needed to continue on the Eightfold Path.

No comments:

Post a Comment