The Ten Non-Virtues or paths of karma, comes from the Great Book on the Steps of the Path (LAM RIM CHEN MO), by Je
Tsongkhapa: the Chapter on the True, and the
Sutra on the Ten Levels, describe the results, or "consistent consequences,"
associated with each of the ten non-virtues.
Avoiding the ten non-virtues is the basis of all ethical living. Leading an ethical life can bring you to nirvana. If there's
something in your life that you do not like, you can figure out the karmic cause and remove it by cleaning up your thoughts
and behaviour. You focus on removing the causes (unethical conduct) that create future consequences. We constantly do all ten
non-virtues. The understanding of the relationship between the ten non-virtues and the resulting quality of your life should
run your life, based on a rational analysis of your current sufferings, what caused them, and how to stop them in the future.
To get the full bad karma from these ten misdeeds, you must be doing them intentionally, to the point of completion, with
clear understanding of the error, and with harmful thoughts in your mind (the strength of the result depends on all four
factors being present). In Canada, we generally refrain from misdeeds either because of an external authority like God,
parents, social norms, or the law; or because of the embarrassment of doing it in public. These are irrelevant myths or bases
of ethical conduct. Our proper motivation should be to stop planting bad seeds in our mind so that we can reach nirvana.
Je Tsongkhapa states, "Great Lamas of the past have expressed the position that the
'Consistent Consequence' is where, even
if you do manage to take birth as a human, you enjoy killing things, etc.; and that experiencing the various results listed
below is a 'Ripened Consequence."' Finally,
'Environmental Consequences' relate to the land and the surroundings in which you
The following presentation defines the misdeed, and for each misdeed lists the
"consistent result" (the personal consequence
you experience because you have done that specific misdeed), and the "environmental
result" (the characteristics you perceive in your environment because you have done the misdeed).
Results of Doing the Ten Non-Virtues
1. Killing any living being. It includes abortion, suicide (ruining a body that could have reached nirvana in this life), and
participating in the military (even being a cook, it is as if you shot the gun yourself).
||Your life is short; and you get sick easily, have little energy.
||Food, drink, medicine, crops, have very little effect, are always inferior, are not nutritious, are
hard to digest, and cause disease in you. Most beings around you die before reaching the end of a full life.
2. Stealing anything of value: includes shady business deals, cheating on rent, taxes, or bills, underpaying what is due to local government or society, etc.
||You do not have enough to live on or to make ends meet; and what you do have is all just common
property with others.
||The crops are few and far between, they have no power to remove hunger, they spoil or never come up;
dry spells stay on too long; it rains too much; the crops dry up or die off.