|This is the second talk in a speaker series titled Ethics, Action, and the Five
Precepts. This talk explores kamma (karma) and the training precept to refrain from killing. The Abhidhamma presents a detailed analysis of both wholesome and unwholesome mental states to explain how some actions lead to suffering, and other actions lead to happiness. The conditions that surround an action, the intentions that instigate it, and the reflective understanding of potential consequences will influence the intensity of the patterns that affect our options. If you find that you have killed a living being, perhaps an insect, notice your mental state. Was hatred or greed present? Learn what happens in the mind to enable killing, and what happens in the mind when you refrain from killing. The act of restraint is a particularly potent action. When virtue (sila) is pure, reflections on the abstention from killing can be a source of joy. The potency of wholesome restraint can be increased by reinforcing it with the wisdom that understands the causes and end of suffering—right view of the path.