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karmapatha (P. kammapatha; T. las kyi lam; C. yedao 業道). Literally, "course of action," refers to the ten wholesome and ten unwholesome actions (karma), which lead to favorable or unfavorable rebirth, respectively. A favorable birth is considered to be rebirth as a human (manuṣya) or deva; an unfavorable birth is a rebirth as an animal, preta or hell being.[1]

Ten unwholesome actions

Khenpo Kunpal states:

There is no end or limit to negative actions, but in terms of how they are accumulated they can all be condensed into three that are physical acts, [four that are verbal acts, and three mental acts,] making ten in all.[2]

The ten unwholesome actions are:[1][3]

Ten wholesome actions

The ten courses of wholesome action are the opposites of ten unwholesome actions:

Though the seven cases of abstinence are exercised entirely by the mind and do not necessarily entail overt action, they are still designated wholesome bodily and verbal action because they center on the control of the faculties of body and speech.[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Robert E. Buswell Jr., Donald S. Lopez Jr., The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism (Princeton: 2014), s.v. karmapatha
  2. Pelzang, Khenpo Ngawang. A Guide to "The Words of My Perfect Teacher". Shambhala Publications. Kindle Edition.
  3. Internet-icon.svg མི་དགེ་བ་བཅུ་, Christian-Steinert Dictionary
  4. The Noble Eightfold Path by Bhikkhu Bodhi