The NOBLE EIGHTFOLD PATH (
The Eightfold Path consists of eight practices: right view, right
resolve, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort,
right mindfulness, and right "samadhi" (meditative absorption or
union). In the earliest
The Eightfold Path teaches that by restraining oneself, cultivating discipline, and practicing mindfulness and meditation, house-leavers (monks and nuns) attain nirvana and stop their craving, clinging and karmic accumulations, thereby ending their rebirth and suffering.
Noble Eightfold Path
In Buddhist symbolism, the
Noble Eightfold Path
* 1 Etymology and nomenclature
* 2 The Eightfold Path
* 2.1 Origin * 2.2 The Eight Divisions * 2.3 Liberation * 2.4 Threefold division * 2.5 Tenfold Path
* 3 Further explanation
* 3.1 Right view
* 3.2 Right resolve * 3.3 Right speech * 3.4 Right action * 3.5 Right livelihood * 3.6 Right effort * 3.7 Right mindfulness * 3.8 Right samadhi ("concentration")
* 4 Practice
* 4.1 Order of practice * 4.2 Gender
* 5 Cognitive psychology * 6 See also * 7 Notes * 8 References * 9 Sources * 10 Further reading * 11 External links
ETYMOLOGY AND NOMENCLATURE
All eight elements of the Path begin with the word samyañc (in
Sanskrit) or sammā (in Pāli) which means "right, proper, as it ought
to be, best". The
THE EIGHTFOLD PATH
According to Vetter, the description of the Buddhist path may initially have been as simple as the term "the middle way". In time, this short description was elaborated, resulting in the description of the eightfold path. Vetter and Bucknell both note that longer descriptions of "the path" can be found, which can be condensed into the eightfold path.
THE EIGHT DIVISIONS
The eight Buddhist practices in the
Noble Eightfold Path
* Right View: our actions have consequences; death is not the end,
and our actions and beliefs have also consequences after death; the
Buddha followed and taught a successful path out of this world and the
other world (heaven and underworld/hell) Later on, right view
came to explicitly include karma and rebirth , and the importance of
Four Noble Truths
* Right Mindfulness: never be absent minded, being conscious of what one is doing; this, states Harvey, encourages the mindfulness about impermanence of body, feeling and mind, as well as to experience the five aggregates (skandhas ), the five hindrances , the four True Realities and seven factors of awakening. * Right samadhi : practicing four stages of meditation (dhyāna ) culminating into unification of the mind.
Noble Eightfold Path
(...) Just this noble eightfold path: right view, right aspiration, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. That is the ancient path, the ancient road, traveled by the Rightly Self-awakened Ones of former times. I followed that path. Following it, I came to direct knowledge of aging & death, direct knowledge of the origination of aging & death, direct knowledge of the cessation of aging & death, direct knowledge of the path leading to the cessation of aging & death. I followed that path. Following it, I came to direct knowledge of birth... becoming... clinging... craving... feeling... contact... the six sense media... name- text-decoration: none">samyak-dṛuṣṭi / sammā-diṭṭhi) explicates that our actions have consequences, that death is not the end, that our actions and beliefs have also consequences after death, and that the Buddha followed and taught a successful path out of this world and the other world (heaven and underworld/hell) Majjhima Nikaya 117, Mahācattārīsaka Sutta, a Pāli Canonical text, describes the first seven practices as requisites of right samadhi, starting with right view:
Of those, right view is the forerunner And what is the right view with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions? 'There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits, and results of good and bad actions. There is this world and the next world. There is mother and father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are contemplatives and brahmans who faring rightly and practicing rightly, proclaim this world and the next after having directly known and realized it for themselves.' This is the right view with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions.
Later on, right view came to explicitly include karma and rebirth ,
and the importance of the
Four Noble Truths
The purpose of right view is to clear one's path from confusion, misunderstanding, and deluded thinking. It is a means to gain right understanding of reality. Right view in some interpretations, state Chryssides and Wilkins, is non-view, as the enlightened become aware that nothing can be expressed in fixed conceptual terms and rigid, dogmatic clinging to concepts is discarded.
