Indeed, Buddhism treats the principle of right and wrong most meticulously and most comprehensively. One may do good deeds in either positive or negative way, and good deeds may be either producing good karma or entirely free from karma. If one practises good deeds actively and energetically, this is said to be working in the positive way, and if one refrains from doing evils, this is said to be doing good in the negative way; good deeds that are productive of good karma are not all free from defilements and may be subject to further changes, but good deeds that are karma-free are undefiled pure and unconditioned. Being unable to discern clearly what is right and what is wrong, people generally would say: Ill do what is right as prompted by my clear conscience. In my life Ive never done any evil. This, however, is no assurance at all that one may not go wrong, in view of the fact that every day, every minute, one may be subjected to the impact of stupidity, egoism, arrogance, craving, etc in every act of his daily life, and so he is sowing numerous seeds of bad karma continually and incessantly. Moreover, the so-called conscience is no other than the six discriminating Consciousnesses, which, as described in the Sutra, are the six thieves in ones own house. This is how unconsciously, one goes wrong easily from day to day, or from moment to moment. In order to do the good and not the evil, the first and foremost thing is to realize the true meaning of good and evil before one chooses what to do, and in order to discern the good and the evil correctly, it is necessary to have good understanding of the fundamental truth of Equality. From the standpoint of Buddhism, true Equality is where the sentient beings art at parity with one another, where there is neither a subject nor an object of parity, nor any distinction between Ego-personality and other-personality. In delusion, sentient beings, however, make discrimination of subject and object, the ego and others; from egoism arise arrogance, pride and self-conceit, and for themselves, they would grab everything, by hook or by crook. This is the fundamental reason why the Ten Demeritorious Deeds (greed, hatred, stupidity, killing, stealing, debauchery, gossip, slander, lying, frivolous talk) and erroneous views crop up in the world so abundantly. IN short, as long as there is egoism, regardless whatever one may do for oneself or for others, all thoughts and behavior corresponding to it would be bad karma automatically; on the other hand, if one is free of egoism, invariable every deed would be good karma. All this shows that in defining and distinguishing right and wrong, Buddhism tackles the question fundamentally at its very root. However, in view of the numerous bad karma of sentient beings accumulated from beginningless time, Buddha has set up various expedient means of cultivation to help all of them at different levels of development to attain gradually the goal of self-enlightenment. On the other hand, other religions, ignorant of the fundamental truth of universal equality of all sentient beings, not only look upon killing living creatures with immunity but also with approval on the ground that though animals have life, they have no consciousness at all and furthermore, they are made by the Creator for human food; positively such heretical views are in striking contrast with the Buddhist principle of Universal Equality of sentient beings. Whereas monotheistic and polytheistic religions, by the imposition of reward and punishment, ask people to believe in God or gods, e.g. believers would go to Paradise and non-believers to hell, Buddhism says that because Buddha-nature is immanent in everyone, fundamentally Buddha and sentient beings are at parity with each other. From this standpoint of Buddhism, to believe in God or any deity to be higher than sentient beings runs counter to the Principle of Universal Equality.
As to the question of establishing criteria to determine right and wrong, instead of stressing on the act, as conventional practices usually do, Buddhism probes into the motive of the act. In the view of Buddhism, scolding and hitting others may not be a bad thing at all if it is done for their benefit, and paying compliments and respects to others may be insincere and wrongful if it is done for an ulterior motive; for one practising Bodhisattva discipline rules, it may not be wrong to kill or to steal, provided that this is done entirely for others benefit. To illustrate, if an avaricious and chauvinistic despot, who has caused the loss of innumerable lives and properties of his people, is killed by a Buddhist undergoing Bodhisattva discipline, this is considered not only justifiable and noble, but also highly meritorious. In view of this, we can see what a Positive and Rational religion Buddhism is.