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(A member of the human race)

Human beings are special, unlike any other kind of animal. What makes them special is sikkha, or education, namely learning, training and development. Human beings who have been trained, educated or developed are called "noble beings." They know how to conduct a good life for themselves and also help their society fare securely in peace and happiness.

To be truly involved in this education, human beings, especially children and young people, who are the new members of the human race, should acquire the seven fundamental qualities known as the auroras of a good life, or the dawn of education. These are the guarantees of a life moving toward full human development, to people's becoming truly noble beings. They are:

  1. Kalyanamittata (having a "good friend" [a person or social environment that is helpful to one's life development]), seeking out sources of wisdom and good examples. This is to live with or be close to good people, beginning with one's parents as good friends in the family; to know who to associate with and to socialize with good people who will influence and encourage each other to betterment in conduct, mentality and wisdom. It is especially [that association which encourages one to] learn and develop communication and relations with fellow human beings through goodwill, to have the faith to follow good examples, and to know how to utilize external resources, be they people, books, or other communications media, for seeking knowledge and virtue for one's life development, problem solving and constructive action.
  1. Sila-sampada (perfection of morality), having discipline as a foundation for one's life development. This is to know how to organize life-style, activities, work, and environment so that they provide opportunities for personal growth; at least to have a basic level of morality; that is, to have proper conduct in one's relationship with the social environment by living helpfully and not exploitatively with one's fellow beings, and in one's relationship with the material environment by using the four necessities [food, clothing, shelter and medicine] as well as technological appliances and equipment in a way that supports the quality of one's life and is favorable to one's education, to constructive action and to the state of balance in nature.
  1. Chanda-sampada (perfection of aspiration): having a heart that aspires to learning and constructive action. This is to be one who is driven by desire for knowledge, goodness, action, constructiveness, achievement and excellence, by the desire to help all the things and people one meets or is involved with to attain to a good state; not obsessively thinking only of getting what one wants and seeking pleasure through consuming, which only drags one into the whirlpool of heedlessness and contention. Instead, one knows how to use one's faculties, such as the eyes and ears, in learning, and to derive joy from learning and doing good things, by using one's brain and hands for constructive ends.
  1. Atta-sampada (perfection of oneself): dedicating oneself to training for the realization of one's full human potential. This is to always bear in mind the truth that human beings by nature are beings that can be trained, and must be trained, and that once trained are the most excellent of beings; then to resolve to train oneself so that one views difficulties, hardships, obstacles and problems as training grounds to test and develop one's intelligence and abilities; to pay heed to one's continuing improvement toward the realization of one's full potential through a comprehensive development that encompasses behavior, mentality and wisdom.
  1. Ditthi-sampada (perfection of view): adhering to the principle of conditionality, seeing things according to cause and effect. This is to be established in good and reasoned principles of thought and belief; at least adhering to the principle of conditionality, a principle leading to consideration, investigation and research as the way to wisdom development, and believing that action is the most powerful determinant of one's fate; it is also having behavior and mental states that are under the control of reason: even though one aspires to the highest achievement and excellence, one realizes what is possible within the limitations of the causes and conditions that exist and that one has created; in success, one does not forget oneself, and in failure, one is not despondent; one maintains one's mental clarity and independence, not being impulsive, overreactive or petty, and also not allowing oneself to drift along the stream of public hysteria and values.
  1. Appamada-sampada (perfection of heedfulness): establishing oneself in heedfulness. This is to be aware of impermanence, to realize the instability, unendurability and insubstantiality of life and all things around one, which are constantly changing according to causes and conditions, both internal and external. Thus one sees that one cannot afford to be complacent. One sees the preciousness of time and strives to learn about, prevent and rectify the causes of decline and bring about the causes of growth and prosperity, using all one's time, night and day, to the greatest benefit.
  1. Yonisomanasikara-sampada (perfection of wise reflection): thinking wisely so as to realize benefit and see the truth. This is to know how to think, to know how to investigate, to be able to see all things as they really are within the system of causes and conditions, by intelligently examining, investigating, tracing, analyzing and researching to see the truth of a given situation, or to see the perspective that will enable one to benefit from it. By so doing one is also able to solve problems and do things successfully through intelligent methods that allow one to be self-reliant and at the same time become a refuge to other people.


