Last summer while on retreat at Spirit Rock with Ted, Guy Armstrong gave a lecture. I took notes. This page from that journal keeps arising in my mind:
It's not easy for us to so clearly understood that our ethical behavior leads to our happiness. It's more common for us to think that behaving ethically is about "being good" and "doing what we are supposed to do" and following the Golden Rule. External motivation. We seem to believe that succumbing to temptations can make us happy. Not so.
We don't necessarily understand that ethical behavior creates the conditions for sublime happiness. But that's exactly what ethical behavior does in fact do for us, and why we can aspire to have internal motivation to "do the right thing."
Ethical behavior helps us find the peace of mind that permits us to begin to refine our minds; our minds won't be occupied by regrets over our misdeeds.
Once we've achieved a refined mind, we have a chance to glimpse wisdom.