WHAT IS THE NOBLE EIGHTFOLD PATH OF BUDDHISM?
THE MEANING OF THE NOBLE EIGHTFOLD PATH;-
1-The eightfold path, although referred to as steps on a path, is not meant as a sequential learning process, but as eight aspects of life, all of which are to be integrated in every day life. Thus the environment is created to move closer to the Buddhist path.
2-The eightfold path is at the heart of the middle way, which turns from extremes, and encourages us to seek the simple approach.The eightfold path is Right Understanding, Right Intent, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration.
3-No doubt all of us are aware of the moral codes in other religious groups .In Buddhism, the eightfold path is meant as a guideline, to be considered, to be contemplated, and to be taken on when, and only when each step is fully accepted as part of the life you seek. Buddhism never asks for blind faith, it seeks to promote learning and a process of self-discovery.
4-The Buddha’s practical instructions to reach the end of suffering
Within the fourth noble truth is found the guide to the end of suffering: the noble eightfold path. The eight parts of the path to liberation are grouped into three essential elements of Buddhist practice—moral conduct, mental discipline, and wisdom.
5-The Buddha taught the eightfold path in virtually all his discourses, and his directions are as clear and practical to his followers today as they were when he first gave them.
THE NOBLE EIGHTFOLD PATH;-
Right understanding (Samma ditthi)
Right thought (Samma sankappa)
Right speech (Samma vaca)
Right action (Samma kammanta)
Right livelihood (Samma ajiva)
Right effort (Samma vayama)
Right mindfulness (Samma sati)
Right concentration (Samma samadhi)
DESCRIPTION OF THE NOBLE EIGHTFOLD PATH;-
1-Practically the whole teaching of the Buddha, to which he devoted himself during 45 years, deals in some way or other with this path. He explained it in different ways and in different words to different people, according to the stage of their development and their capacity to understand and follow him. But the essence of those many thousand discourses scattered in the Buddhist scriptures is found in the noble eightfold path.
2-It should not be thought that the eight categories or divisions of the path should be followed and practiced one after the other in the numerical order as given in the usual list above. But they are to be developed more or less simultaneously, as far as possible according to the capacity of each individual. They are all linked together and each helps the cultivation of the others.
3-These eight factors aim at promoting and perfecting the three essentials of Buddhist training and discipline: namely:
(1) ethical conduct (sila),
(2) mental discipline (samadhi)
(3) wisdom (panna)
4-It will therefore be more helpful for a coherent and better understanding of the eight divisions of the path if we group them and explain them according to these three heads.
1-ETHICAL CONDUCT ;-
1-Ethical conduct (sila) is built on the vast conception of universal love and compassion for all living beings, on which the Buddha’s teaching is based. It is regrettable that many scholars forget this great ideal of the Buddha’s teaching, and indulge in only dry philosophical and metaphysical divagations( to wander)when they talk and write about Buddhism. The Buddha gave his teaching “for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world.”
2-According to Buddhism, for a man to be perfect there are two qualities that he should develop equally: compassion (karuna) on one side, and wisdom (panna) on the other.
3-Here compassion represents love, charity, kindness, tolerance, and such noble qualities on the emotional side, or qualities of the heart, while wisdom would stand for the intellectual side or the qualities of the mind. 4-If one develops only the emotional, neglecting the intellectual, one may become a good-hearted fool; while to develop only the intellectual side and neglecting the emotional may turn one into a hard-hearted intellect without feeling for others.
5-Therefore, to be perfect one has to develop both equally. That is the aim of the Buddhist way of life: in it wisdom and compassion are inseparably linked together, as we shall see later.
6-Now, in ethical conduct (sila), based on love and compassion, are included three factors of the noble eightfold path: namely, right speech, right action, and right livelihood.
A-RIGHT SPEECH ;-
1-Right speech means abstention..
(1) from telling lies,
(2) from backbiting and slander and talk that may bring about hatred, enmity, disunity, and disharmony among individuals or groups of people, (3) from harsh, rude, impolite, malicious, and abusive language
(4) from idle, useless, and foolish