Under the head of Right Conduct the two most important points are Love and Joy. Love is in Pāli Mettā, and the Metta Sutta says (no doubt with reference to the Right Mindfulness just described): "As a mother, even at the risk of her own life, protects her son, her only son, so let him cultivate love without measure towards all beings. Let him cultivate towards the whole world - above, below, around - a heart of love unstinted, unmixed with the sense of differing or opposing interests. Let a man maintain this mindfulness all the while he is awake, whether he be standing, walking, sitting or lying down. This state of heart is the best in the world."
Often elsewhere four such states are described, the Brahma Vihāras or Sublime Conditions. They are Love, Sorrow at the sorrows of others, Joy in the joys of others, and Equanimity as regards one's own joys and sorrows. Each of these feelings was to be deliberately practised, beginning with a single object, and gradually increasing till the whole world was suffused with the feeling. "Our mind shall not waver. No evil speech will we utter. Tender and compassionate will we abide, loving in heart, void of malice within. And we will be ever suffusing such a one with the rays of our loving thought. And with that feeling as a basis we will ever be suffusing the whole wide world with thought of love far-reaching, grown great, beyond measure, void of anger or ill-will."
The relative importance of love, as compared with other habits, is thus described. "All the means that can be used as bases for doing right are not worth the sixteenth part of the emancipation of the heart through love. That takes all those up into itself, outshining them in radiance and glory. Just as whatsoever stars there be, their radiance avails not the sixteenth part of the radiance of the moon. That takes all those up into itself, outshining them in radiance and glory - just as in the last month of the rains, at harvest time, the sun, mounting up on high into the clear and cloudless sky, overwhelms all darkness in the realms of space, and shines forth in radiance and glory - just as in the night, when the dawn is breaking, the morning star shines out in radiance and glory - just so all the means that can be used as helps towards doing right avail not the sixteenth part of the emancipation of the heart through love."
The above is the positive side; the qualities (dhammā) that have to be acquired. The negative side, the qualities that have to be suppressed by the cultivation of the opposite virtues, are the Ten Bonds (Samyojanas), the Four Intoxications (Āsavā) and the Five Hindrances (Nīvaranas).
The Ten Bonds are: (1) Delusion about the soul; (2) Doubt; (3) Dependence on good works; (4) Sensuality; (5) Hatred, ill-feeling; (6) Love of life on earth; (7) Desire for life in heaven; (8) Pride; (9) Self-righteousness; (10) Ignorance. The Four Intoxications are the mental intoxication arising respectively from (1) Bodily passions, (2) Becoming, (3) Delusion, (4) Ignorance. The Five Hindrances are (1) Hankering after worldly advantages, (2) The corruption arising out of the wish to injure, (3) Torpor of mind, (4) Fretfulness and worry, (5) Wavering of mind. "When these five hindrances have been cut away from within him, he looks upon himself as freed from debt, rid of disease, out of jail, a free man and secure. And gladness springs up within him on his realizing that, and joy arises to him thus gladdened, and so rejoicing all his frame becomes at ease, and being thus at ease he is filled with a sense of peace, and in that peace his heart is stayed."
To have realized the Truths, and traversed the Path; to have broken the Bonds, put an end to the Intoxications, and got rid of the Hindrances, is to have attained the ideal, the Fruit, as it is called, of Arahatship. One might fill columns with the praises, many of them among the most beautiful passages in Pāli poetry and prose, lavished on this condition of mind, the state of the man made perfect according to the Buddhist faith. Many are the pet names, the poetic epithets bestowed upon it - the harbour of refuge, the cool cave, the island amidst the floods, the place of bliss, emancipation, liberation, safety, the supreme, the transcendent, the uncreated, the tranquil, the home of peace, the calm, the end of suffering, the medicine for all evil, the unshaken, the ambrosia, the immaterial, the imperishable, the abiding, the farther shore, the unending, the bliss of effort, the supreme joy, the ineffable, the detachment, the holy city, and many others. Perhaps the most frequent in the Buddhist text is Arahatship, "the state of him who is worthy"; and the one exclusively used in Europe is Nirvāna, the "dying out"; that is, the dying out in the heart of the fell fire of the three cardinal sins - sensuality, ill-will and stupidity.
The choice of this term by European writers, a choice made long before any of the Buddhist canonical texts had been published or translated, has had a most unfortunate result. Those writers did not share, could not be expected to share, the exuberant optimism of the early Buddhists. Themselves giving up this world as hopeless, and looking for salvation in the next, they naturally thought the Buddhists must do the same, and in the absence of any authentic scriptures, to correct the mistake, they interpreted Nirvāna, in terms of their own belief, as a state to be reached after death. As such they supposed the "dying out" must mean the dying out of a "soul"; and endless were the discussions as to whether this meant eternal trance, or absolute annihilation, of the "soul." It is now thirty years since the right interpretation, founded on the canonical texts, has been given, but outside the ranks of Pāli scholars the old blunder is still often repeated. It should be added that the belief in salvation in this world, in this life, has appealed so strongly to Indian sympathies that from the time of the rise of Buddhism down to the present day it has been adopted as a part of general Indian belief, and Jīvanmukti, salvation during this life, has become a commonplace in the religious language of India.