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  • Set of ethical and practical principles- part of the dharma
  • Wheel with 8 spokes- all interlinked components, each factor supports each other. Effort has to be spread equally across all aspects or it will inhibit your progress in life
  • Provides an interpretation of human existence
  • Set of instructions left behind by the Buddha to help Buddhists achieve nibbana
  • Wisdom and meditation help Buddhists understand why achieving nibbana is worthwhile and give life meaning and purpose
  • 3 sections of the Eightfold Path
    • Wisdom-prajna
    • Morality- sila
    • Meditation- samadhi
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Right Understanding/View - Samma Ditthi

  • Wisdom/prajna
  • Involves having a correct understanding of how things actually are
  • Some see it as the most important part- it is the starting point
  • Buddha said that 'right view is the forerunner'
  • There are 2 types of view; mundane and supramundane
  • Mundane- right ownership of action and involves understanding karma and samsara and overcoming the 3 mental poisons
  • Supramundane- deep understanding that penetrates the truth, requires meditation
  • Buddha- 'sees no factor so responsible for the arising of unwholesome states of mind as wrong view'
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Right Intention/Thought - Samma Sankappa

  • Wisdom/prajna
  • Buddhists must fully commit to the path from the heart
  • Intention is just as important as actions.  Bad intention (kamma chanda) leads to negative karma phala
  • It is placed between right view and the 3 moral actions as it forms a crucial link between mental formulations and actions.  Pure intentions lead to pure actions
  • Buddha realised that bad thoughts obstruct wisdom
  • There are 3 main sections of right thought
    • renunciation- opposes the intention of desire
    • goodwill- opposes the intention of illwill
    • harmlessness- opposes the intention of harmfulness
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Right Speech - Samma Vaca

  • Morality/sila
  • Requires wisdom and kindness, leading to an understanding of the dharma
  • Avoidance of bad (varitta) things for example, gossiping, abusive speech and lying.  These would be akusala (unskilful) and would lead to bad karma phala
  • Committment to good (caritta) things for example telling the truth.  This would be kusala (skilful) and would lead to good karma phala
  • Buddha said 'before acting with body, speech or mind, one should think'
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Right Action - Samma Kammanta

  • Morality/sila
  • Wholesome actions- Buddhist needs a sound state of mind
  • Buddhists must follow the 5 precepts
    • Abstain from harming
    • Abstain from taking anything not given
    • Abstain from misuse of speech
    • Abstain from misuse of senses
    • Abstain from clouding the mind with substances
  • These cultivate the positive qualitites of kindness, generosity, compassion and equanimity
  • 'to abstain from all evil, to cultivate the good and to purify ones mind, this is the teaching of the Buddha.'
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Right Livelihood - Samma Ajiva

  • Morality/sila
  • How you make a living affects the world and the people in it
  • Wrong livelihoods are ones that break the 5 precepts.  An example of this is a soldier that breaks the 'abstain from harming' precept
  • A good livelihood is morally responsible and benefits others for example, a teacher or an aid worker
  • The supreme example is a monk or nun.  They follow the 5 precepts and have given up worldly possesions
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Right Effort - Samma Vayama

  • Meditation/samadhi
  • Without effort, nothing would be achieved.
  • Effort produces the energy (viraya) for a task
  • Our state of mind affects what we do.  We need to make an effort to overcome negative states of mind and unwholesome states (5 hindrances for example, laziness, lust, worrying)
  • We must develop wholesome states of mind (7 factors of enlightenment e.g. joy, tranquility, mindfulness)
  • Buddha is the last physician- the remedy for akusala is metta (loving kindness)
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Right Mindfulness - Samma Sati

  • Meditation/samadhi
  • Leads to serenity and insight
  • Four foundations of mindfulness
    • Contemplation of body-breathing, postures, detach from the body
    • Contemplation of feeling- pleasant, painful and neutral feelings (verdanas)
    • Contemplation of mind- reject a permanent state of mind, develop positive states of mind
    • Contemplation of phenomena- maintain and stabilise the skilful states of mind which have been generated
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Right Concentration - Samma Samadhi

  • Meditation/samadhi
  • The ability to fix the mind on a single object
  • Requires wholesome meditation and bhavana (mental cultivation)
  • In meditation we must focus on diminshing the 5 hindrances and cultivating the 7 factors of enlightenment as well as cultivating metta to lead to bramavihra
  • There are various levels of deep calm (jhanas)
  • Buddha said 'any singleness of mind equipped with these 7 factors is called noble concentration'
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