(An exemplary member of the human race)

The ideal person, or perfect human being, who can be counted as a truly valuable member of the human race, and who can be called a complete person, able to lead his community and society to peace and well-being, is one who possesses the following seven qualities:

  1. Dhammannuta: knowing principles, knowing causes; he knows the underlying principles and laws governing the things with which he must deal in the process of everyday life, in performing his duties and carrying out his tasks; he knows and understands according to reason what he must do. For example, he understands what duties and responsibilities are involved in his post, his status, his occupation and his work. He knows the principles involved therein and he knows how to apply them so that they become factors for the successful completion of those duties and responsibilities. At the highest level, dhammannuta means knowing fully the natural laws or truths of nature so that one can deal correctly with life and the world, with a mind that is free and not enslaved by them.

  2. Atthannuta: knowing objectives, knowing results; he knows the meaning and objectives of the principles he abides by; he understands the objectives of the task he is doing; he knows the reason behind his actions and his way of life and the objective to be expected from them. [He knows] the aim behind a duty, position or occupation. He knows what may be expected in the future from the actions he is doing in the present; whether, for example, they will lead to a good or a bad result. At the highest level, atthannuta means understanding the implications of the natural course of things and the benefit that is the real purpose of life.

  3. Attannuta: knowing oneself; he [or she] knows as they are the current extent and nature of his [or her] status, condition, sex, strength, knowledge, aptitude, ability, virtue, etc., and then acts accordingly, does what is needed to produce results, and rectifies and improves himself or herself so as to grow to greater maturity.

  4. Mattannuta: knowing moderation; he knows the right amount in such areas as consumption and spending; he knows moderation in speech, work and action, in rest and in all manner of recreation. He does all things with an understanding of their objectives and for the real benefits to be expected, by acting not merely for his own satisfaction or to accomplish his own ends, but rather to achieve a proper balance of supporting factors that will produce the beneficial result as revealed to him by wisdom.

  5. Kalannuta: knowing occasion; he knows the proper occasion and the proper amount of time for actions, duties and dealings with other people; he knows, for example, when what should be done and how, and he does it punctually, regularly, in time, for the right amount of time and at the right time. Kalannuta includes knowing how to plan one's time and organize it effectively.

  6. Parisannuta: knowing company; he knows the locale, he knows the gathering and he knows the community. He knows what should be done in a given locale or community, thus: "This community should be approached in this way and spoken to thus; the people here have these rules and regulations; they have this culture or tradition; they have these needs; they should thus be dealt with, helped, served and benefited in this way."

  7. Puggalannuta: knowing persons; he knows and understands individual differences; he knows people's greater or lesser temperaments, abilities and virtues and knows how to relate to them effectively; he knows, for example, whether they should be associated with, what can be learned from them, and how they should be related to, employed, praised, criticized, advised or taught.

    These seven qualities are known as the sappurisa-dhamma, the qualities of a good or genuine person, one who has the qualities of a complete human being.

 (A.IV.113 )


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(A member of the noble society)

One with the moral virtue or manussa-dhamma [qualities that make one human], who can be rightfully called civilized, conducts himself as follows:

A. He has the threefold sucarita, the three kinds of good or proper conduct:

  1. Kaya-sucarita: righteous bodily conduct; he does things that are virtuous and proper; he has good bodily conduct.
  2. Vaci-sucarita: righteous speech; he says things that are virtuous and proper; he has good verbal conduct.
  3. Mano-sucarita: righteous mentality; he thinks things that are virtuous and proper; he has good mental conduct.
  4. (D.III.215)

B. He abides by the noble qualities (ariya-dhamma) by practicing properly according to the ten courses of wholesome action (kusala-kamma):

