Eightfold Path. . .
The Buddha taught his followers that the end of suffering, as described in the fourth Noble Truths, could be achieved by following an Eightfold Path. The eightfold path, although referred to as steps on a path, is not meant as a sequential learning process, but as eight aspects of life, all of which are to be integrated in every day life. Thus the environment is created to move closer to the Buddhist path.
The eightfold path is at the heart of the middle way, which turns from extremes, and encourages us to seek the simple approach.
In no particular order, the Eightfold Path of Buddhism teaches the following ideals for ethical conduct, mental disciple and achieving wisdom:
- Right understanding (Samma ditthi)
- Right thought (Samma sankappa)
- Right speech (Samma vaca)
- Right action (Samma kammanta)
- Right livelihood (Samma ajiva)
- Right effort (Samma vayama)
- Right mindfulness (Samma sati)
- Right concentration (Samma samadhi)
No doubt all of you are aware of the moral codes in other religious groups such as Christianity, the Jews, and Muslims. While there is a degree of correspondence across these groups, the interpretation of the code in each philosophy is different. In the example of the Ten Commandments, there is an authoritarian feeling of decree, of a direct order that these be fulfilled. In Buddhism, the eightfold path is meant as a guideline, to be considered, to be contemplated, and to be taken on when, and only when each step is fully accepted as part of the life you seek. Buddhism never asks for blind faith, it seeks to promote learning and a process of self-discovery.
The meaning of Right has several aspects, and includes an ethical, and a balanced, or middle way. When things go “right”, we often experience a special feeling inside which confirms that this is the correct decision or action. “There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.” – The Buddha
Peace and Love, Jim