THE EIGHT-FOLD PATH OF BUDDHISM
FOLLOW THIS PATH, BUT UNDERSTAND IT FIRST!
Note: This is a "summary" page, for you to get the overview from on high. But one must never stop there, at vague intentions and limited understanding. It is up to you to follow the paths to deeper understanding, until you actually arrive at a high level of understanding and the ability to apply them effectively. See the "What To Do Now?" section right after this summary.
1. Right Understanding is the knowledge of the Four Noble Truths. In other words, it is the understanding of oneself as one really is. The keynote of Buddhism is this Right Understanding. Buddhism is based on knowledge and not on unreasonable belief.
2. Right Thoughts are threefold. They are:
1) The thoughts of renunciation which are opposed to sense-pleasures.
2) Kind Thoughts which are opposed to ill-will.
3) Thoughts of harmlessness which are opposed to cruelty. These tend to purify the
3. Right Speech deals with refraining from falsehood, stealing, slandering, harsh words and frivolous talks.
4. Right Action deals with refraining from killing, stealing and unchastity. It helps one to develop a character that is self-controlled and mindful of right of others.
5. Right Livelihood means earning one’s living in a way that is not harmful to others.
Five kinds of trades which should be avoided by a lay disciple: 1. trade in deadly weapons, 2. trade in animals for slaughter, 3. trade in slavery, 4. trade in intoxicants, 5. trade in poisons.
6. Right Effort is that taken to cultivate Good Conduct or develop one's mind, because one is otherwise often distracted or tempted to take the easy way out of things. It consists of the:
•Endeavor to discard evil that has already arisen. •Endeavor to prevent the arising of unrisen evil. •Endeavour to develop that good which has already arisen. •Endeavour to promote that good which has not already arisen.
The Buddha teaches that attaining happiness and Enlightenment depends upon one's own efforts. Effort is the root of all achievement.
If one wants to get to the top of a mountain, just sitting at the foot thinking about it will not bring one there. It is by making the effort of climbing up the mountain, step by step, that one eventually reaches the summit. Thus, no matter how great the Buddha's achievement may be, or how excellent His Teaching is, one must put the Teaching into practice before one can expect to obtain the desired result.
7. Right Mindfulness is the awareness of one's deeds, words and thoughts. It consists of:
•Mindfulness with regard to body •Mindfulness with regard to feeling •Mindfulness with regard to mind •Mindfulness with regard to mental objects.
8. Right Meditation
Meditation means the gradual process of training the mind to focus on a single object and to remain fixed upon the object without wavering. The constant practice of meditation helps one to develop a calm and concentrated mind and help to prepare one for the attainment of Wisdom and Enlightenment ultimately.
WHAT TO DO NOW
This summary gave you a perspective of the path and its steps.
Now it is important to go into sufficient specifics such that you can actually apply and live these.
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