Wrote this elsewhere and thought I would post it here as well:
The Eightfold Path points out a number of "right" activities. But the
word "right" is sometimes translated as meaning "complete,"
"wholehearted" or something similar. There is a difference between a
"right" that brings with it a mirror image of "wrong" and a "right" that
is complete or thorough-going.
Right and wrong are where any sensible person begins. Socially
speaking, ethics are important. Actions have consequences. If you doubt
this, try robbing a bank or gob-smacking a cop. In general, it's a good
idea to think through the consequences of actions -- both for ourselves
and others. Spiritual persuasions are sometimes known for joining the
fray -- heaven for good little boys and girls and hell for the rest.
This is the world of right and wrong.
But rewards and punishments only reach so far. They may be good
training and good manners, but are they really "complete?" A complete
action has no edges. There is no "before" and no "after." There is
nothing else. For example, try "being a Buddhist" in the midst of
a sneeze. A sneeze is invariably complete and my view is that The
Eightfold Path points to a life that is complete in each moment ... not
because you'll get thrown in the slammer or ascend to some golden
throne, but rather because each moment is already complete and you might
as well get with life's program.
Just because each moment is already complete does not mean that
right and wrong can be set aside. There is a certain effort required to
actualizing what no one could ever escape. Any dimwit can say "every
moment is complete." The challenge is to prove it.