With Buddha Purnima nearing us once more, it is an
appropriate time for us to go through the invaluable teachings of Lord
Buddha - that show us the true way in life and provide the remedy to
cure all worldly sufferings. Let us introduce you to the "Eightfold
path" of Lord Buddha - the essence of his spiritual lessons. The "Noble
Eightfold Path" consists of precepts that one need to comply to gain
freedom from all sorrows and misery of human life. If you like reading
about the "Noble Eightfold Path" and want your dear ones to know about
it too, just click here and
refer this page to them. Say Buddham Sharanam Gacchami!
two thousand years ago, Lord Buddha came in our midst to show us the
light of wisdom. All his life, ever since he came to fathom the
hollowness of life, the noble prince tried to grasp the true purpose
of human birth and the object of the world. And when he saw the path
to eternal glory and realized that salvation should be the motto of
every living being, he tried to teach his fellow beings the right
way of living that alone can ensure the freedom of every human soul.
For generations to come, he left his invaluable precepts - known as
"the Noble Eightfold Path."
The "Eightfold Path" summarizes the teachings of Buddha and shows us
a way of life that one needs to follow to achieve the supreme state
of being. That the human life is full of strife and suffering is not
unknown to anyone of us. According to Lord Buddha, all our sorrows
stem from the desires inherent in us. It is only through the removal
of desires and attachments from the mind that one can free himself
from worldly bondages and gain his liberation. The "Eightfold Path"
of Lord Buddha is a way of life that consists of eight rules. It is
a practical guideline that brings about the ethical, mental and
spiritual development of a person and frees him from attachments and
delusions, and thereby, prepares him for the path of self-knowledge.
Lord Buddha believed that it was only by following these eight codes
of conduct that man can gradually come to realize his true blissful
self that always seeks oneness with the supreme entity.
The eight precepts that the noble "Eightfold Path" consists of are:
Right View - It consists of being fully aware of the truth of
life, to see and to understand things as they really are and feel
the impermanence and imperfection of every aspect of the world. It
begins with the intuitive insight that all beings are subject to
suffering and it ends with complete understanding of the true nature
of everything. As most of our thoughts and our actions are
influenced by our view of the world, right view is what is said to
yield right thoughts and right actions in us.
Right Intention - Right Intention simply means the motive or
mental energy that controls our actions. Improving oneself mentally
and spiritually is not enough; more important is to remain committed
to the spirit of self-improvement. According to Lord Buddha, there
are three types of right intentions:
(a) Intention of Renunciation - This means the resistive power of
the mind to the pull of desire.
(b) Intention of Good will - It implies the resistance of the mind
to feelings of anger and aversion.
(c) Intention of Harmlessness - This signifies the mental attitude
of compassion sans all thoughts of cruelty, violence, anger or
Right Speech - It is the first ethical code of the Eightfold
Path. Lord Buddha placed great importance on the power of speech.
Words can make or break lives, attract or alienate people, create
peace or give rise to war. So his advice to mankind was:
(a) Abstain from false speech - He advised against lying
deliberately and speaking in a deceitful manner.
(b) Abstain from slanderous speech - He advised against using
malicious words against others.
(c) Abstain from harsh words - Words that offend or hurt others are
not to be used.
(d) Abstain from idle talks - Loose talks and idle chatter, that
lack any purpose or depth, are to be done away with.
Right Action - The second most important precept of the
"Eightfold Path", this consists of controlling the bodily actions.
While good actions lead to mental harmony, bad actions do just the
opposite. Right action implies following the good codes of conduct
and abstaining oneself from all unwholesome deeds. Lord Buddha
further clarified this precept as
(a) Abstaining oneself from harming or killing others and doing
intentional harm to others.
(b) Abstaining oneself from stealing, robbery, fraud, deceitfulness
(c) Abstaining oneself from sexual misconduct.
Right Livelihood - This precept of the "Eightfold Path" indicates
that one should earn one's living in an honest manner and gain
wealth through sound means. Lord Buddha advised people against
taking up such professions that requires one to
(a) Deal in weapons - Buy or sell weapons that are used to harm
(b) Trade in living beings - This involves slave trade and
prostitution as well as raising animals for slaughter.
(c) Working in meat production and butchery - This demands killing
living beings and trading their meat.
(d) Selling intoxicants and poisons - Trading such goods as alcohol
and drugs, that are detrimental to human health, are to be avoided.
Right Effort - This is seen as a prerequisite for the other
precepts of the "Eightfold Path". Without proper effort channelized
in a wholesome direction, no sound gain can be achieved. Right
Effort is further divided into four types of endeavors:
(a) Effort to prevent the arising of unwholesome states yet not
(b) Effort to abandon unwholesome states that have already arisen.
(c) Effort to arouse wholesome states that have not yet arisen.
(d) Effort to maintain and better wholesome states already arisen to
Right Mindfulness - It is described as the mental ability to see
things as they are, with clear consciousness. In other words, it is
actually the clearness of perception that enables us to be aware of
our thoughts and control the way they develop. According to Lord
Buddha, Right mindfulness depends on four factors:
1. An intent observation and consideration of the body,
2. An intent observation and consideration of feeling (repulsive,
attractive, or neutral),
3. An intent observation and consideration of the state of mind, and
4. An intent observation and consideration of the phenomena.
Right Concentration - The eighth and last principle of the
"Eightfold Path", it refers to the development of concentration that
assists one in spiritual quest. Concentration is the mental force
that enables one to focus his mind on one particular object. In this
state, all mental faculties are unified and centred in a single
direction. Concentration is present in every human being, albeit at
a relatively low level of intensity. The mind of most persons wander
in different directions and focus on thoughts and actions that are
wholesome as well as unwholesome. Right concentration implies
focusing the mind only on wholesome thoughts and actions and is one
of the most important assets required for spiritual development.
Buddhists prefer to develop right concentration through the practice