The Eightfold Path
The Noble Eightfold Path was taught by the Buddha to end reincarnation, the painful cycle of rebirth. Buddha taught that by following the Eightfold Path one will attain Nirvana, and bring an end to their cycle of rebirth, and suffering.
The Eightfold Path is represented by an eight spoke dharma wheel, with each spoke being one of the paths to enlightenment, and attached to a wheel to teach us how they are all connected, and work together to help us achieve Nirvana.
The Eightfold Path also known as the Middle way is the path to enlightenment that leads to Nirvana. The one who is enlightened lets go of attachment, cravings, and negative thoughts and actions. Through meditation, one who is enlightened, and practices discipline, and mindfulness will surely embrace nirvana.
The Eightfold Paths are as follows.
What is Right?
The Buddha taught that which is proper, morally good, honest, and honorable is Right.
The Eightfold Path that was envisioned by the Buddha is divided into three different categories. These categories as taught by the Buddha are.
3. Discipline through meditation
The first category is Wisdom. The paths of Right Understanding, and Right Intention both fall into the category of wisdom.
The second category is Morals. The paths of Right Speech, Right Action, and Right Livelihood all fall under the morals category.
The third, and final category is that of Discipline through Meditation. The paths of Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration all fall under this final category.
Let’s delve into the Eightfold Path a little more deeply. (It should be noted that these eight paths are not meant to be practiced in numerical order, but concurrently to one another.)
The path of Right Understanding, or Right View.
This challenging step on the path refers to seeing things as they truly are, and not as we would like them to be, or imagine them to be.
Right Understanding involves knowing that there are consequences for our actions, not only in this lifetime, but in our next lifetime as well. The understanding that all of our actions, words, and even our thoughts have karmic consequences for us, both good, and bad. This karmic debt must be accounted for, and influences the future life, and rebirths a person enters into.
The person who continues to think, act, and speak negatively, and hatefully will continue to have negative karmic debt to pay for as long as they allow that hate, and negativity to consume them. The negative person will continue to suffer through an endless cycle of rebirths. The Four Noble Truths teaches there is a way to end this suffering.
The path of Right Intention.
This path is also known as “Right Resolve”, and “Right Thought”
Right Intention falls between Right Understanding, and Right Speech.
Our thoughts, and intentions must be directed in a positive manner, to avoid creating more suffering. If our intentions are negative, and we act on our hate, or out of anger, our actions, and words are more likely to harm, and cause suffering for others, and through the law of karma, bring more suffering for ourselves as well. We must be mindful of our true intentions before we speak act, or even think in a negative hurtful way. Our thoughts become things, and manifest into reality, we must be careful to choose our thoughts wisely.
The Buddha taught Right Intention as having three parts; the intention of good will, the intention of harmlessness, and the intention of renunciation.
The path of Right Speech.
Right Speech is refraining from lying, speaking negatively, or using your words to hurt others.
Buddha taught the importance of speaking only that which is true, and beneficial. Cruel words that are offensive, and harmful must be avoided. Buddha also taught that gossip, and idle chatter should also be avoided.
Giving compliments, and encouragement to others to uplift their state of mind to one of happiness, and positivity is Right Speech.
The path of Right Action.
Right Action refers to doing that which is right, and helpful. Abstaining from stealing that which is not yours, sexual misconduct, and harming or killing, not only other human beings, but all animals as well.
Right Action is a respect for all living things this includes humans, animals, birds, insects, and even the worms. Do no harm with your actions.
The path of Right Livelihood.
Right livelihood refers to earning your living by doing that which is helpful, and makes a positive difference in your community, and the world around you. Right Livelihood means earning an honest living, and not cheating, harming, or taking advantage of another for your own gain.
Service to others is an important part of Right Livelihood, not only helping people in your work, but using your earnings to make merit, and help others as well.
The path of Right Effort.
Right Effort means moving forward in your growth with devotion, and a positive attitude. It means taking action to make positive changes, not just thinking about what you need to accomplish, but making an effort to accomplish your goals as well.
The path of Right Mindfulness.
Right Mindfulness means being aware of the present, and focusing our attention on what we are currently doing. Right Mindfulness is being aware of the world around you, but being able to direct your attention only on your current activity.
The path of Right Concentration.
Right concentration, also known as right meditation involves focusing your thoughts not only on that which is positive, but focusing your thoughts completely on something with complete awareness on that which is being focused on.
Right Concentration involves meditation to train oneself to focus their attention on one thing, and letting go of any other thoughts that enter their mind. It is focusing your attention in the present moment only.
Focusing on the past leads to depression, focusing on the future bring anxiety. Focusing on the present brings calm, and peace to one’s life, and brings one closer to Embracing Nirvana.