  Three of the body:
  1. Abstaining from killing or taking life, oppression and harassment; possessing kindness, compassion and helpfulness.
  2. Abstaining from filching, theft and exploitation; respecting the property rights of others.
  3. Abstaining from misconduct and violation of others' loved or cherished ones; not abusing them, disgracing or dishonoring their families.
Four of speech:
    1. Abstaining from false speech, lying and deception; speaking only the truth, not intentionally saying thing that stay from the truth out of a desire for personal gain.
    2. Abstaining from malicious speech inciting one person against another; speaking only words that are conciliatory and conducive to harmony.
    3. Abstaining from coarse, vulgar or damaging speech; speaking only words that are polite and pleasant to the ear.
    4. Abstaining from worthless or frivolous speech; speaking only words that are true, reasonable, useful and appropriate to the occasion.
Three of the mind:
    1. Not being greedy; not focusing only on taking; thinking of giving, of sacrifice; making the mind munificent.
    2. Not thinking hateful and destructive thoughts or having a destructive attitude toward others; bearing good intentions toward others, spreading goodwill and aiming for the common good.
    3. Cultivating Right View (sammaditthi); understanding the law of kamma, that good actions bring good results and bad actions bring bad results; having a thorough grasp of the truth of life and the world; seeing the faring of things according to causes and conditions.

    These ten qualities are variously known as kusala-kammapatha (wholesome courses of action), dhamma-cariya [principles for virtuous living] and ariya-dhamma [noble qualities]. They are a more detailed description of the threefold sucarita mentioned above: namely, points 1-3 cover righteous bodily conduct, 4-7 cover righteous verbal conduct, and 8-10 cover righteous mental conduct.


C. At the very least he observes the five precepts: the ten basic principles of conduct given above are a comprehensive description of the moral conduct or noble qualities through which personal development of body, speech and mind can be made. For those who are not yet firm in these noble qualities, however, it is recommended that at least moral restraint through body and speech should first be developed by observing the five precepts, which are among the first factors of the ten principles for virtuous living (dhamma-cariya). The five precepts are:

    1. Abstaining from killing: not taking life or doing bodily harm.
    2. Abstaining from taking what is not given: not stealing, pilfering or filching; not violating [others'] properties.
    3. Abstaining from sexual misconduct; not violating the loved or cherished ones of others, thereby destroying their honor and dignity and confusing their family lines.
    4. Abstaining from lying: not telling lies or using deceptive speech; not violating other people or their interests through speech.
    5. Abstaining from alcohol and intoxicants: not taking wines, liquor, intoxicants or addictives, which are causes for heedlessness and drunkenness, and lead to damage and blunders such as accidents due to lack of mindfulness. An intoxicated person at least threatens the sense of security and well-being of fellow community members.

     (A.III.203, 275)

(A helpful member of society)

    A constructive member of society possesses the following qualities or principles of conduct:

    A. He has the Divine Abidings, the four mental attributes of a being who is sublime or grand-minded like a god, which are:

    1. Metta, loving kindness: goodwill and amity, the wish to help all people attain benefit and happiness.
    2. Karuna, compassion: the desire to help other people escape from their sufferings; the determination to free all beings, both human and animal, of their hardships and miseries.
    3. Mudita, appreciative gladness: when seeing others happy, one feels glad; when seeing others do good actions or attain success and advancement, one responds with gladness and is ready to help and support them.
    4. Upekkha, equanimity: seeing things as they are with a mind that is even, steady, firm and fair like a pair of scales; understanding that all beings experience good and evil in accordance with the causes they have created; ready to judge, position oneself and act in accordance with principles, reason and equity.
    5. (D.II. 196)

    Having established these four mental qualities as a foundation, he may express them outwardly in the following ways:

    B. He contributes to social harmony: he practices in accordance with the four principles for helpful integration, or qualities that bond people in unity, known as the sangaha-vatthu. These are:

    1. Dana: giving; being kind, generous; sacrificing; sharing; helping and providing assistance with the four necessities, money or material possessions-including the imparting of knowledge or understanding and learning.
    2. Piyavaca: amicable speech; speaking words that are polite, pleasant to the ear, and helpful, that point the way to benefit, and that are based on reason and conducive to goodness; or words that are sympathetic and encouraging; speaking words that lead to understanding, harmony, friendship, and mutual love, respect and service.
    3. Atthacariya: helpful action; helping with physical service, making an effort to lend a hand to others in their activities; performing actions that are helpful to the community; including helping to resolve problems and promote morality.
    4. Samanattata: participation; putting oneself in communion with others; behaving consistently and impartially; behaving equitably toward all people, not taking advantage of them; sharing in their happiness and suffering, acknowledging problems and participating in resolving them for the common good.