Right View can be further subdivided, states Bhikkhu Bodhi, into Mundane Right View and Superior or Supramundane Right View:
* Mundane right view, knowledge of the fruits of good behavior.
Having this type of view will bring merit and will support the
favourable rebirth of the sentient being in the realm of samsara .
* Supramundane (world-transcending) right view, the understanding of
karmic and rebirth, as implicated in the
Four Noble Truths
Right view for monastics is also described in the Sammādiṭṭhi
Sutta ("Right View Discourse"), in which
Right resolve (samyak-saṃkalpa / sammā sankappa) can also be known as "right thought", "right intention", or "right aspiration". In this factor, the practitioner resolves to leave home, renounce the worldly life and dedicate himself to a spiritual pursuit. In section III.248, the Majjhima Nikaya states,
And what is right resolve? Being resolved on renunciation, on freedom from ill will, on harmlessness: This is called right resolve.
Like right view, this factor has two levels. At the mundane level, the resolve includes being harmless (ahimsa ) and refraining from ill will (avyabadha) to any being, as this accrues karma and leads to rebirth. At the supramundane level, the factor includes a resolve to consider everything and everyone as impermanent, a source of suffering and without a Self.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, and from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
Instead of the usual "abstention and refraining from wrong" terminology, a few texts such as the Samaññaphala Sutta and Kevata Sutta in Digha Nikaya explain this virtue in an active sense, after stating it in the form of an abstention. For example, Samaññaphala Sutta states that a part of a monk's virtue is that "he abstains from false speech. He speaks the truth, holds to the truth, is firm, reliable, no deceiver of the world." Similarly, the virtue of abstaining from divisive speech is explained as delighting in creating concord. The virtue of abstaining from abusive speech is explained in this Sutta to include affectionate and polite speech that is pleasing to people. The virtue of abstaining from idle chatter is explained as speaking what is connected with the Dhamma goal of his liberation.
In the Abhaya-raja-kumara Sutta, the Buddha explains the virtue of right speech in different scenarios, based on its truth value, utility value and emotive content. The Tathagata , states Abhaya Sutta, never speaks anything that is unfactual or factual, untrue or true, disagreeable or agreeable, if that is unbeneficial and unconnected to his goals. Further, adds Abhaya Sutta, the Tathagata speaks the factual, the true, if in case it is disagreeable and unendearing, only if it is beneficial to his goals, but with a sense of proper time. Additionally, adds Abhaya Sutta, the Tathagata, only speaks with a sense of proper time even when what he speaks is the factual, the true, the agreeable, the endearing and what is beneficial to his goals.
The Buddha thus explains right speech in the
Right action (samyak-karmānta / sammā-kammanta) is like right
speech, expressed as abstentions but in terms of bodily action. In the
And what is right action? Abstaining from killing, abstaining from stealing, abstaining from sexual misconduct. This is called right action.
The prohibition on killing precept in Buddhist scriptures applies to
all living beings, states Christopher Gowans, not just human beings.
The prohibition on stealing in the
The prohibition on sexual misconduct in the Noble Eightfold Path, states Tilmann Vetter, refers to "not performing sexual acts". This virtue is more generically explained in the Cunda Kammaraputta Sutta, which teaches that one must abstain from all sensual misconduct, including getting sexually involved with someone unmarried (anyone protected by parents or by guardians or by siblings), and someone married (protected by husband), and someone betrothed to another person, and female convicts or by dhamma.
For monastics, the abstention from sensual misconduct means strict celibacy, states Christopher Gowans, while for lay Buddhists this prohibits adultery as well as other forms of sensual misconduct. Later Buddhist texts, states Bhikkhu Bodhi, state that the prohibition on sexual conduct for lay Buddhists includes any sexual involvement with someone married, a girl or woman protected by her parents or relatives, and someone prohibited by dhamma conventions (such as relatives, nuns and others).
