The Value of the “Three Acts of Goodness”
Fo Guang Shan advocates the “The Three Acts of Goodness,” which are say good words, do good deeds and thinking 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 as well as 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 acts of goodness affects our future immensely. It even affects the whole community and nation, for the positive and 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 Acts of Goodness” is one that will purify and improve the morale of society. Therefore, if one person cultivates the three acts of goodness, then one person will find peace and freedom, and when a country follows the three acts of goodness, then the whole country will attain liberation.
Say good words of compassion and kindness, for they are like the sun in winter –
Encouragements and praises 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.
Think good thoughts, for honesty and benevolence bring good fortune –
With sages and saints in the mind, it is like reaping a good harvest.
Let us all come together to pursue the “Three Acts of Goodness,” always striving to say good words, do good deeds, and think good thoughts.
Excerpt from: Between Ignorance and Enlightenment V –Let Go, Move On by Venerable Master Hsing Yun