    In brief, these are to help through contributions of money, material things or knowledge; to help through speech; to help through physical action; and to help through participation in facing and resolving problems.


(A good community member)

    A useful participant of a community, who contributes to the peaceful co-existence of the community, possesses the following qualities or principles of conduct:

    A. Being self-reliant: he makes himself a refuge unto himself, he is ready to take responsibility for himself and does not make himself into a problem or burden on his company or kin. This can be achieved by maintaining the ten protective virtues (nathakarana-dhamma):

    1. Sila: having good conduct and discipline; he conducts his life honestly in body and speech; he has discipline and earns his living through right livelihood.
    2. Bahusacca: possessing much experience and learning; he has learned and heard much; he is well versed in his own field of study or specific area of knowledge, understands it extensively and profoundly, knows it clearly and can really put it to use.
    3. Kalyanamittata: knowing good association; he has good friends, he knows how to choose his companions, and approaches those people who are capable of giving good advice; he chooses to associate with and emulate beneficial external influences in society that will guide his life to prosperity and growth.
    4. Sovacassata: being easily spoken to; he is not stubborn or headstrong; he is willing to listen to reason and facts, and ready to correct and improve himself.
    5. Kimkaraniyesu dakkhata: making an effort with the group's activities; he takes an interest in helping the business and activities of the group, his family, friends, and the community, and uses his wisdom to look for appropriate ways to carry them out, to organize them and bring them to fruition.
    6. Dhammakamata: being a lover of truth; he is a lover of truth, he likes to learn, to research, to inquire, to acquire knowledge and seek the truth; he knows how to speak up and ask, and to listen; he has a friendly and relaxed manner that encourages others to approach him for consultation and conversation.
    7. Viriyarambha: having effort; he is industrious in avoiding and abandoning evil actions and cultivating the good; he makes an effort and strives forward; he does not give up in despair or neglect or forsake his duties and responsibilities.
    8. Santutthi: being content, knowing moderation; he is glad and contented only with gains, results and successes brought about or achieved rightfully through his own efforts; he is not caught up in material comforts.
    9. Sati: having firm mindfulness; he remembers and is mindful; he recollects what he has done and said and what he needs to do in the future; he is circumspect and restrained with whatever he does, not rushed, sloppy, absentminded or reckless; he does not allow himself to slide into wrongful ways or fail to seize an opportunity to do good.
    10. Panna: putting head over heart; he has the wisdom to see causes and results; he knows right from wrong, benefit from harm and what is useful from what is not; he sees all things as they are; he knows how to examine and judge with a free mind; he does things with reflection and discernment.


    B. Living harmoniously in the group: in regard to relations with colleagues, associates, fellow community members and siblings in the family, the principles for harmony known as the six saraniya-dhamma (conditions leading to mutual recollection) should be observed, as follows:

    1. Metta-kayakamma: friendly action; [members of the community] each show friendliness and goodwill to their colleagues, associates, and fellow community members by willingly helping them in their duties, and bearing a courteous and respectful manner, both in their presence and in their absence.
    2. Metta-vacikamma: friendly speech; they each inform the others what is of benefit; they teach or advise them with a heart of goodwill; they say only polite and respectful words to them, both in their presence and in their absence.
    3. Metta-manokamma: friendly thoughts; they establish their minds in goodwill, thinking of ways to be of service to each other; looking at each other in a good light, having a pleasant and congenial attitude toward each other.
    4. Sadharana-bhogi: sharing of gains; they share with each other whatever gains have been rightfully acquired, seeing to it that even small things are distributed equally to all.
    5. Sila-samannata: moral harmony; they maintain virtuous conduct, abide by community rules and regulations, and do not conduct themselves in ways that are objectionable or damaging to the community.
    6. Ditthi-samannata: harmony of views; they respect and honor each other's views; they have reached consensus or agreed upon the main principles; they adhere to the same ideals, principles of virtue or ultimate aims.
    7. (D. III. 245)

(A responsible member of state)

