The Noble Eightfold Path: In Bullet Points

Wisdom

  1. right understanding
  2. right thought

Morality

  1. right speech
  2. right action
  3. right livelihood

Mental Discipline

  1. right effort
  2. right mindfulness
  3. right meditation

Wisdom

  • Prajna (Sanskrit)
  • Acquired through cultivating truth from one’s experiences and not through intellectual prowess.
  • Matter of growing insight, not gaining knowledge.
  • Right understanding —> right view
  • Right thought —> right resolve

 Morality

  • Shila (Sanskrit)
  • Based on specific ethical precepts
    • Right speech —> not lying or slandering, etc.
    • Right action —> not stealing, killing, getting drunk, sexually irresponsible, etc.
    • Right livelihood —> doing work that assists oneself and others towards enlightenment.
      • Example: There are obvious occupations that would not be appropriate here such as crime or prostitution. The gray area… if you believe that right action involves  not getting drunk, then a job as a bartender or server may not be appropriate for you

 Mental Discipline

  • Samadhi (Sanskrit)
    • Also means concentration
  • Distinct from wisdom
  • Right effort —> determination to practice the dharma
  • Right mindfulness > completely present in each and every moment
    • Not brooding over the past or the future
  • Right meditation (or absorption) —> stilling the mind
    • One-pointedness of mind

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