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The Value of the Three Acts of Goodness

     Fo Guang Shan advocates the "Three Good Practices," which are saying good words, doing good deeds, and having good thoughts.Buddhism teaches that the source of unwholesome karma comes from our body, speech, and mind. Therefore, in our cultivation, we should start from these three areas.

     To do good deeds is to generate good physical karma by not killing,not stealing, not engaging in sexual misconduct, and not committing any illicit acts. Instead, one should practice doing good by benefiting others with kind and beneficial deeds. To say good words is to cultivate good speech karma, which means one should not lie, nor engage in duplicitous,harsh, or trivial speech. When one speaks, one's words should be kind,rational, wise, and truthful. Bearing good thoughts refers to cultivation of the mind. A mind should be free of doubt, jealousy, greed, anger, and hatred, and instead have compassion, kindness, benevolence, motivation,and vows. Cultivating these qualities is the practice of bearing good thoughts.

     The three karmas of body, speech, and mind, as explained by Buddhism, can be practiced both positively and negatively. When we use these three karmas to do good, then we can be reborn in heaven; if we use them to commit wrongdoings, we may find ourselves in hell.

     Therefore, following the three good practices affects our futures immensely. It even affects the whole community and nation, for the positive or negative morale of a society depends on the three karmas of body,speech, and mind of its citizens. If we all say good words, then what we always hear will be music to our ears. If we all do good deeds, then through helping one another valuable friendships can be established. If we all bear good thoughts, then we will find respect, peace, and harmony anywhere we go. The movement to pursue the "Three Good Practices" is one that will purify and improve the morale of society.Therefore, if one person cultivates the three good practices, then one person will find peace and freedom, and when a country follows the three good practices, then the whole country will attain liberation.

            In Humble Table, Wise Fare, there is the following verse:
            Say good words of compassion and kindness, for they are like the winter sun-
            Encouragement and praise profuse like the scent of a hundred flowers everywhere.
            Do good deeds, for simple acts of kindness beget wondrous merits
            Service and contribution shine like the full moon high above.
            Have good thoughts, for honesty and benevolence bring good fortune-
            With sages and saints in mind, it is like reaping a good harvest.
            Let us all come together to pursue the "Three Good Practices",always striving to say good words, do good deeds, and have good thoughts.
  • The Value of the Three Acts of Goodness4:32
      Recorded by Steven Chan   Toronto Radiant Subchapter