Ethical conduct is pure and blameless physical and verbal conduct. Based on personal integrity and consideration for others, it is restraint from destructive actions and engagement in beneficial actions.
Contemplating the benefits of ethical conduct encourages us to practice it. It cools the fires of anger and greed, prepares the mind to attain higher states of meditative absorption, is the path leading to the awakenings of all three vehicles, and brings about the fulfillment of our wishes.
Abiding in ethical conduct prevents guilt, remorse, and anxiety. It averts fear and reproach from others and is the basis for rejoicing in our own merit and goodness. It is a contribution to world peace, for others feel safe around a person who abandons even the wish to harm others.
Good ethical conduct cannot be stolen by thieves or embezzled by manipulators; it is the basis for having a fortunate rebirth that enables us to continue practicing the Dharma. Restraint from destructive actions is the best protection from being harmed ourselves; it is more effective than thousands of warheads and the best bodyguards.
While ethical conduct governs actions of body and speech, it gives sovereignty over our mind. It is said that those with pure ethical conduct exude the “fragrance of virtue,” which makes them more attractive to others, and thus more effective in benefitting them, than any perfume.