The Noble Eightfold Path
What is the Noble Eightfold Path?
Since the time of the Buddha himself. The practice of the Noble Eightfold Path has been preserve and handover us. This unique path is the only straight route that leads to Nibbana. This Nibbana is to be followed by the mind. By rejecting all internal attachment to the external world. It avoids the high-level distress, upset, agitation and uneasiness. These weaken one’s mind, sense, thoughts. And the extreme of pleasure-seeking, self- gratification that retards one’s moral progress. These Disciples gained the highest fruits of liberation through self-purification. It attests the truth of the doctrine and the effectiveness of the methods.
The noble eightfold path is divided into three main stages namely – Sila (Morality), Samadhi (Concentration) and Panna (Wisdom).
1. Right Understanding ( Samma – Ditthi).
2. Right Thoughts ( Samma – Sankappa).
3. Up-Right Speech ( Samma – Vaca).
4. Right Action ( Samma – Kammanta).
5. Right Livelihood ( Samma – Ajiva).
6. Rightly Effort ( Samma – Vayama).
7. Right Mindfulness ( Samma – Sati).
8. Right Concentration ( Samma – Samadhi).
According to the order of development Sila, Samadhi and Panna are three stages of the Path. These factors comprise the Noble Eightfold Path signify eight mental properties. It is collectively found in the four classes of consciousness. Such an object is Nibbana.
1. Right Understanding
The Right Understanding is explaining as the knowledge of the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism. The aim and object of Buddhism is Right Understanding. The true nature of existence. After the right Understanding, knowledge-arising has become clear with respect to the whole body. The person who understand and practice the true Dhamma. He possesses tranquility of mind. All real effect, absolute inner progress and all our efforts based upon our own understanding and insight. All entire inner progress is implanting in Right Understanding. Without this, there is no attainment of Perfection. And of the unshakable Peace of Nibbana.
2. Right Thoughts
Right understanding or clear vision leads to clear thinking. The second factor of the Noble Eightfold Path is Right Thoughts. The important mental state. It eliminates the wrong ideas or notions. This helps the other moral adjuncts to be diverted to Nibbana. It is one’s thoughts that defile and purify a person. Right thoughts should mold one’s nature and controls one’s destiny.
The analytical study of mind and matter, both within and without in order to come to a realization of truth. At the back of our minds always have high and beautiful thoughts. Right thought must never have the slightest touch of evil in it. Our thoughts are always kind and good. Right thoughts have developed a powerful lens of mind. It focuses his attention into his own self. And by meditation makes an analytical study of nature.
Right thinking free from greed and sensuous desire aiming at an escape from the round of rebirths. It is a pure state of mind. Free from sensual lust, ill – will, selfish desires, hatred, and cruelty. It is saturated with the spirit of selflessness, loving, kindness, and harmlessness, live in perfect peace.
3. Right Speech
Right thoughts lead to Right Speech, the third factor. It deals with refraining from falsehood, slandering, harsh words, abuse, and frivolous talk. Speech must be true, beneficial and neither foul nor malicious. Always speak of good things something useful and helpful. Speech must be kindly, direct and forceful and not silly. Speech must be not only true, sweet and pleasant but also useful, fruitful and beneficial.
4. Right Action
The Right speech follows Right Actions. It deals with abstinence from killing, stealing, drunkenness, and sexual misconduct. These evil deeds are caused by craving and anger, coupled with ignorance. With the elimination of these causes from mind arising pure action. Being pure in mind, one would lead a pure life. Action must be prompt, well considered and unselfish.
5. Right Livelihood
Purifying thoughts, words, and deeds at the outset. One can try to purify his livelihood (Right Livelihood). By refraining from the five kinds of trade forbidden to a lay – disciple. They are trading in arms, human beings, flesh, intoxicating drinks, and poison.
A way of living by trades other than those which increase the suffering of all beings. The livelihood may cause no harm to any living thing. We should not obtain our livelihood by harming any being.
Right speech, Right action, and Right livelihood are denoting three abstinences. But, not the three opposite virtues.
6. Rightly Effort
Rightly Effort plays a very important part in the Noble Eightfold Path. It is by one’s own effort that one’s deliverance is obtained.
Rightly Effort is fourfold- namely
1. The endeavor to discard evil that has already arisen,
2. The attempt to prevent the arising of unarisen evil,
3. The effort to develop the good, and
4. The aim to promote the good which has already arisen.
Making effort in the practice of the Eightfold Path so that evil practices have never arisen. During the present existence and may not arise even for a moment in the future existence. In man are found a rubbish-heap of evil. It is a store-house of virtue. By efforts, one can remove this rubbish-heap and cultivates these latent virtues.
It is the effort which makes in “Overcoming” old action. “Avoiding” fresh bad action by body, speech, and mind. The effort can make in “Developing” old action. “Cultivating” fresh action of righteousness, inner peace, and wisdom.
7. Right Mindfulness
Right Effort is closely associated with Right Mindfulness. It is the constant mindfulness with regard to body, feelings, thoughts and mind objects.
Mindfulness on these four objects tends to eradicate the misconceptions. With regards to desirability (Subha), happiness (Sukha), permanence (Nicca) and immortal soul (Atta) respectively.
Vigilant attention leads us to see correctly and to attain a point of view. From which we see beyond the pairs of opposites. We should be conscious of our movement and acts. Both physical and mental. We should be conscious of the falling. Which arises in us and recognizes them.
The practice of perfect attendance is a means of learning to know oneself. To know the world in which one lives, consequently to acquire right understanding.
Application of Mindfulness to the contemplation of,
a) breath-in and breath-out.
b) painful and pleasurable feelings.
c) consciousness root in lust or anger.
d) sensuous lust.
8. Right Concentration
The Right Effort and Right Mindfulness lead to Right Concentration. It is the one-pointedness of the mind. A concentrated mind acts as a powerful aid. To see things as they truly are by means of penetrative insight. It is the right concentration of thought upon a single object. And also Narrowing the field of attention. Meditation is to be practiced only after concentration.
In concentration, we start with a simple object. And in meditation, we carry the clear conception of that simple object. Till the higher mental and intellectual levels. Concentration makes our consciousness steady without leakage. Meditation fills it with clear vision and wisdom.
As the power of concentration increases the nature of forces in himself. He becomes more and more vivid. By meditation on a chosen object, you will observe that object clearly. Also, understand the function of it in conjunction with other things. Therefore our knowledge and wisdom enlarge.
Ultimate Secret of Eightfold Path
When meditation is fully developing in opens. It up ways of intuition and many supernormal powers. These powers may be obtained even before one reaches the State of Nibbana.