Ajahn Amaro wrote in his wonderful book, Small Boat, Great Mountain, “We can employ a range of practices to arrive at the quality of liberation, of realizing the mind’s own nature… the intrinsically pure free quality of mind. The intrinsic nature of mind is already totally peaceful, totally energetic, and totally awake. That’s its inherent nature.”
We have come to the Ethics Training, or sila, in the Noble Eight-fold Path. The ethics trainings consist of Right Speech, Right Action, and Right Livelihood. Sila indicates a state of normalcy. So when we practice sila, we return to our own basic goodness, our Buddha-nature. We train in preserving our true nature, not allowing it to be modified or overpowered by negative forces. These three steps are a means to an end, they’re observed for a specific objective. On the personal level, they serve as the foundation for the spiritual path. Without ethics or morality, we can’t attain our highest spiritual goals, and they are the foundation for a peaceful and secure society. Most of the problems in society today are connected, directly or indirectly, with a lack of good ethical conduct.