The Eightfold Path
Noble Eightfold Path, discovered by the Buddha Himself, is the only way
to Nirvana. It avoids the extreme of self-torture that weakens one's
intellect and the extreme of self-indulgence that retards one's
It consists of the following eight factors:
- Right Understanding
- Right Thoughts
- Right Speech
- Right Action
- Right Livelihood
- Right Effort
- Right Mindfulness
- Right Concentration
1. Right Understanding is the knowledge of the Four Noble Truths. In other words, it is the understanding of oneself as one really is.
The keynote of Buddhism is this Right Understanding. Buddhism, as much , is based on knowledge and not on unreasonable belief.
2. Right Thoughts are threefold. They are:
- The thoughts of renunciation which are opposed to sense-pleasures.
- Kind Thoughts which are opposed to ill-will.
- Thoughts of harmlessness which are opposed to cruelty. These tend to purify the mind.
3. Right Speech deals with refraining from falsehood, stealing, slandering, harsh words and frivolous talks
4. Right Action
deals with refraining from killing, stealing and unchastity. It helps
one to develop a character that is self-controlled and mindful of right
5. Right Livelihood deals with the five kinds of trades which should be avoided by a lay disciple. They are:
- a) trade in deadly weapons
- b) trade in animals for slaughter
- c) trade in slavery
- d)trade in intoxicants
- e)trade in poisons
Right Livelihood means earring one's living in a way that is not harmful to others.
6. Right Effort is fourfold, namely:
- (a) the endeavor to discard evil that has already arisen.
- (b)the endeavor to prevent the arising of unrisen evil.
- (c)the endeavour to develop that good which has already arisen.
- (d)the endeavour to promote that good which has not already arisen.
is needed to cultivate Good Conduct or develop one's mind, because one
is often distracted or tempted to take the easy way out of things. The
Buddha teaches that attaining happiness and Enlightenment depends upon
one's own efforts. Effort is the root of all achievement. If one wants
to get to the top of a mountain, just sitting at the foot thinking
about it will not bring one there. It is by making the effort of
climbing up the mountain, step by step, that one eventually reaches the
summit. Thus, no matter how great the Buddha's achievement may be, or
how excellent His Teaching is, one must put the Teaching into practice
before one can expect to obtain the desired result.
7. Right Mindfulness is also fourfold:
- mindfulness with regard to body
- mindfulness with regard to feeling
- mindfulness with regard to mind
- mindfulness with regard to mental objects.
Right Mindfulness is the awareness of one's deeds, words and thoughts.
8. Right Meditation
means the gradual process of training the mind to focus on a single
object and to remain fixed upon the object without wavering. The
constant practice of meditation helps one to develop a clam and
concentrated mind and help to prepare one for the attainment of Wisdom
and Enlightenment ultimately.