The Eight-Fold Path
The Noble Eightfold Path is sometimes divided into three basic divisions, as follows:
This presentation is called the “Three Higher Trainings” in Mahayana Buddhism: higher moral discipline, higher concentration and higher wisdom. “Higher” here refers to the fact that these trainings that lead to liberation and enlightenment, are engaged in with the motivation of renunciation or bodhichitta
Division : Eightfold Path factors
Ethical Conducts …………….Right Action
Concentration ………………..Right Effort
Wisdom ……………………….. Right View
Eight Fold Paths:
Right Act: Refrain from actions that harms others, abstaining from, taking life, from stilling, and from illicit sex [or sexual misconduct]. This is called right action.
Right Speech: Abandoning false speech… He speaks the truth, holds to the truth, is firm, reliable, no deceiver of the world. Abandoning divisive speech… do not repeat or say things that cause animosity between two parties, 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 what is factual, speaks words that meaningful.
Right Livelihood: This means that practitioners ought not to engage in trades or occupations which, either directly or indirectly, result in harm for other living beings. In the Chinese and Pali Canon, it is explained thus:
And what is right livelihood? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones, having abandoned dishonest livelihood, keeps his life going with right livelihood: This is called right livelihood.
The five types of businesses that should not be undertaken:
- Business in weapons: trading any kind of weapons, and instruments for killing.
- Business in human beings: slave trading, prostitution, or the buying and selling of children or adults.
- 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.
Right Effort: Right effort , can also be translated as “right endeavor” or “right diligence”. In this factor, the practitioners should make a persisting effort to abandon all the wrong and harmful thoughts, words, and deeds. The practitioner should instead be persisting in giving rise to what would be good and useful to themselves and others in their thoughts, words, and deeds, without a thought for the difficulty or weariness involved. Right effort for a Buddhist, also meant diligent in study and practicing Buddha’s teachings.
Right Awareness: Right mindfulness, also translated as “right memory”, “right awareness” or “right attention”. Here, practitioners should constantly keep their minds alert to phenomena that affect the body and mind. They should be mindful and deliberate, making sure not to act or speak due to inattention or forgetfulness. This practice is a very effective method to achieve purification of body, speech and mind.
Right Concentration or Right meditation (samadhi), is the practice of concentration (Samadhi ). As such, the practitioner concentrates on an object of attention until reaching full concentration and a state of meditative absorption (jhana). Traditionally, the practice of samadhi can be developed through mindfulness of breathing through visual objects and through repetition of phrases (mantra). Samadhi is used to suppress the five hindrances in order to enter into jhana. Jhana is an instrument used for developing wisdom by cultivating insight and using it to examine true nature of phenomena with direct cognition. This leads to cutting off the defilements, realizing the dharma and, finally, self-awakening. During the practice of right concentration, the practitioner will need to investigate and verify their right view. In the process right knowledge will arise, followed by right liberation.
Right View: Right view , can also be translated as “right perspective”, “right outlook” or “right understanding”. And what is right view? Right understanding of the Four Noble Truth; knowledge with reference to suffering, knowledge with reference to the origination of suffering, knowledge with reference to the cessation of suffering, knowledge with reference to the way of practice leading to the cessation of suffering: This is called ” Right ”
It is the right way of looking at life, nature, and the world as they really are. It is to understand how reality works. It acts as the reasoning for someone to start practicing the path. It explains the reasons for human existence, suffering, sickness, aging, death, the existence of greed, hatred, and delusion. It gives direction and efficacy to the other seven path factors. Right view begins with concepts and propositional knowledge, but through the practice of right concentration, it gradually becomes transmuted into wisdom, which can eradicate the fetters of the mind. Understanding of right view will inspire the person to lead a virtuous life in line with right view.
Right Wisdom or Right intention ,can also be known as “right thought”, “right resolve”, “right conception”, “right aspiration” or “the exertion of our own will to change”. In this factor, the practitioner should constantly aspire to rid themselves of whatever qualities they know to be wrong and immoral. Correct understanding of right view will help the practitioner to discern the differences between right intention and wrong intention.