4. Right Action
With good thoughts and wholesome speech, naturally, your actions have to be compatible. In particular, abstinence from killing, stealing and sexual misconduct (rape / molestation / deception / abuse). These three unwholesome deeds are caused by craving and anger, coupled to ignorance.
With the gradual elimination of these kammic causes (evil mental / verbal / physical actions) from your mind and body, blameworthy / bad tendencies will find no outlet nor route to express themselves.
The wheel of suffering is a graphic visualization of all forms of suffering, illustrating the concepts of karma. Right actions and right livelihood help break the chain of negative karma that keeps us in the trap of Samsara.
5. Right Livelihood
If you feel good about your job, it’s probably right livelihood. Do you help people? As long as you harm no one — and that would include the environment, since that impacts all beings — then it’s right livelihood. Buddha wouldn’t put things in a negative context, but it should be obvious that any attempt at purifying thoughts, words and actions would be severely hindered by five kinds of trade / business / job that clearly are NOT right livelihood:
- Weapons (arms) production
- Human slavery
- Breeding of animals for slaughter / slaughtering animals per se
- Illegal drugs (narcotics), alcohol, cigarettes and the like: producing anything known to be bad for sentient beings
- Poisons: producing poisons, pollution and other harmful substances.
Hypocritical conduct is cited as wrong livelihood for monks.
6. Right Effort
To do anything in life requires determination, persistence and energy. The sustained, lifelong practice of the Noble Eightfold Path, to lead a pure and spiritual life, is the very definition of Right Effort. Right effort includes developing good habits, such as practicing right mindfulness, right meditation and other positive moral acts in your daily life — not just occasionally.