Right livelihood (samyag-ājīva / sammā-ājīva) precept is mentioned in many early Buddhist texts, such as the Mahācattārīsaka Sutta in Majjhima Nikaya as follows:
"And what is right livelihood? Right livelihood, I tell you, is of two sorts: There is right livelihood with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions; there is right livelihood that is noble, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.
"And what is the right livelihood with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones abandons wrong livelihood and maintains his life with right livelihood. This is the right livelihood with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions.
"And what is the right livelihood that is noble, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The abstaining, desisting, abstinence, avoidance of wrong livelihood in one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is without effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. (...)
The early canonical texts state right livelihood as avoiding and abstaining from wrong livelihood. This virtue is further explained in Buddhist texts, states Vetter, as "living from begging, but not accepting everything and not possessing more than is strictly necessary". For lay Buddhists, states Harvey, this precept requires that the livelihood avoid causing suffering to sentient beings by cheating them, or harming or killing them in any way.
The Anguttara Nikaya III.208, states Harvey, asserts that the right livelihood does not trade in weapons, living beings, meat, alcoholic drink or poison. The same text, in section V.177, asserts that this applies to lay Buddhists. This has meant, states Harvey, that raising and trading cattle livestock for slaughter is a breach of "right livelihood" precept in the Buddhist tradition, and Buddhist countries lack the mass slaughter houses found in Western countries.
Right effort (samyag-vyāyāma / sammā-vāyāma) is presented in the
And what is right effort?
Here the monk arouses his will, puts forth effort, generates energy, exerts his mind, and strives to prevent the arising of evil and unwholesome mental states that have not yet arisen. He arouses his will... and strives to eliminate evil and unwholesome mental states that have already arisen. He arouses his will... and strives to generate wholesome mental states that have not yet arisen. He arouses his will, puts forth effort, generates energy, exerts his mind, and strives to maintain wholesome mental states that have already arisen, to keep them free of delusion, to develop, increase, cultivate, and perfect them. This is called right effort.
The unwholesome states (akusala) are described in the Buddhist texts, as those relating to thoughts, emotions, intentions, and these include pancanivarana (five hindrances) - sensual thoughts, doubts about the path, restlessness, drowsiness, and ill will of any kind. Of these, the Buddhist traditions consider sensual thoughts and ill will needing more right effort. Sensual desire that must be eliminated by effort includes anything related to sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touch. Ill will that must be eliminated by effort includes any form of aversion including hatred, anger, resentment towards anything or anyone.
Main article: Mindfulness (Buddhism)
Right mindfulness (samyak-smṛti / sammā-sati) in the Sacca-vibhanga Sutta is explained as follows:
And what is right mindfulness?
Here the monk remains contemplating the body as body, resolute, aware and mindful, having put aside worldly desire and sadness; he remains contemplating feelings as feelings; he remains contemplating mental states as mental states; he remains contemplating mental objects as mental objects, resolute, aware and mindful, having put aside worldly desire and sadness; This is called right mindfulness.
This factor in the
Noble Eightfold Path
According to modern
RIGHT SAMADHI ("CONCENTRATION")
Four Noble Truths
And what is right concentration?
Here, the monk, detached from sense-desires, detached from unwholesome states, enters and remains in the first jhana (level of concentration, Sanskrit: dhyāna), in which there is applied and sustained thinking, together with joy and pleasure born of detachment; And through the subsiding of applied and sustained thinking, with the gaining of inner stillness and oneness of mind, he enters and remains in the second jhana, which is without applied and sustained thinking, and in which there are joy and pleasure born of concentration; And through the fading of joy, he remains equanimous, mindful and aware, and he experiences in his body the pleasure of which the Noble Ones say: "equanimous, mindful and dwelling in pleasure", and thus he enters and remains in the third jhana; And through the giving up of pleasure and pain, and through the previous disappearance of happiness and sadness, he enters and remains in the fourth jhana, which is without pleasure and pain, and in which there is pure equanimity and mindfulness. This is called right concentration.
