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An Overview
The Practice of Virtue
The Development of Insight
The Practice of Virtue

Section 2: Inner Correlation

Impulses that Lead to an Action
We have completed in a brief way an examination of the five precepts. Next, we will consider the primary impulses leading to any action that produce a karmic result. All karmically driven actions stem from one of the six roots of consciousness. The first three roots are unwholesome; they are greed, hatred and delusion. The second three roots are wholesome, and they are generosity, loving-kindness and wisdom. In the Pali language these latter three roots are actually defined by an absence, in other words, their literal translation would be non-greed, non-hatred and non-delusion. When we use the precepts as guides for training we should understand that our actions are often driven by unconscious elements within our psyche. This unconscious state is ignorance in its most primary sense. This is the root of all unwholesome activity. In this way, the more conscious we become through our training, the more freedom we will have as individuals. Greed and hatred, the secondary aspects of defiled consciousness, propel us into actions that produce unwholesome resultant consciousness. When unwholesome aspects of consciousness have been purified or eradicated from our being then the wholesome is spontaneously present. This is why the Pali language refers to the wholesome roots as non-greed, non-hatred and non-delusion.

If we do not train ourselves to restrain the inclinations of greed and hatred, they will gradually grow until eventually, even if we possess and control the whole world, we will not experience fulfillment. It is important to recognize the destructive nature of these states of mind. Attacking others to acquire power and material goods leads to unimaginable suffering. It should be clear that these impulses in society, if not curbed, cause the degeneration of the entire human species. At this time on the planet our consumerism and greed are seen as virtues to be propagated so that everyone can be fully motivated and driven by these instinctual states. As individuals we must become clear as to how these states cripple us and prevent us from developing higher consciousness that can bring about the fulfillment of our being.
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The Three Unwholesome States
6) Greed / Covetousness
When we are dominated by greed and we manipulate through speech and actions to get what we want we set up a cycle where covetousness and longing become the driving force behind our every impulse to become. In my experience, many North American children commonly engage in this kind of manipulation and by and large they are not trained to see this as unwholesome or a hindrance to their development. So how do we train the mind to be free? We train it through abstaining, through effort, through patience, through mindfulness and through wisdom. We do not give way to the impulses of greed, hatred and delusion. Thus we develop our volition to be free and fully interactive human beings.
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7) Hatred / Ill Will
Now let's look at ill will or hatred. There are many different manifestations of hatred. It is easy to recognize when it is a physical assault on another person, but what about more subtle forms, like when it is expressed in annoyance or the tone of our voice, or what about our hyper-criticism of ourselves and of others? Often there is a general negation or petty negativity, these all are a form of ill will or hatred. Another example is when we use silence as a way to express disdain or disgust. Being in a state of hatred is communicated in our presence. When we actively express it with words and bodily actions we diminish our own potential for unfoldment. Because we can not see from other points of reference we become locked into a point of view that is based on our aversion to other people. If we do not check this state by using one of the five methods put forward earlier, we will become slaves to hatred. We will become so possessed by it that our attitude will become unconscious. We will have lost our objectivity and our ability to grow in spontaneous and unexpected ways will become severely limited.
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8) Delusion / Wrong View
In the teaching of Buddha Dharma there is the defilement of holding a wrong view. This usually causes Western practitioners to 'bridle.' Because of our stress on individualism and the assumption that no one else should be able to dictate our views, we are not open to the idea that we may be holding a wrong view. So how can we determine what is wrong view and what is truth or right view? To complicate matters it is not only wrong view that is a defilement but clinging to partial view as well. In our discipline we must first free ourselves from wrong view. Wrong view occurs when we cling to perceptions that are not in accordance with reality. In other words, when we project our desires onto the world and mistakenly view things that are impermanent as permanent and lasting. We grasp the impermanent and build a fortress against decay and change. When we do this we are clinging to a misconception and we create a great deal of suffering for ourselves. Another wrong view is to see as desirable and beautiful, that which is subject to decay and death.

Yet the crux of all clinging is clinging to the perception of a permanent self, something which in fact has no basis in empirical observation. It is this last misperception, clinging to a self, which is fundamentally the root of the other two greed and hatred. If we do not perceive a self we do not defend against change. If we do not perceive a self we do not cling to the perception of another. I will not go through an extensive exposition of what constitutes wrong view here, but gradually as the book unfolds it will become apparent how limiting and destructive these views are.

Nevertheless, I think it is still important to mention the second wrong view that is clinging to a partial view. Here we cling not necessarily to a wrong view but merely to a 'point' of view. In this way we become stuck in identifying with our partial view of life and do not see the totality. Totality is interpenetrative, interdependent and spontaneously co-arising. When we cling to a point of view we are not open to all other viewing points and thus it is a limitation and an obstruction to greater truth.
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