“And what is right action? Abstaining from taking life, abstaining from stealing, abstaining from unchastity. This is called right action.” - SN XLV 8
Right Action is to abstain from killing, stealing and unlawful sexual intercourse.
The practitioner of Right Action abstains from the killing of living beings. He does not carry a stick or a sword. He is conscientious and full of sympathy. He has concern for the welfare of all living beings.
He does not steal. He does not take what belongs to another person, either in the village or in the woods with an intention to steal.
He abstains from unlawful sexual intercourse. He does not indulge in sexual intercourse with persons who are still under the protection of father, mother, brother, sister or relatives, nor with married women, nor female convicts, nor, with girls who are betrothed.
1. The Mundane Right Action: which is to refrain from killing, stealing, and unlawful sexual intercourse. This leads to worldly gains and good results.
2. The Ultra Mundane Right Action: which is to refrain from the three fold wrong actions at the mental level, keeping the mind holy, to remain other worldly and pursue the holy path in conjunction with the eight fold path. This path is not of this world but of the ultramundane.
“And how is right view the forerunner? One discerns wrong action as wrong action, and right action as right action. And what is wrong action? Killing, taking what is not given, illicit sex. This is wrong action…
“One tries to abandon wrong action & to enter into right action: This is one’s right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong action & to enter & remain in right action: This is one’s right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities — right view, right effort, & right mindfulness — run & circle around right action.” — MN 117