A CONSTITUTION FOR LIVING
HUMAN BEINGS AND BEING HUMAN
1. MAN, THE NOBLE BEING
(A member of the human race)
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:
(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.
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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
2. THE IDEAL PERSON
(An exemplary member of the human race)
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
PEOPLE AND SOCIETY
3. THE VIRTUOUS PERSON
(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:
has the threefold sucarita, the three kinds of good or proper
Kaya-sucarita: righteous bodily conduct; he does things that are
virtuous and proper; he has good bodily conduct.
Vaci-sucarita: righteous speech; he says things that are virtuous
and proper; he has good verbal conduct.
Mano-sucarita: righteous mentality; he thinks things that are
virtuous and proper; he has good mental conduct.
B. He abides by the noble qualities (ariya-dhamma)
by practicing properly according to the ten courses of wholesome action (kusala-kamma):
from killing or taking life, oppression and harassment; possessing kindness,
compassion and helpfulness.
from filching, theft and exploitation; respecting the property rights of
from misconduct and violation of others' loved or cherished ones; not
abusing them, disgracing or dishonoring their families.
from false speech, lying and deception; speaking only the truth, not
intentionally saying thing that stay from the truth out of a desire for
from malicious speech inciting one person against another; speaking only
words that are conciliatory and conducive to harmony.
from coarse, vulgar or damaging speech; speaking only words that are polite
and pleasant to the ear.
from worthless or frivolous speech; speaking only words that are true,
reasonable, useful and appropriate to the occasion.
- Not being
greedy; not focusing only on taking; thinking of giving, of sacrifice;
making the mind munificent.
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.
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.
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:
from killing: not taking life or doing bodily harm.
from taking what is not given: not stealing, pilfering or filching; not
violating [others'] properties.
from sexual misconduct; not violating the loved or cherished ones of others,
thereby destroying their honor and dignity and confusing their family lines.
from lying: not telling lies or using deceptive speech; not violating other
people or their interests through speech.
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.
4. THE SOCIAL BENEFACTOR
(A helpful member of society)
A constructive member of society possesses the following qualities or
principles of conduct:
has the Divine Abidings,
the four mental attributes of a being who is sublime or grand-minded like a
god, which are:
loving kindness: goodwill and amity, the wish to help all people attain
benefit and happiness.
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.
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.
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.
established these four mental qualities as a foundation, he may express them
outwardly in the following ways:
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
5. THE HARMONIOUS PARTICIPANT OF
(A good community member)
participant of a community, who contributes to the peaceful co-existence of
the community, possesses the following qualities or principles of conduct:
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
having good conduct and discipline; he conducts his life honestly in
body and speech; he has discipline and earns his living through right
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
(conditions leading to mutual recollection) should be observed, as follows:
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
(D. III. 245)
6. THE CONTRIBUTOR TO GOOD
(A responsible member of state)
contribute to bringing about good administration, especially in a democracy,
should know and abide by the following principles:
Understanding the three kinds of supremacy (adhipateyya) as
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
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.
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.
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
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:
often and regularly; regularly conferring on community affairs and projects
(which are to be shouldered by each person according to his level).
together, dispersing together and doing together what needs to be done
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
and respecting the elders long in experience, giving weight to their words.
and respecting the womenfolk, protecting them from abuse and ill-treatment.
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.
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.
(D. II. 73)
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.
7. THE STATE LEADER
(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
Being endowed with the ten regal qualities: to have the ten qualities of a righteous ruler or king (raja-dhamma):
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
Performing the duties of a universal emperor: he performs the five duties of a supreme ruler, called the
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Effecting the royal benefactions:
he supports the people, allowing them to live in unity and harmony, with the
(principles by which a king supports his people):
Sassamedha: shrewdness in promoting agriculture; he is skilled in
agronomic policies and promotes agricultural activity which brings about
bountiful crop yields.
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.
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.
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.
Avoiding the biases:
when an administrator is carrying out his functions, he should not allow the
four biases, or deviations from righteousness, to interfere:
Chandagati: biased conduct on account of like
Dosagati: biased conduct on account of dislike
Mohagati: biased conduct on account of delusion or foolishness
Bhayagati: biased conduct on account of timidity and fear
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