Buddhism

A crash course in Buddhism | Buddhist teachings | The Noble Eightfold Path

The Noble Eightfold Path

The Buddhist Noble Eightfold Path is one of the most popular aspects of Buddhism because it is incredibly practical. Essentially, it’s a step-by-step guide to bringing happiness to yourself and others – it’s a self-help lover’s dream.

According to Kozak, the first step on the path, Right View, means “having a full understanding of the Four Noble Truths” and includes the ability to “experience things beyond conditioned experience.” Essentially, this stage involves striving to see the world without harmful preconceptions.

Right Resolve, the second stage, is about intentions – this stage involves moving away from an “I” centered life and towards a more selfless existence defined by compassion for others.

Then, right speech is exactly what you think it is: a commitment to use your power of speech to do good, not to use it to do harm. This includes avoiding lies, gossip, and even talking too much.

Good deed can be summed up by the old adage “Do no harm”, and it is a commitment to do good with your actions. This includes actions that affect the environment and yourself, in addition to those around you.

Right Livelihood means “avoiding harm by your work in the world, according to Kozak. Ask yourself a question to follow this step: Is what you do in life causing harm to others or to yourself?

Right effort reminds us to put in the right amount of effort to follow the Eightfold Path – not so much to hurt ourselves, but enough that we actually accomplish what we set out to do. Be prepared to put in the effort to get back on track when you slip.

Mindfulness means that you strive to live your life in the moment, not being too focused on the past or the future. It also touches on your need to examine how your mind engages with pain and desire – pay attention to yourself and your thoughts so you can change them if necessary.

Finally, right concentration involves practicing your ability to focus through exercises like meditation. This lays the foundation for mindfulness and disciplines the mind.

This is a simple introduction to the Eightfold Path. If you want a more in-depth look at the path, try “Buddhism 101.”