What Is Right Thought?

Garden ViewThere are three ways of thinking that will lead to well-being.

Nekkhamma-sankappa: resolving to shed attachment to the pleasures of the senses from the heart and mind. These lie at the essence of the mental hindrances.

Abyapada-sankappa: resolving to weaken, dismantle, and destroy any evil in our thoughts; in other words, trying to shed from the heart and mind any thoughts of ill will we may have toward people who displease us. 

Avihinsa-sankappa: resolving not to think in ways that aim at punishing or doing violence to others, or in ways that would lead to harm for other people or living beings. No matter how good or evil other people may be, we don’t give rein to thoughts of envy, jealousy, or competitiveness. We shed these thoughts from the heart because they are harmful to us — and when we do ourselves harm, there is nothing to keep us from harming others.

In short, there are two sides to Right Resolve.

First, is the intention at all times to abandon any careless, inconsiderate, or distressing traits that defile the mind and cause it to suffer – that is, the intention to remove ourselves from this type of suffering because traits of this sort are a form of self-punishment through which we do ourselves harm.

Second, is the intention to develop within ourselves whatever will give rise to ease, comfort, and pleasure for the mind, until we reach the point where peace and ease are absolute. This is what is meant by having good will toward ourselves. Only then can we qualify as having Right Resolve.

Source: Adapted from “The Path to Peace and Freedom for the Mind”, by Ajaan Lee Dhammadharo, translated from the Thai by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight (Legacy Edition), 1 December 2013, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/lee/pathtopeace.html

For a PDF copy of the above, click on Right Resolve.

For an MS Word file of the above, click on Right Resolve.