Bhikkhu Bodhi, the right concentration factor is
reaching a one-pointedness of mind and unifying all mental factors,
but it is not the same as "a gourmet sitting down to a meal, or a
soldier on the battlefield" who also experience one-pointed
concentration. The difference is that the latter have a one-pointed
object in focus with complete awareness directed to that object –
the meal or the target, respectively. In contrast, right concentration
meditative factor in
Some scholars, such as Bronkhorst, question the historicity and chronology of these details. Bronkhorst states that this path may be similar to what Buddha taught, but the details and form of right concentration in particular, and possibly other factors, is likely of later scholasticism. Bronkhorst states this is likely because Buddha could not have assumed the third stage of jhana, which includes "Noble Ones say", since he is considered to be the first to reach the samadhi and enlightened state of nirvana, then turning the wheel of dhamma. It is likely that later Buddhist scholars incorporated this, then attributed the details and the path, particularly the insights at the time of liberation, to have been discovered by the Buddha.
ORDER OF PRACTICE
Vetter notes that originally the path culminated in the practice of
dhyana/samadhi as the core soteriological practice. According to the
The Blessed One said: "Now what, monks, is noble right concentration with its supports and requisite conditions? Any singleness of mind equipped with these seven factors — right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, and right mindfulness — is called noble right concentration with its supports and requisite conditions. — Maha-cattarisaka Sutta
According to the discourses, right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, and right mindfulness are used as the support and requisite conditions for the practice of right concentration. Understanding of the right view is the preliminary role, and is also the forerunner of the entire Noble Eightfold Path.
According to the modern
According to Bernard Faure, the ancient and medieval Buddhist texts
and traditions, like other religions, were almost always unfavorable
or discriminatory against women, in terms of their ability to pursue
Noble Eightfold Path, attain
In some Chinese and Japanese Buddhist texts, the status of female
deities are not presented positively, unlike the Indian tradition,
states Faure. In the Huangshinu dui Jingang (Woman Huang explicates
the Diamond Sutra), a woman admonishes her husband about he
slaughtering animals, who attacks her gender and her past karma,
implying that "women go to hell" not because of her intentions nor
actions (kamma), but simply because of the biology of her gender and
the bodily functions over which she has no choice. Similar
discriminatory presumptions are found in other
Gender discrimination worsened during the medieval era in various
Some scholars, such as Kenneth Doo Young Lee, interpret the Lotus Sutra to imply that "women were capable of gaining salvation", either after they first turned into a man, or being reborn in Pure Land realm after following the Path. Peter Harvey lists many Sutras that suggest "having faded out the mind-set of a woman and developed the mind-set of a man, he was born in his present male form", and who then proceeds to follow the Path and became an Arahant. Among Mahayana texts, there is a sutra dedicated to the concept of how a person might be born as a woman. The traditional assertion is that women are more prone to harboring feelings of greed, hatred and delusion than a man. The Buddha responds to this assumption by teaching the method of moral development through which a woman can achieve rebirth as a man.
According to Wei-Yi Cheng, the
When I was born a human being among men I was a daughter-in-law in a wealthy family. I was without anger, obedient to my husband, diligent on the Observance (days). When I was born a human being, young and innocent, with a mind of faith, I delighted my lord. By day and by night I acted to please. Of old (...). On the fourteenth, fifteenth and eighth (days) of the bright fortnight and on a special day of the fortnight well connected with the eightfold (precepts) I observed the Observance day with a mind of faith, was one who was faring according to Dhamma with zeal in my heart... — Vimanavatthu III.3.31, Wei-Yi Cheng
Such examples, states Wei-Yi Cheng, include conflating statements
about spiritual practice (Eightfold Path, Dhamma) and "obedience to my
husband" and "by day and by night I acted to please", thus implying
unquestioned obedience of male authority and female subjugation. Such
statements are not isolated, but common, such as in section II.13 of
the Petavatthu which teaches that a woman had to "put away the
thoughts of a woman" as she pursued the Path and this merit obtained
her a better rebirth; the Jataka stories of the
The noble eightfold path has been compared to cognitive psychology, wherein states Gil Fronsdal, the right view factor can be interpreted to mean how one's mind views the world, and how that leads to patterns of thought, intention and actions. In contrast, Peter Randall states that it is the seventh factor or right mindfulness that may be thought in terms of cognitive psychology, wherein the change in thought and behavior are linked.
