Kamma-patha: 'course of action', is a name for the group of 10 kinds of either disadvantageous or advantageous actions, viz.

I. The tenfold disadvantageous courses of action akusala-kamma-patha

  • 3 bodily actions: 1: killing, 2: stealing, 3: unlawful sexual intercourse;
  • 4 verbal actions: 4: lying, 5: slandering, 6: rude speech, 7: gossip;
  • 3 mental actions: 8: covetousness, 9: ill-will, 10: wrong views.

Unadvantageous mental courses of action comprise only extreme forms of defiled thought: the greedy wish to appropriate others' property, the hateful thought of harming others, and pernicious views. Milder forms of mental defilement are also disadvantageous, but do not constitute 'courses of action'.

II. The tenfold advantageous course of action kusala-kamma-patha

  • 3 bodily actions: 1: avoidance of killing, 2: not stealing, 3: no adultery
  • 4 verbal actions: 4: avoidance of lying, 5: slandering, 6: rude speech, 7: gossip;
  • 3 mental actions: 8: unselfishness, 9: good-will, 10: right views.

Both lists occur repeatedly, e.g. in A. X, 28, 176; M. 9; they are explained in detail in M. 114.


Maha Thera Nyanatiloka. Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines, Buddhist Publication Society, first edition 1952.

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