The Noble Eightfold Path
1.Right View (Wisdom) – This is to understand existence as it truly is, to realize the Four Noble Truths. Understand the impermanent nature of all things in life and the laws of karma. Understand that all sentient beings experience suffering the moment they are born. Since one’s views determine one’s actions, it is highly imperative to have the Right View in order to produce the desired results of the rest of the Noble Eightfold Path.
2.Right Intention (Wisdom) – Buddha refers to Right Intention on a more spiritual level rather than from a cognitive reasoning standpoint. Right Intention is to have purity of thought, that is, not to intend to cause harm to other sentient beings, not to desire to engage in harmful acts towards one-self or others. Right Intention also refers to having a purpose of creating goodwill and compassion towards other sentient beings.
3.Right Speech (Conduct) – As part of living by ethical and moral discipline, Buddha taught that Right Speech should be practiced at all times. Right Speech includes abstaining from the telling of deliberate lies, speaking maliciously towards or about others and engaging in useless, idle chatter that serves no purpose or worse, idle chatter that serves to cause harm to others in any way.
4.Right Action (Conduct) – This is often regarded as one of the most vital of the 8, governing all aspects related to the physical body. Buddha taught Right Action as abstaining from harming any sentient being including one-self (as in suicide); refrain from stealing others’ properties; refrain from all types of dishonest conduct; and abstain from sexual misconduct, particularly that may bring harm to others.
5.Right Livelihood (Conduct) – Simply to earn an honest living and amass wealth only by honest and legal means. Buddha specifically mentioned that livelihoods involving the dealing/selling of weapons, dealing in living beings (raising animals for slaughter, slave trade and prostitution) and dealing in intoxicating substances and poisons are strictly prohibited.
6.Right Effort (Development) – Right Effort is the root of much of the rest of the Eightfold Path since the will to act and create actions is a prerequisite to the actual decisions and actions themselves. Effort is defined as the mental and emotional energy behind wholesome and unwholesome behaviors. Right Effort is to prevent the arising of unwholesome states that have not yet risen; to abandon unwholesome states that have already risen; to nurture wholesome states that have not yet developed and finally, to sustain wholesome states that have developed.
7.Right Mindfulness (Development) – Buddha defines Right Mindfulness as the ability to see things clearly as they are. Sentient beings use a series of judgments and cognitive reasoning to string thoughts and analyze situations on a constant basis. Right Mindfulness is to digest information as it is inputted, process with clear mind, while all the time being aware of this thought process, the body’s reaction to the input of information, being aware of any emotions that arise and that the contemplation of all of the above is occurring.
8.Right Concentration (Development) – Buddha taught meditation in its varying stages to his followers and it is here that Right Concentration is developed. Right Concentration refers to the mind’s ability to focus on one object, being undeterred by passing thoughts, emotions or external conditions. Through meditation, Right Concentration is developed from a basic level of focus to profound levels of awareness and focus.