    Citizens who contribute to bringing about good administration, especially in a democracy, should know and abide by the following principles:

    A. Understanding the three kinds of supremacy (adhipateyya) as follows:

    1. Attadhipateyya: supremacy of oneself; putting the prime importance on one's own self, position, reputation, or status; acting in view of one's self and what relates to oneself; on the wholesome side, it means abandoning evil actions and cultivating the good out of a sense of self-respect.
    2. Lokadhipateyya: supremacy of the world; putting the prime importance on worldly values; wavering in face of criticism and praise; operating on the basis of what pleases the group, seeking popularity or fearing censure; on the wholesome side, it refers to avoiding evil actions and cultivating the good in deference to the opinions of the community.
    3. Dhammadhipateyya: supremacy of Dhamma; putting the prime importance on principles, truth, righteousness, virtue and reason; operating on the basis of what has been learned and verified against the facts; acting on views that have been extensively and clearly investigated and considered to the best of one's wisdom and integrity to be righteous and for the sake of goodness; on a general level, it means acting out of respect for established principles, laws, rules and regulations.

    Bearing these three kinds of supremacy in mind, a responsible member of a democratic state should adhere to the last of the three, namely the supremacy of Dhamma.


    B. Participating in government by practicing in accordance with the principles for collective responsibility which help prevent decline and lead only to prosperity, known as the seven aparihaniya-dhamma:

    1. Meeting often and regularly; regularly conferring on community affairs and projects (which are to be shouldered by each person according to his level).
    2. Meeting together, dispersing together and doing together what needs to be done together.
    3. Neither instituting laws and regulations not communally agreed upon simply out of convenience or personal preference, nor denigrating or abolishing things already instituted; upholding the main provisions established as the constitution.
    4. Honoring and respecting the elders long in experience, giving weight to their words.
    5. Honoring and respecting the womenfolk, protecting them from abuse and ill-treatment.
    6. Honoring and revering the shrines, holy places and national monuments, which are memorials arousing virtue and centers of community spirit; not neglecting to honor the ceremonies required for those places as dictated by tradition.
    7. Organizing rightful protection, support and sanctuary to monks and priests who maintain pure moral conduct and who serve as spiritual refuges and moral examples for the people; gladly receiving them and wishing for their comfort.
    8. (D. II. 73)

    In addition to these principles, it is also advisable to maintain the principles outlined in Chapter 12 on the ideal householder, particularly point E: conducting oneself as a good citizen.

    (A king or administrator)

    For the lord of the land, the state leader or ruler-be he an emperor, king or administrator in general-there are the following qualities and principles of conduct:

    A. Being endowed with the ten regal qualities: to have the ten qualities of a righteous ruler or king (raja-dhamma):

    1. Dana: sharing with the populace; he is a benefactor in that he rules or works to give, not to take; he devotes himself to administering services and providing welfare and aid for the people to ensure their well-being, convenience and safety; he renders assistance to those in distress and difficulty and supports those who have done well.
    2. Sila: maintaining good conduct; he is impeccable in conduct and restrained in actions and speech; he does only good actions and upholds his honor; he sets an example for the people, commands their respect and is free from any cause for contempt.
    3. Pariccaga: working selflessly; he is capable of sacrificing personal comfort, even his own life, for the benefit of the people and the peace and stability of the country.
    4. Ajjava: working honestly; he is honest and upholds the truth; he is free of deceit and upright in his dealings; he is sincere and does not deceive the people.
    5. Maddava: deporting himself with gentleness and congeniality; his bearing is not arrogant, rude, harsh or conceited; he has nobility and dignity that are based on a polite and gentle manner, inspiring devotion and loyalty but not without awe.
    6. Tapa: rejecting indulgence through austerity; he destroys defilements and cravings and does not allow them to control his mind; he can restrain his mind and does not allow it to become lost in sensual pleasure and debauchery; he is simple and regular in life-style, and dedicated to the fulfillment of duty.
    7. Akkodha: adhering to reason, not anger; he is not given to fiery outbursts and does not make judgments or act out of anger, but has a heart of goodwill, suppressing anger; he judges and acts righteously with a mind that is subtle and calm.
    8. Avihimsa: bringing tranquillity through nonviolence; he does not let his power go to his head or use it to repress his subjects; he is kind; he does not find a pretext for punishing a subject out of vindictiveness and hatred.
    9. Khanti: overcoming difficulties with patience; he endures a heavy work load and perseveres in the face of tiredness; no matter how difficult or depressing the work may be, he does not give in; no matter how much he is provoked or ridiculed, or with whatever harsh and abrasive words, he does not despair; he refuses to abandon a task that is rightfully done.
    10. Avirodhana: not doing that which strays from righteousness; he does not transgress the principles of public administration that are based on the welfare, happiness and righteousness of the people and the country; he does not oppose what the people rightfully desire; he does not stand in the way of those activities which are for the common good; he establishes himself firmly in righteousness, steadfast and unwavering in the face of pleasant and unpleasant words, gain and loss, desirable and undesirable conditions; he is firmly established in righteous principles and does not deviate from or subvert them-both in judicial terms, namely [the administration of] justice, and in regulatory terms, namely [the observation of] regulations, formalities and administrative principles, including good customs and traditions.
    11. (J.V.378)

