Readings on Ethics – Preface

The Beautiful Path

There is a great need these days for the study and practice of ethics. The universal values of caring for each other, and for this sacred earth have always been needed, but they are especially called for when life has gotten out of balance. We turn again to traditional teachings, which are our precious inherited wisdom. By changing the way we live, they all tell us, we can restore health on personal and collective levels…


We today live under one life philosophy, which is principled on compassion, reciprocity, stewardship, and really, about humility…

– Leigh Kuwanwisiwma, Hopi Keeper of Knowledge

In Buddhism, in every lineage, morals are the basis of the path. They are integral in the Three Trainings, of ethics, meditation, and wisdom, that leads to freedom from suffering. Ethics precedes meditation, and meditation is the essential ground for the wisdom that uproots the defilements, ends suffering, and brings the peace, health and happiness that we all seek. In this way, Buddhism recognizes that there are levels to the mind and heart that need to be cultivated over time to bring about greater peace. This keeps moral teachings from staying on the surface, becoming just another dogma, and resulting in endless struggle, and hypocrisy.

Even though ethics are not emphasized for the most part when Buddhism is taught in the West, it is recognizing our interdependence and having a compassionate motivation that is the basis for progress on this path.

With this in mind, I’ve gathered here the teachings on ethics that have meant the most to me over the years, with the thought that they may be illuminating and encouraging for others as well.

I send this forth then, from my heart.

May the study and cultivation of ethics lead us all the create the foundation of peace and health in our lives, and in this world.

Jason Espada
San Francisco,
May 17th, 2020

From The Beautiful Path – Readings on Ethics to Soothe and Brighten the Mind