“One would not do even the slightest thing
That others who are wise would speak against.
May they be secure and profoundly well;
—May all beings be happy in themselves.” Metta Sutta, Verse 3
“Buddhist ethics are not about absolutes, and do not articulate a “right” and a “wrong” way of acting in the world. Rather they speak of cause and effect, seed and fruit, action and consequence. If you behave in wholesome and healthy ways, there are likely to be wholesome and healthy results, while the reverse is also true.” Quote and translation by Andrew Olendzki in Insight Journal
This is part of what I love about Buddhism: it focuses on results, not commands from on high. You may or may not know what is “right” in a given situation, but you know that some actions are obviously more skillful than others. When moral imperatives clash, sometimes you are only choosing the least unskillful action with the least objectionable outcome.
I have actually read articles from Christian authors denigrating young people’s emphasis on what works. They think you should do what’s “right” according to their dogma, which is their Truth (with a capital “t”). I laugh because they don’t get the fact that they are taking a hardline stance against what works. Good luck with that! They can play Cardinal Bellarmine to my Galileo.
There is also an emphasis on abandoning the unwholesome. I love that. Don’t fight evil. Leave it where you find it and refuse any association with it whatsoever. This is the drama-free approach to improving one’s life.