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The Eightfold Path

  • Fourth Noble Truth- 'the way'
  • Set of ethical and practical principles, part of the dharma
  • Often referred to as a wheel with 8 spokes because they are inter-linked components and each factor supports each other
  • Samma means 'perfect' or 'complete'
  • Its purpose is to provide an interpretation of human existence
  • Set of instructions left behind by the Buddha to help Buddhists achieve the ultimate goal, nibbana
  • Wisdom and meditation help Buddhists understand why this is worthwhile and provide a perspective on life, which gives it meaning and purpose
  • The idea of it being a wheel is significant as it suggest effort should be divided equally across all aspects and if it isn't, like and uneven wheel, it will inhibit your progress in life
  • Wisdom (prajna) : Right understanding, right though
  • Morality (sila) : Right speech, right action, right livelihood
  • Meditation (samadhi) : Right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration

Wisdom (prajna)

  • Right Understanding/View- Samma Ditthi
    • Involves a correct understanding of how things actually are
    • Some see it as the most important part because it is the starting point
    • Buddha - 'right view is the forerunner'
    • Two stages of right view: mundane and supramundane
      • Mundane- right ownership of action.  You get it by understanding karma, samsara and overcoming the 3 mental poisons, it is also known as 'worldly knowledge'
      • Supramundane- must be developed in order to achieve enlightenment.  It involves a deep understanding that 'penetrates' the truths
    • Buddha- 'sees no single factor so responsible for the arising of unwholesome states of mind as wrong view'
  • Right Thought/Intention- Samma Sankappa
    • When Buddhists fully commit to the path, it must come from the heart
    • Intention is just as important as actions, bad intention leads to bad karma phala
    • It is placed between right view and the three moral actions because it forms a crucial link between mental formulations and actions.  When actions are pure, so are intentions
    • On his quest to enlightenment, the Buddha learn that bad thought obstruct wisdom
    • Buddha- 'an informed heart and feeling mind that are free to pratice letting go leads to nibbana'
    • The Buddha highlighted 3 sections of right thought
      • Renunciation- oppposes the intention of desire.  The pull of desire is to be resisted because it is a root of suffering.  Buddha- 'the intention of renunciation dislodges the intention of desire'
      • Good will- opposes the thought or intention of ill-will. the Buddha encouraged his followers to cultivate feelings of metta or loving kindness towards others
      • Harmlessness- opposes the thought of harmfulness.  This is thought guided by compassion (karuna) and is around in oppositin to cruel and aggresive thoughts

Morality (sila)

  • Right Speech- Samma Vaca
    • Characterised by wisdom and kindess, allowing for an understanding and appreciation of the dharma
    • It involves the avoidance of bad things (varitta) which includes gossiping and abusive speech, as these are considered akusala (unskilful) and lead to bad karma phala (karmic…


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