Noble Eightfold Path
Buddhism is one of the most worshiped religions and followed by hundreds of millions of people. Buddhism is mainly based on the principle of Dharma and encompasses various traditions, belief and practices which are based on the teachings of Lord Buddha . When Lord Buddha achieved Enlightenment in Bodh Gaya , he set out on a journey to help all sentient beings end their pain and free from all suffering known as Dukkha . Buddha gave his first preaching in Sarnath to Kaundinya and four other scholars who previously followed him thinking he would attain enlightenment . In Isipatana of Sarnath , he preached about Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta which includes Four Noble Truths and Noble Eightfold Path .
The Noble Eightfold Path is one of the principal teachings of Buddha which is about ending the suffering of life and achievement of self-awakening. The Noble Eightfold Path is the fourth truth of Noble Four Truths of Buddha teachings. It is also known as Middle way or Middle Path . The Noble Eightfold Path is represented by means of Dharma wheel which is also known as Dharmachakra .
Threefold Division of Noble Eightfold Path
The Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism can be categorized into three basic divisions, which is popularly known as Threefold Division . They are as follows:
The first division of three-fold division is Wisdom . Wisdom provides the sense to understand and see things as they really are. There are two eightfold factors in Wisdom .
Right View is also known as Samma Ditti or Complete Vision . Right View can be explained as eye that guides vision that directs all other factors. Right View literally means knowledge to end the suffering of life, knowledge of origin of suffering, knowledge of practice to end the suffering.
The second factor of Wisdom division is right intention . It is also known as Samma Sankappa . Samma Sankappa means intention, motivation, and purpose. Right Intention comes right after Right view . Understanding of right view helps to difference the actual meaning of right intention and bad intention. Lord Buddha mentioned the three kinds of right intentions .
- Intention of renunciation
- Intention of loving-kindness
- Intention of Compassion
• Moral Conduct
The Second Division of Noble Eightfold Path is Moral Conduct or Ethical Conduct . It states that it is necessary to prevent one from wrong speech and wrong actions since they are powerful tools that had the possibility to increase one’s suffering.
The first factor of Moral Conduct division of Buddhism is Right speech . Right speech is also known as Samma-vaca . Right Speech of Noble Eightfold Path refrains one from using any false speech, bad words, lying. Right Speech encourages one to always speak the truth.
Right action is also known as Samma-Kammanta which literal meaning is integral action or right conduct. Right Action states that one should never hurt other, criticize other, and should always well behave. One should never conduct any such action that will harm other and should not conduct sexual misconduct.
The final factor of Moral Conduct division of Middle Path is right livelihood . Right Livelihood is also known as Samma-Ajiva . Lord Buddha taught that one should not involve in such occupation or job that may or will cause harm and suffering to other. They should not involve any occupation that deal with the flesh, poisons, weapons & arms, slave trade & prostitution, liquors and drugs.
Concentration is the third division of Noble Eightfold Path and is believed to make one calm and collectedness to develop true wisdom. There are three Eightfold factors which can be achieved by concentrating on a single meditating object.
Right Effort can also be called Samma Vayama and can be translated as right endeavor and right diligence . It is the first factors of Concentration division of Middle Way . One who follows the path of Dharma must make an effort to lose all evil thoughts, speech, and action. Buddha mentioned four phases of efforts. They are:
- Make an Effort to prevent the unwholesome states from arising
- Make an Effort to abandon the unwholesome that arise
- Make an Effort to develop and arise the wholesome states
- Make an Effort to cultivate and maintain the wholesome states
Right Mindfulness is also known as Samma-Sati which means complete awareness . Right mindfulness states that one must constantly keep their mind to phenomena that may affect their body and mind. This means one must be aware of their thoughts, words, and action.
The last factors of Concentration division, as well as the Noble Eightfold Path , is Right Concentration . Right Concentration is also known as Samma-Samadhi . Buddha mentioned that any mind that is aware of all seven factors of Middle way which are right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort and right mindfulness is called Noble Right Concentration .
According the Buddhist tradition of Theravada School and Chinese Buddhist School, the Noble Eightfold Path or Middle Way was discovered by Lord Buddha when he was trying to achieve Enlightenment . These eight factors of Middle Path was taught by Buddha so that the people who follow Buddhist religion can follow so that they could lead to the state of self-awakening and liberation from worldly suffering and pain.