Ethics is concerned with human conducts and deals with questions regarding what is right and wrong, what is good and bad, what are justices and what are our duties, obligations and rights. Good or bad depends on one's own choice.
In Dhammapada 183, Buddhist ethics can be generally summed up as follows: Sabba pāpassa akaraṇaṁ Kusalassa upasampadā Sacitta pariyodapanaṁ Etaṁ Buddhānasāsanaṁ
"Not to do evil (pāpassa), to cultivate the good (kusala) And to purify one's mind. This is the teaching of the Buddha."
Buddhist ethics allows one to be able to differentiate between a good or a bad action and allow one to choose the right kind of action logically and ethicaly. The centrality of ethics is based on the centrality of the mind which is the source of all values, virtues, and vices.
The ultimate goal in Buddhism is the cessation from suffering or unsatisfactions (dukkha). Morality (sīla), practice in meditation (samādhi) and the development of wisdom (paññā) are the three-fold training in the Buddhist discipline towards liberation from dukkha.
How do we know what is right or wrong action?
The Buddha says that when we state a falsehood knowingly or when we do something immoral, then our conscience tells us what is right and wrong.
When we do something wrong or unwholesome actions:
1. my conscience (attādipateyya) reproaches me if I do it, 2. the wise would disapprove of it after examination 3. one would tend to be born in states of downfall as a result of doing it. Hiri (sense of shame) and Ottapa (fear of wrongdoing) are the guardians of the world that will reduce one’s tendency to harm others in speech and actions.