Research Study

The Noble Eight Fold Path
- Sila (Precepts Or Morality)


We must be aware of the cunning and devious ways of the self, and in understanding them virtue comes into being, but virtue is not an end in itself. Self-interest cannot cultivate virtue, it can only perpetuate itself under the mask of virtue; under the cover of virtue there is still the activity of the self.

-Authentic Report of Sixteen Talks given in 1945 &
1946 ... p.95

Virtue is freedom, orderliness; without order, freedom, there can be no experiencing of the Real. In virtue there is freedom, not in the becoming virtuous.

-Authentic Report of Sixteen Talks given In 1945 & 1946 ... p.113

Then Krishnamurti spoke slowly, pausing at every word. ''Right action is only possible when the mind is silent and there is a seeing of 'what is.'

-Pg 128, Biography of K by Pupul Jayakar

...and this killing has been going on for millenia upon millenia...some treat it as a sport, others kill out of hatred, anger, jealousy and organized murder by the various nations with their armaments goes on. One wonders if man will ever live on this beautiful earth peacefully, never killing a little thing or being killed or killing another but live peacefully with some divinity and love in his heart.

-K to himself-his last journal, 26 April 1983, Ojai, California.

What is lie? a contradiction, isn't it?, a self contradiction. One can consciously contradict or unconsciously, it can either be deliberate or unconscious...and when the cleavage in contradiction is very great, then... one...sets about to mend it.

-K, 13th public Talk, ojai August 1949.

You have a watch and I take it away from you. Do you think it is right?...So I take it away from you. This is called stealing. Obviously it is not right. Is it? That is a disease. It is a kind of mental perversion, an aberration, a mental twist.

-6th Talk to students at Rajghat 1954.

...I suffer, I want to find out-to end it or must I carry on for the rest of my life-this agony, this brutality, this sexual perversion or sexual desires, you know all the rest of it.....

-K, Brockwood, 23 June 1978

I think the problem of drinking as any other problem can be understood and put an end to only when I understand the process of myself-when there is self knowledge.

-2nd Talk, London, Oct. 1949.

Obviously there are wrong means of livelihood. He who helps in manufacturing arms and other methods to kill his fellowman is surely occupied with furthering violence which never brings about peace in the world; the politician who, either for the benefit of his nation or of himself or of an ideology, is occupied in ruling and exploiting others, is surely employing wrong means of livelihood which lead to war, to the misery and sorrow of man; the priest who holds to a specialized prejudice, dogma or belief, to a particular form of worship and prayer is also using wrong means of livelihood, for he is only spreading ignorance and intolerance which set man against man. Any profession that leads to and maintains the divisions and conflict between man and man is obviously a wrong means of livelihood. Such occupations lead to exploitation and strife.

-Authentic Report of Sixteen Talks given in 1945 & 1946 ..P.17

It is very important in modern society to have right employment, because today every action leads to war, the whole thing is geared for war; but at least we can find out the wrong professions; and avoid them intelligently. Obviously, the army, the navy, are wrong professions; so is the profession of law which encourages litigation, and the police, especially the secret police. So, right employment must be found and exercised by each one, and only then can there be the cessation of killing which will bring about peace among men.

-Krishnamurti's Talks 1949-1950 (Verbatim Report) Ceylon p.15


Right speech (sammavaca) is:

musavada veramani, pisunaya vacaya veramani, pharusaya
vacaya veramani, samphappalapa veramani.

It is not false or hurtful. It is not back-biting or slander. Again understand that this must be yatha-bhutam pajanati. (Insight based on 'what is'). It must happen in your life. It must be experienced, along with the understanding that you are living a life of abstinence from false, hurtful, backbiting, or slanderous talk. Unless you are practising this, unless it is experienced, unless it is happening in your life, it is not samma but miccha, merely an intellectual or emotional game. It must be yathabhuta ('What is').

Right action (sammakammanto) is:

panatipata veramani, adinnadana veramani, kamesu
micchacara veramani.

It is abstinence at the bodily level (veramani) from killing (panatipata), stealing (adinnadana) or sexual misconduct (kamesumicchacara). This must also be experienced; it must happen in life. Only then you can say that you are living a life of abstinence from killing, stealing and sexual misconduct. It is pajanati (insight). It is experienced 'as it is'.

Right livelihood (samma-ajivo) is:

ariyasavako miccha-ajivam pahaya samma-ajivena jivitam kappeti.

It is where unwholesome (miccha) livelihood has been given up (pahaya), and again the same applies: the earning of a livelihood by wholesome means must be experienced in life. ('as it is')

-Shri S N Goenka, discourses on Mahasatipatthana Sutta, Pg 90-91, Dhammanupassana.

The Mahasattipatthana Sutta-maggasaccam - (the truth of the Path) emphasizes that Right speech - Right action and Right Livelihood must be based on 'what is' - with wisdom/insight and this must be an experiential understanding and not an intellectual game.

Morality as explained by the Buddha is not a set of rules to be blindly followed-there has to be insight-wisdom and understanding from moment to moment-based on 'what is' (yatha bhutam pajanati).

The noble eight fold path culminates in insight. Insight and morality go hand in hand. Without insight morality is simply a set of rules. Insight is the flowering of virtue in life-naturally, normally, choicelessly, effortlessly-based on 'what is'-based on 'as it is'.
Gurus before the Buddha and at the time of the Buddha and even now have been telling us-to do this-to do that-not to do this-not to do that, but morality/virtue cannot be forcefully practised like this. Mind cannot be forcefully purified. A pure mind is a mind full of love. A life with love and equanimity is virtuous life, naturally. Morality without insight is meaningless, it is not morality at all.

In fact this sutta emphasizes that the whole of the noble eight fold path is to be experienced and experienced at the level of sensations with insight leading to the ending of all the misery and sorrow, the ending of all fear-freedom from the known. (This has also been discussed under the heading ''The Four noble Truths''and ''freedom from the known'' in this study.)

The Buddha states that the 'contents of the mind-concerning the 4 noble truths'are observed as 'contents of the mind-concerning the 4 noble truths.'-'as it is'-with insight at the level of sensations. The 4th noble truth is the truth of the path. - the noble eight fold path.

-(Mahasatipatthana Sutta, Dhammanupassana- Catusaccapabbam-observation of mental contents - The section on the four noble Truths.)

What matters is to live at the height of virtue. (I know you don't like that word). Those two words 'virtue' and 'righteousness' have been terribly abused, every priest uses them, every moralist or idealist employs them. But virtue is entirely different from something which is practised as virtue and therein lies its beauty; if you try to practise it, then it is no longer virtue. Virtue is not of time, so it cannot be practised and behaviour is not dependent on environment; environmental behaviour is all right in its way but it has no virtue. Virtue means to love, to have no fear, to live at the highest level of existence, which is to die to everything, inwardly, to die to the past, so that the mind is clear and innocent. And it is only such a mind that can come upon this extraordinary immensity which is not your own invention, nor that of some philosopher or guru.

- J. Krishnamurti, Pg. 168, You are the world.

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