Introduction to The Eightfold Path. The Eightfold Path is a complete path that leads to victory over suffering. This path consists of steps that are dependent on and related to one other. There are eight steps that are classified into three sections of practice which are morality, mental development and wisdom.
Introduction to The Eightfold Path
The Eightfold Path includes Right Understanding, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration. The first two paths come under the stream of wisdom. The next three are a part of morality while the remaining three result in mental development. The eightfold path aims at treating the body as well as the mind. The physical being has to be purified first so that purification of the minds will follow. One has to purify one’s mind in order to make it easy for one to have right understanding. The first couple of paths, Right Thought and Right Understanding imply use of the mind.
With the help of these two paths, one can eliminate aversion, attachment and ignorance. Morality is emphasized in certain cases as it is easy to understand. It is also the foundation of all attributes that are positive. Faith is considered the beginning in Buddhism. The core of the religion is wisdom. It involves understanding the teachings of the Buddha correctly. One can achieve this goal when one is able to transform one’s knowledge of the religion from learning from a book to living it actually. One is able to attain this by cultivating good conduct and later through the cultivation of proper development of the mind.
The two steps of the Eightfold Path are included in the section of wisdom which is right understanding. It implies viewing things the way they actually are. One can acquire this kind of understanding through study and observation, examining the observations and meditating on the examinations. Right Thought implies avoiding aversion and attachments. Our thoughts influence our behavior immensely. According to Buddha, one has to speak and act by keeping one’s mind pure as happiness is bound to follow just the way our shadows follow us. Positive qualities are based on good conduct.
Three paths of the Eightfold Path are covered by morality. Speech is a potent mechanism that is underestimated often. Right Speech implies using and controlling speech in ways that will benefit one by respecting truth as well as others’ well being. It also means avoiding idle talks, harsh speech, slandering and lying. Right Action implies respect for personal relationships, properties and lives. It involves avoiding sexual misconduct, robbing, stealing and killing.
Right Livelihood plays an important role in living by not violating basic values of morality and harming others. One should avoid intoxicants, poisons, arms, slaves and animals for slaughter as the way of earning one’s likelihood. According to the Buddha, the mind creates all things. It changes the nature of experiences. Right Effort implies cultivation of a suitable phase of motivation when one is in pursuit of Dharma. Right Mindfulness implies watching the mind and body and being aware of one’s actions. Right Concentration implies single-minded focus on a particular object.