Lama Surya Das explains that Right Intention asks us to “use our mind and our determination to free ourselves from ignorance, delusion, negativity, and selfishness; to become totally honest with ourselves; to develop a “working” loving-kindness, empathy, and compassion toward all other living beings.”
Right Thought or Intention is second on the Path and the second of the Wisdom Trainings. We tend to think that thoughts don’t count; only what we actually do matters. But the Buddha taught that our thoughts are the forerunner of our actions and that what we think, along with what we say and how we act, create karma.
Right Intention can be described best as commitment to ethical and mental growth. The Buddha taught three types of right intentions: 1. the intention of renunciation, which means not acting on the pull of desire, 2. the intention of good will, meaning not acting on feelings of anger and aversion, and 3. the intention of harmlessness, meaning not to think or act cruelly, violently, or aggressively, and to develop compassion.