the Four Noble Truth & the Eightfold Path


Buddha is perhaps one of the wisest men that has lived on earth.

"I teach suffering, its origin, cessation and path. That's all I teach", declared the Buddha 2500 years ago.

A few thousand years ago, Buddha devised a system to help relieve people from suffering. The system is known as the Eightfold Path. It is also called the Middle Path or the Middle Way, is a system designed to achieve spiritual enlightenment and cease suffering.

It is simple, direct and profound all at the same time.

The Eightfold Path

1) Right view “right understanding”

This is the right way of looking at life, nature, and the world as they are - not as we want them to be.

This is embracing reality. It means understanding that the Four Noble Truths are noble and true. The Four Noble Truths are the truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the end of suffering, and the truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering.

It explains the reasons for life existence, suffering, sickness, aging, death, the existence of greed, hatred, and delusion.

It gives direction and efficacy to the other seven path factors.

2) Right intention

Determining and resolving to practice Buddhist faith.

The practitioner should constantly aspire to rid themselves of whatever qualities they know to be wrong and immoral.

These are:

  1. intention of giving up satisfying sensory organs.

  2. the intention of all living beings’ happiness.

  3. The intention of avoiding/harming all living beings.

3) Right Speech

Right speech deals with the way in which Buddhist practitioner would best make use of their words.

What is right speech?

Abandoning false speech -

He speaks the truth, holds the truth, firm, reliable, not a deceiver of the world…

Abandoning divisive speech -

What he has heard here he does not tell there to hurt others.

Abandoning abusive speech -

He speaks words that are soothing to the ear, that are affectionate, that go to the heart, that are polite, appealing, and pleasing to people at large…

Abandoning idle chatter -

He speaks in season, speaks on what is factual.

4) Right action

Right action can also be translated as “right conduct”.

The practitioner trains himself to be morally upright in activities, not acting in ways that would be corrupt or bring harm to himself or to others.

And what is right action?

Abstaining from:

  • Taking life

  • Stealing

  • Illicit sex

5) Right livelihood

This means that practitioners shouldn’t engage in trades or occupations which, either directly or indirectly, result in harm for other living beings.

These five types of businesses should be avoided:

Business in weapons - trading in all kinds of weapons and instruments for killing.

Business in beings - slave trading, prostitution, or the buying and selling of children or adults and animals.

Business in meat - “meat” refers to the bodies of beings after they are killed. This includes breeding animals for slaughter.

Business in intoxicants - manufacturing or selling intoxicating drinks or addictive drugs.

Business in poison - producing or trading in any kind of poison or a toxic product designed to kill.

6) Right effort

The practitioners should make a persisting effort to abandon all the wrong and harmful thoughts, words and deeds.

Instead, they should be persisting in giving rise to what would be good and useful to themselves and others in their thoughts, words and deeds.

Prevent the unwholesome that has not yet arisen in oneself.

Let go of the unwholesome that has arisen in oneself.

Bring up the wholesome that has not yet arisen in oneself.

Maintain the wholesome that has arisen in oneself.

7) Right mindfulness (Satipattana)

Here, practitioners should constantly keep their minds alert to phenomena that affect the body and mind.

They should be mindful and deliberate.

What is right mindfulness?

Focused on the body in and of itself - aware, and mindful - putting away greed and distress with reference to the world.

Focused on feelings in and of themselves - aware, and mindful - putting away greed and distress with reference to the world.

Focused on mental qualities in and of themselves - aware, and mindful - putting away greed and distress with reference to the world.

8) Right concentration (Meditation)

This is probably the most important rule!

Using meditation to reach the highest level of enlightenment.

The practice of concentration, also known as right meditation…

The practitioner concentrates on an object of attention until reaching full concentration and a state of meditative absorption.

From this, the practice of samadhi can be developed. This leads to self-awakening, enlightenment, Samadhi, Satori or Moksha.

Anjali LoveComment