Sections of the Noble Eight Fold Path


We have been looking at the “Four Noble Truths” and are now heading into the “Noble Eightfold Path.” But before head out the gate and start the steps of the Path I want to break them down into their sections and how they relate to each other. Please note that the word RIGHT can also be translated into many different interpretations including “correct”, “wholesome”, “Perfect” and I will discuss that in a later posting.

The first section is Wisdom. Wisdom in Sanskrit it is called prajñā, and in Pāli the word is paññā. In this section there are two of the eight steps and they are as follows:

  1. Right Understanding
  2. Right Intention

The second section is Ethical behavior. The word for this in Sanskrit is śīla and in Pāli it is sīla. There are three steps here and they are as follows:

  1. Right Speech
  2. Right Action
  3. Right Livelihood

The final section is Concentration or Mindset. The word samādhi is exactly the same in both Sanskrit and Pāli. This section too has three steps and they are as follows:

  1. Right Effort
  2. Right Mindfulness
  3. Right Concentration
Sections Eightfold Path Steps
Wisdom (Sanskrit: prajñā, Pāli: paññā) 1. Right understanding
2. Right intention
Ethical conduct (Sanskrit: śīla, Pāli: sīla) 3. Right speech
4. Right action
5. Right livelihood
Concentration (Sanskrit and Pāli: samādhi) 6. Right effort
7. Right mindfulness
8. Right concentration

In Buddhism one teaching builds upon another. Here we see that to reach a higher state of wisdom we need to work on our understanding and intention. To behave in a more ethical way we need to develop our speech, action and make our living in a ethically responsible manner. For us to concentrate properly we must put in effort, be mindful and develop our concentration. One all three of the have been developed you will reach Enlightenment. But every journey starts with the first step and now that we are on this journey together I look forward to traveling with you. In the next article I will talk about “Right Understanding” in detail.

About fiercebuddhist

Welcome. I am happy that our paths have crossed. Here you will find various poems, articles and photography. I hope that you enjoy them and visit often. I am currently working on writing “A Haiku A Day” so that I can, perhaps, have enough good ones for publication. If you are wondering what a “Fierce Buddhist” the following declaration should clarify. The “Fierce” in FierceBuddhist I define as “an obligation to do what I can to benefit all sentient beings, not just those close to me or those I agree with. If I see something or someone that is hurting others I must step forward and do what I can to assist them.” In the Army and in the dojo I learned how to defend myself, family and country but that does not mean I endorse the use of force. Two nonviolent examples of Fierce Buddhists that come to mind are Thich Nhat Hanh and the Dalai Lama. While I do not claim be even close to them I can strive and so can you. Furthermore, my Buddhist name, given to me by Sensei Kubose, is Seiyo. His interpretation of my communication and interaction with him led him to this name. He told me Seiyo means “Fierce Sun.” The sun shines on everyone without prejudices without giving preferential treatment to anyone. This is tough to live up to, as you can imagine, but it sure sets the tone for my life. In Buddhism this is called a Fierce Bodhisattva. I am only on the path to Enlightenment and can only say to be a Fierce Buddhist.

4 responses »

  1. Pingback: Buddha’s Fourth Noble Truth – Magga, or the Eightfold Path | fiercebuddhist

  2. Pingback: April Fools Day « FierceBuddhist

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