    B. Performing the duties of a universal emperor: he performs the five duties of a supreme ruler, called the cakkavatti-vatta:

    1. Dhammadhipateyya: holding the Dhamma supreme; he adheres to truth, righteousness, goodness, reason, principle and rightful rules and regulations as standards; he respects, upholds, favors and establishes himself in righteousness and practices accordingly.
    2. Dhammikarakkha: providing righteous protection; he provides fair protection to all groups of people in the land, i.e., the royal household, the military, administrative officials, civil servants, academics and people of various occupations such as merchants and farmers, country people and inhabitants of the border provinces, monks and priests who uphold moral conduct, and even beasts and birds requiring conservation.
    3. Ma adhammakara: prohibiting unrighteous actions; he arranges preventive and remedial measures, not allowing unrighteous actions, exploitation, oppression, corruption, or unrest to arise in the country; he encourages the people to establish themselves firmly in honesty and virtue and also establishes a system that excludes bad people and promotes good ones.
    4. Dhananuppadana: distributing resources to the poor; he ensures that there are no poverty-stricken people in the land by, for example, arranging that all people have a chance to make an honest living.
    5. Paripuccha: not failing to seek counsel; he seeks advancement in wisdom and virtue by having advisors who are learned and virtuous, who are morally upright and not heedless or self-indulgent, and who can help him to cultivate his wisdom and wholesome qualities; he approaches monks and wise men and queries them to seek knowledge, goodness and truth; he discusses various problems with them at regular and appropriate times so that he may examine and improve himself and carry out his duties rightfully, properly and so as to bring about true welfare and happiness.
    6. (D.III. 61)

    C. Effecting the royal benefactions: he supports the people, allowing them to live in unity and harmony, with the four raja-sangaha-vatthu (principles by which a king supports his people):

    1. Sassamedha: shrewdness in promoting agriculture; he is skilled in agronomic policies and promotes agricultural activity which brings about bountiful crop yields.
    2. Purisamedha: shrewdness in promoting government officials; he is clever at making policies for supporting government officials by, for example, encouraging honest and capable officials and providing them with adequate social benefits.
    3. Sammapasa: bonding the people together; he assists the people with policies that support their livelihood by, for example, providing funds from which the poor may borrow to set themselves up in commerce or start business operations, thereby eliminating an economic disparity that is so wide as to cause rifts among the people.
    4. Vajapeyya: impressive speech; he knows how to speak, clarify and advise; he takes an interest in greeting people of all levels and inquiring about their welfare; his speech is pleasant to the ear, worth listening to, reasoned, well-founded and useful; it leads the way to constructive action, to solution of problems, to increased harmony, and to mutual understanding, trust and respect.
    5. (S.I.76)

    D. Avoiding the biases: when an administrator is carrying out his functions, he should not allow the four biases, or deviations from righteousness, to interfere:

    1. Chandagati: biased conduct on account of like
    2. Dosagati: biased conduct on account of dislike
    3. Mohagati: biased conduct on account of delusion or foolishness
    4. Bhayagati: biased conduct on account of timidity and fear
    5. (D.III.182, 288)

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