Monday, 11 January 2010

Bases of Buddhist Ethics


SN 1.18- PTS: S i 7-CDB i 96
Hiri Sutta: Conscience
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Who in the world
is a man constrained by conscience,
who awakens to censure
like a fine stallion to the whip?
Those restrained by conscience
are rare —
those who go through life
always mindful.
Having reached the end
of suffering & stress,
they go through what is uneven
go through what is out-of-tune
in tune.
  • Provenance:
  • ©1998 Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
  • Transcribed from a file provided by the translator.
  • This Access to Insight edition is ©1998–2010 John T. Bullitt.
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  • How to cite this document (one suggested style): "Hiri Sutta: Conscience" (SN 1.18), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, June 7, 2009,

8. Hirīsuttaṃ

18. ‘‘Hirīnisedho puriso, koci lokasmiṃ vijjati.

Yo nindaṃ apabodhati [apabodheti (syā. kaṃ. ka.)], asso bhadro kasāmivā’’ti.

‘‘Hirīnisedhā tanuyā, ye caranti sadā satā;

Antaṃ dukkhassa pappuyya, caranti visame sama’’nti.

See also this Hiri Sutta (Snp 2.3), (Pāli).

And this definition for Hiri and Ottappa:

hiri-ottappa [hiri-ottappa]:
"Conscience and concern"; "moral shame and moral dread." These twin emotions — the "guardians of the world" — are associated with all skillful actions. Hiri is an inner conscience that restrains us from doing deeds that would jeopardize our own self-respect; ottappa is a healthy fear of committing unskillful deeds that might bring about harm to ourselves or others. See kamma. [MORE]
Some notes/placeholders for my upcoming lectures in Buddhist Ethics...