Suppose a person does certain acts that are not in line with the precepts but he does not feel remorse because it seems to the person as an trifling act, for example taking something from his/her parents without their consent or gossiping and lying (as skillful means for example).

What is the Buddhist answer to that? As I know, regarding lying and gossiping for example, it is quite clear that one shouldn't do it regardless of an alleged benefit.

3 Answers 3


Bikkhu bodhi issues a video mentioning precisely the topic of discussion

Anguttara Nikaya: Duka Nipāta, The Book of the Two (2018.07.07) Bhikkhu Bodhi

Sutta 77-

I do not recall at what time he talks about that. But his answer is that the kamma of somebody who does not feel shame of doing bad things as exposed by the buddha is worse than the karma of the guy who feels shame for the same acts.

This answer leads to the conclusion that dangerous are the people who claim that the feeling of shame must be avoided once you follow the path, and that other people who follow the path must not judge other followers.

  • The last paragraph says that, "People who claim you must avoid feeling shame, and/or who claim that people on the path shouldn't judge others, are dangerous".
    – ChrisW
    Jul 15, 2018 at 10:18

...a person does certain acts that are not in line with the precepts but he does not feel remorse... (i.e., delusion/ignorance)

A child, craving a memory of love might steal from parents. A person once slandered might gossip. A person once betrayed might lie. And these actions perpetuate suffering. This is suffering.

And what is dependent co-arising? From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications. ... then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering

Like gravity, kamma happens. Always and eventually. Consequences do arise. For lying, trust is lost. For stealing, fear of loss arises. However, we tend to consider solutions only when we know suffering.


The Buddha discovered the Middle way before He attained Nibbana. The middle way is also in the first sermon of the 'turning of the wheel'. Its an important aspect of following the path.

The point I am making is, to attain to Nibbana you have to live as the Zen says 'on the razor's edge'. You have to balance the Eightfold path.

This means that you don't have to live on the extremes of moral behaviour. So the trivial acts you should learn to ignore.

In modern times creating work-life balance, we do a lot of things which strictly speaking won't be moral but can be trivial. If you end up being pedantic to every action you will become paralysed. You don't have to be critical but you do have to be aware and mindful of every action.

So as long as your actions don't cause suffering to others and yourself it is fine.

Edit: There will be another set of answers pointing the obvious references to Karma, but one has to understand there is a difference between 'do-gooders' and the current generation of 'Stream-enterers'.

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