Explaining Buddhist Thought - The Eightfold Path
The Eightfold Path is another invaluable teaching of Buddhism and explains the way to achieve a state of non-attachment and escape suffering.
The path is broken down into eight factors, which are separated into three divisions:
1. Right view
2. Right intention
II. Ethical Conduct
3. Right speech
4. Right action
5. Right livelihood
6. Right effort
7. Right mindfulness
8. Right concentration
It's important to understand that the Eightfold Path is not an eight-step program. The eight parts of the path are not steps to be mastered one at a time. They are to be practiced all together, and each part of the path supports every other part of the path.
1. Right view - This is also known as "right understanding" and refers to gaining an understand of how the world truly is and not living with any delusions.
The purpose of right view is clearing one's path of the confusion, misunderstanding, and delusion. It is a means to achieve correct understanding of reality. Right view should be held with a flexible, open mind.
2. Right intention - This can be called "right thought" as well. In this step, you should constantly aspire to rid yourself of whatever qualities are wrong and immoral. It means having good will and a commitment to the spiritual path.
3. Right speech - This is related to practitioners using their speech in the best way. It is described as "abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, and from idle chatter."
4. Right action - Practitioners should be acting, or conducting themselves, in a moral way. Their actions should come from good will and should not harm others in any way.
5. Right livelihood - This is the factor that deals with fitting Buddhism into daily life. One can be a Buddhist while still being a businessman, teacher, etc
6. Right effort - Along with the Ethical Conduct section of the Eightfold Path, Right Effort deals with action. Putting the right amount, and right kind, of effort into living a moral life. One should devote time to cultivating good qualities and ridding yourself of immoral ones.
7. Right mindfulness - Mindfulness is whole awareness of the present. To be mindful is to be not lost in daydreams, desires, or worry. The way we reach enlightenment is through direct experience. It is with mindfulness that we experience directly.
8. Right concentration - Right Concentration is most often associated with meditation. It is focusing all of one's mental power onto one physical or mental object. Controlling the brain is just as important as controlling your daily life and physical body.
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