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I remember reading in a sutta that the Buddha said not engaging in the sexual act is considered right action. Does anybody know the place where that is written? I don’t remember where I read it.

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That was referenced in this answer.

The word used there is abrahmacariyā and associated with celibacy.

That word used that way (celibacy) in the 3rd of the eight precepts -- see the references at the start of this answer -- a different word is used in the 3rd of the five precepts.

I think it has a broader meaning than celibacy though, e.g. it's used in SN 54.2 -- so instead of or as well as "celibate" it's translated "the holy life" or "the spiritual life" -- I think it refers to a monk's life, including keeping the rules of the vinaya and the company of other monks.

Where it's used in SN 45.8, I note that the three types of wrong action which are listed there -- i.e. killing, stealing, and sexual intercourse -- correspond to parajika offenses which result in someone's automatically losing their status as a monk or nun.

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  • Thanks, the answer is satisfying. – Malik A Jan 17 at 11:10

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