The Eight Noble Paths of Buddhism•
Posted on April 04 2023
The Noble Eightfold Path is a set of eight practices followed by Gautam Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. These practices entail the steps to be followed for the attainment of nirvana or salvation from the painful rebirth cycle known as samsara. The eight practices are grouped into three key elements comprising wisdom, mental discipline and moral conduct.
This article aims at listing out the eight steps or parts highlighted in the Noble Eightfold Path.
- Right View or Right Understanding – Samma Dithi
The Right View or Understanding step aims at developing a correct understanding of reality. It gives a right understanding of how suffering and reality are interrelated. This step helps to keep one’s path free of deluded thinking, misunderstanding and confusion.
- Right Resolve or Right Thought – Samma Samkalpa
The Right Resolve or Thought step is centred around developing the right aspiration or right motivation. It is focused on making an individual to aspire to act with right intention without causing any harm. A person who practises this step resolves to give up worldly pleasures in his/her life and considers everyone and everything in this life as impermanent.
- Right Speech – Samma Vaca
The Right Speech step focuses on helping an individual stay away abusive and divisive speech. It also guides him/her in abstaining from lying and unwanted speech like idle chatter and spreading rumours. Moreover, this path helps a person identify the truth and communicate carefully with others in order to avoid regretting later what he/she said earlier and spoiling good relationships.
- Right Action – Samma Kammanta
The Right Action step involves keeping away from negative actions or actions that can cause bodily harm to oneself and others. These actions abstaining from actions like stealing, lying, killing and taking one’s own life. The step also involves avoiding sexual misconduct and other intoxicants like drugs. It guides one to be considerate towards others around us.
- Right Livelihood – Samma Ajiva
The Right Livelihood step guides an individual on staying off from wrong livelihood. He/she is also advised against adopting certain kinds of work for his/her livelihood such as dealing with drugs, weapons or intoxicants and trade harmful to human or animal life. The step focuses on adopting a sound living with proper and good ethics. It instructs the person to be honest and play fair in his/her business dealings and engage in community service.
- Right Effort – Samma Vayama
The Right Effort step endeavours on developing a balanced positive attitude and an enthusiasm in life. The step arouses the wholesome state in an individual while preventing the unwholesome states from arising within him/her. These unwholesome states are connected to intentions, emotions and thoughts and refer to ill will, drowsiness, restlessness and sensual thoughts. The focus is on developing skillful deeds, words and thoughts in a person.
- Right Mindfulness – Samma Sati
The Right Mindfulness step directs an individual towards being mindful of his/her body, mind and feelings along with mental qualities. In other words, this step helps the person watch or guard over his/her mind. It guides a person towards being mindful of the moment and staying focused on it with a clear mind that is free of distraction by allowing us to be aware of the moment along with our actions at that time.
- Right Concentration or Right Samadhi – Samma Samadhi
The Right Concentration or Samadhi step focuses on the unification or concentration of the human mind. The step makes an individual engage himself/herself in practising skilful meditation. The mind is tuned to focus on a specific concept or object. It keeps the mind uncluttered and focus on whatever it desires rightfully. The mind is trained to visualise things at a deeper level and not the way our eyes perceive them or how we are accustomed to seeing them.
The right view and right resolve steps are connected with the development of wisdom in an individual. The right speech, right livelihood and right action pertain to his/her ethical conduct. On the other hand, right effort, right concentration and right mindfulness are centred around a person’s meditation. Buddhists represent the Noble Eightfold Path as a dharmachakra or wheel of dharma with eight spokes, where each spoke represents one of the eight steps highlighted in the Noble Eightfold Path.
Written by - Deepthi K