Buddhist Paths to liberation
* ^ One of those longer sequences, from the CulaHatthipadopama-sutta, the "Lesser Discourse on the Simile of the Elephant's Footprints", is as follows:
* Dhammalsaddhalpabbajja: A layman hears a Buddha teach the Dhamma, comes to have faith in him, and decides to take ordination as a monk; * sila: He adopts the moral precepts; * indriyasamvara: He practises "guarding the six sense-doors"; * sati-sampajanna: He practises mindfulness and self-possession (actually described as mindfulness of the body, kāyānussatti); * jhana 1: He finds an isolated spot in which to meditate, purifies his mind of the hindrances (nwarana), and attains the first rupa-jhana; * jhana 2: He attains the second jhana; * jhana 3: He attains the third jhana; * jhana 4: He attains the fourth jhana; * pubbenivasanussati-nana: he recollects his many former existences in samsara; * sattanam cutupapata-nana: he observes the death and rebirth of beings according to their karmas; * dsavakkhaya-nana: He brings about the destruction of the dsavas (cankers), and attains a profound realization of (as opposed to mere knowledge about) the four noble truths; * vimutti: He perceives that he is now liberated, that he has done what was to be done.
* ^ See also Majjhima Nikaya 44, Culavedalla Sutta
* ^ Quotes:
* Vetter: "Compare AN 10.17.10 (Nal. ed. IV p. 320,26): "He has the
right views (sammiiditthiko hotz), he does not see things in a wrong
way: that which is given exists, that which is sacrificed exists, that
which in poured (into the fire) exists, the fruit, i.e. retribution
for good and evil actions, exists, the world, here, exists, the other
world exists, the mother exists, the father exists, beings who appear
(spontaneously) exist, in the world ascetics and brahmans exist who
have gone and followed the right path and who describe this world and
the other world from their own experience and realization."
* Wei-hsün Fu and Wawrytko: "In the
* ^ From The Way of Mindfulness, The Satipatthana Sutta and Its Commentary, Soma Thera (1998), (...) FOR the dull-witted man of the theorizing type it is convenient to see consciousness in the fairly simple way it is set forth in this discourse, by way of impermanence , and by way of such divisions as mind-with-lust , in order to reject the notion of permanence in regard to consciousness. Consciousness is a special condition for the wrong view due to a basic belief in permanence . The contemplation on consciousness, the Third Arousing of Mindfulness, is the Path to Purity of this type of man. FOR the keen-witted man of the theorizing type it is convenient to see mental objects or things , according to the manifold way set forth in this discourse, by way of perception, sense-impression and so forth , in order to reject the notion of a soul in regard to mental things. Mental things are special conditions for the wrong view due to a basic belief in a soul . For this type of man the contemplation on mental objects, the Fourth Arousing of Mindfulness, is the Path to Purity. (...) * ^ Vetter and Bronkhorst note that the path starts with right view, which includes insight into anicca, dukkha and anatta. * ^ The Lotus Sutra, for example, asserts "A woman's body is filthy, it is not a Dharma-receptacle. How can you attain unexcelled bodhi?... Also a woman's body even then has five obstacles.
* ^ Brekke, Torkel. "The Religious Motivation of the Early
Buddhists." Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Vol. 67, No.
4 (Dec., 1999), p. 860
* ^ Gethin 1998 , p. 81-83.
* ^ A B C Anderson 2013 , p. 64-65.
* ^ Vetter 1988 , p. 11-14.
* ^ A B C D E F G Vetter 1988 .
* ^ Bronkhorst 1993 .
* ^ Raju 1985 , p. 147–151.
* ^ Eliot 2014 , p. 39–41.
* ^ Harvey 2016 , p. 253–255.
* ^ Rahula 2007 , p. 53.
* ^ Martine Batchelor (2014). The Spirit of the Buddha. Yale
University Press. p. 59. ISBN 978-0-300-17500-4 . ; Quote: These five
trades, O monks, should not be taken up by a lay follower: trading
with weapons, trading in living beings, trading in meat, trading in
intoxicants, trading in poison."
