Right Thought

Flower SplendorWhat, now, is Right Thought?

  1. Thought free from lust (nekkhamma-sankappa).
  2. Thought free from ill-will (avyapada-sankappa).
  3. Thought free from cruelty (avihimsa-sankappa).

This is called Right Thought. (Dîgha Nikaya, 22)

Mundane and Supermundane Thought

Now, Right Thought, I tell you, is of two kinds:

  1. Thought free from lust, from ill-will, and from cruelty—this is called ‘Mundane Right Thought’ (lokiya samma-sankappa), which yields worldly fruits and brings good results.
  2. But, whatsoever there is of thinking, considering, reasoning, thought, ratiocination [forming judgments by a process of logic; reason], application—the mind being holy, being turned away from the world, and conjoined with the path, the holy path being pursued—these ‘verbal operations’ of the mind (vaci-sankhara) are called the ‘Supermundane Right Thought’ (lokuttara-samma-sankappa), which is not of the world, but is supermundane, and conjoined with the path.

Conjoined with Other Factors

Now, in understanding wrong thought as wrong, and right thought as right, one practises Right Understanding (1st factor); and in making efforts to overcome evil thought and to arouse right thought, one practises Right Effort (6th factor); and in overcoming evil thought with attentive mind, and dwelling with attentive mind in possession of right thought, one practises Right Mindfulness (7th factor). Hence there are three things that accompany and follow upon Right Thought, namely: Right Understanding, Right Effort, and Right Mindfulness. (Majjhima-Nikaya, 117)

Source: Nyanatiloka (compiler, translator). The Word of the Buddha: An Outline of the Teaching of the Buddha in the Words of the Pali Canon. 14th edition. Kandy, Ceylon: Buddhist Publication Society, 1967. (Page 47.) [This format has been produced by Alexander Peck.]