kusala: - good, skillful, beneficial (in long terms) actions (by thought, words, physical deeds) in the sphere of puñña-kiriya-vatthu (base of merits).
by late Ven. Nyanatiloka Thera:
➥ kusala: 'kammically wholesome' or 'profitable', salutary, morally good, (skillful) Connotations of the term, according to Commentary (Aṭṭhasālinī), are: of good health, blameless, productive of favourable kamma-result, skillful. It should be noted that Commentary excludes the meaning 'skillful', when the term is applied to states of consciousness.
It is defined in MN 9 as the 10 wholesome courses of action (see kammapatha). In psychological terms, 'kammically wholesome' are all those kammical volitions (kamma-cetanā) and the consciousness and mental factors associated therewith, which are accompanied by 2 or 3 wholesome roots (see mūla), i.e. by greedlessness (alobha) and hatelessness (adosa), and in some cases also by non-delusion (amoha: wisdom, understanding). Such states of consciousness are regarded as 'kammically wholesome' as they are causes of favourable kamma results and contain the seeds of a happy destiny or rebirth. From this explanation, two facts should be noted: (1) it is volition that makes a state of consciousness, or an act, 'good' or 'bad'; (2) the moral criterion in Buddhism is the presence or absence of the 3 wholesome or moral roots (see mūla).
The above explanations refer to mundane (see lokiya) wholesome consciousness. Supermundane wholesome (lokuttara-kusala) states, i.e. the four paths of sanctity (see ariyapuggala), have as results only the corresponding four fruitions; they do not constitute kamma, nor do they lead to rebirth, and this applies also to the good actions of an Arahat (Table I, 73-80) and his meditative states (Table I, 81-89), which are all kammically inoperative (functional; see kiriya).
Kusala belongs to a threefold division of all consciousness, as found in the Abhidhamma (Dhammasaṅgaṇi), into wholesome (kusala), unwholesome (akusala) and kammically neutral (avyākata), which is the first of the triads (tika) in the Abhidhamma schedule (mātikā); see F. Guide, pp. 4ff., 12ff; Visuddhi Magga XIV, 83ff.
by the Pali Text Society:
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by Ven. Thanissaro Maha Thera:
Suttas and Dhammadesanā