* ^ Harvey 2013 , p. 273-274.
* ^ Buswell & Gimello 1994 , p. 204. * ^ Rinpoche Karma-raṅ-byuṅ-kun-khyab-phrin-las (1986). The Dharma: That Illuminates All Beings Impartially Like the Light of the Sun and Moon. State University of New York Press. pp. 32–33. ISBN 978-0-88706-156-1 . ; Quote: "There are various ways of examining the Complete Path. For example, we can speak of Five Paths constituting its different levels: the Path of Accumulation, the Path of Application, the Path of Seeing, the Path of Meditation and the Path of No More Learning, or Buddhahood." * ^ A B C D E Bernard Faure (2009). The Power of Denial: Buddhism, Purity, and Gender. Princeton University Press. pp. 53–54, 67–70, 78–81, 99–106,. ISBN 978-0691091716 . * ^ Gwilym Beckerlegge (2001). The World Religions Reader. Routledge. pp. 365–370. ISBN 978-0-415-24749-8 . * ^ A B R. Alan Cole (1994). Mothers and Sons in Chinese Buddhism. Stanford University Press. pp. 203–204. ISBN 978-0-8047-6510-7 . * ^ Wm. Theodore de Bary; Richard Lufrano (2010). Sources of Chinese Tradition: Volume 2: From 1600 Through the Twentieth Century. Columbia University Press. pp. 118–120. ISBN 978-0-231-51799-7 . * ^ Gene Reeves (2002). A Buddhist kaleidoscope: essays on the Lotus Sutra. Kosei. pp. 363, 447–448, 475. ISBN 978-4-333-01918-2 . * ^ Gwilym Beckerlegge (2001). The World Religions Reader. Routledge. pp. 369–370. ISBN 978-0-415-24749-8 . * ^ Bernard Faure (2009). The Power of Denial: Buddhism, Purity, and Gender. Princeton University Press. pp. 99–100. ISBN 978-0691091716 . * ^ Bernard Faure (2009). The Power of Denial: Buddhism, Purity, and Gender. Princeton University Press. pp. 112–116. ISBN 978-0691091716 . * ^ Kenneth Doo Young Lee (2012). Prince and the Monk, The: Shotoku Worship in Shinran\'s Buddhism. State University of New York Press. pp. 93–94. ISBN 978-0-7914-8046-5 . * ^ Peter Harvey (2000). An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics: Foundations, Values and Issues. Cambridge University Press. pp. 368–370. ISBN 978-0-521-55640-8 . * ^ Peter Harvey (2000). An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics: Foundations, Values and Issues. Cambridge University Press. pp. 371–372. ISBN 978-0-521-55640-8 . * ^ A B C D Wei-Yi Cheng (2007). Buddhist Nuns in Taiwan and Sri Lanka: A Critique of the Feminist Perspective. Routledge. pp. 58–60. ISBN 978-1-134-16811-8 . * ^ Wei-Yi Cheng (2007). Buddhist Nuns in Taiwan and Sri Lanka: A Critique of the Feminist Perspective. Routledge. pp. 63–64. ISBN 978-1-134-16811-8 . * ^ Gil Fronsdal. The Dhammapada: A New Translation of the Buddhist Classic with Annotations. Shambhala Publications, Inc. Retrieved 14 July 2009. * ^ Peter Randall (2013). The Psychology of Feeling Sorry: The Weight of the Soul. Routledge. pp. 206–208. ISBN 978-1-136-17026-3 .
* Anderson, Carol (2013). Pain and Its Ending: The Four Noble Truths
* Sangharakshita, The Buddha's Noble Eightfold Path, Windhorse Publications, 2007. ISBN 1-899579-81-8 .
* "The Path to Peace and Freedom for the Mind" by Ajaan Lee Dhammadharo * "The Craft of the Heart" by Ajaan Lee Dhammadharo
* v * t * e
* Glossary * Index * Outline