The words “skillful” and “unskillful” (Pali: Kusala and Akusala) are Buddhist terms for talking about the ethical status of our actions.
A wholesome mind brings about a state of wholesome speech and actions. This is Kusala.
Recently I have thought about how the Tibetan Buddhists bow as compared to how I bow. Tibetan Buddhists put their palms together in prayer form, then touch them to their head, then mouth, then chest. I found that this symbolizes a dedication to the practice with their mind, their words, and their body (actions). It is also showing homage to the Triple Gem; the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha.
To me, this is a wonderful reminder, and one that I now observe every night when I meditate.
The cultivation of wholesomeness and skillfulness can only come from an observance of all three factors.
What good are my words here, if my mind has thoughts of control or desire? What purpose is my meditation if my actions are unskillful? What kind of mindfulness would posses unwholesome thoughts? What is my practice without the Buddha, his teachings, and the community. Without observance of all these factors, I only remain delusional and ignorant.
In Latin, the term “Ignorantia legis neminem excusat” means ignorance of the law excuses no one.
I believe this is equally true of the Karmic law in the Buddha’s teachings.
So whether the Tibetan bow, the Latin words, or Pali (pronounced Polly) terms help remind you, I hope that you will give some thought to your wholesomeness and skillfulness.
Through virtue, meditation and wisdom, may we all reach Nibbana.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.
This is what should be done
By one who is skilled in goodness,
And who knows the path of peace:
Wishing: In gladness and in safety,
May all beings be at ease.
Whatever living beings there may be;
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
The great or the mighty,
medium, short or small,
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and far away,
Those born and to-be-born —
May all beings be at ease
Let none deceive another,
Or despise any being in any state.
Let none through anger or ill-will
Wish harm upon another.
Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings;
Radiating kindness over the entire world
Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded,
Freed from hatred and ill-will.