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Noble Eightfold Path of buddhism for FREE in eBook format


The Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism for you FREE to Download

The Noble Eightfold Path, according to Buddhism and as taught by Gautama Buddha, is the way to the cessation of suffering, the fourth part of the Four Noble Truths. It is summarized into three important categories: wisdom (pañña), virtue (sila), and concentration (samadhi).

The following is An Analysis of the Path, a sutra or discourse delivered by Gautama Buddha from the Tipitaka, explaining this Noble Eightfold Path in detail. In all these, the word "right" is a translation of the word samma (Pali; Sanskrit: Samyañc), which denotes completion, togetherness, or coherence, and which can also carry the sense of "perfect" or "ideal".

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Wisdom (pañña)

1. Right Understanding (or Right View, or Right Perspective) - samma ditthi

"And what, monks, is right understanding? Knowledge with regard to sadness, knowledge with regard to the origination of sadness, knowledge with regard to the stopping of sadness, knowledge with regard to the way of practice leading to the stopping of sadness: This, monks, is called right understanding.

Right view is the beginning and the end of the path, it simply means to see and to understand things as they really are and to realize the Four Noble Truth. As such, right view is the cognitive aspect of wisdom. It means to see things through, to grasp the impermanent and imperfect nature of worldly objects and ideas, and to understand the law of karma and karmic conditioning. Right view is not necessarily an intellectual capacity, just as wisdom is not just a matter of intelligence. Instead, right view is attained, sustained, and enhanced through all capacities of mind. It begins with the intuitive insight that all beings are subject to suffering and it ends with complete understanding of the true nature of all things. Since our view of the world forms our thoughts and our actions, right view yields right thoughts and right actions.

Virtue (Ethical Conduct) (sila)

2. Right Thought (or Right Intention, or Right Resolve) - samma sankappa

"And what is right thought? Being resolved on renunciation, on freedom from ill will, on harmlessness: This is called right thought.

In Sanskrit, sila is a term in Indian-derived systems such as Hinduism and Buddhism which is usually rendered into English as "behavioral discipline," "morality," or "ethics" (Tibetan tshul khrims). More specifically, the concept deals with the prohibitions against immoral behavior that are practiced by monks and nuns in Buddhism. It is one of the "three practices", the second paramita: moral purity, of thought, word, and deed. The four conditions of sila are chaste, calm, quiet, extinguishment, i.e. no longer being susceptible to be perturbed by the passions.

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 mind.


3. Right Speech - samma vaca

"And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, abstaining from divisive speech, abstaining from abusive speech, abstaining from idle chatter: This, monks, is called right speech.

This contains four aspects.

  1. Abstinence from false speech, that is, from lying - instead making an effort to speak truthfully.
  2. Abstinence from slanderous speech, statements intended to divide or create enmity between people. Instead the follower of the path should always speak words which promote friendship and harmony between people.
  3. Absinence from harsh speech, from speech which is angry and bitter, which cuts into the hearts of others. Instead one's speech should always be soft, gentle and affectionate.
  4. Abstinence from idle chatter, from gossip. Instead one should speak words which are meaningful, significant and purposeful.

4. Right Action - samma kammanta

"And what, monks, is right action? Abstaining from taking life, abstaining from stealing, abstaining from unchastity: This, monks, is called right action.

Wrong Actions are actions of killing and harming, theft and sexual misconduct (eg. adultery) Right Actions are their opposites; actions of healing & helping, actions of generosity and actions of sensual restraint (or loving conduct in the context of a wholesome relationship.)

5. Right Livelihood - samma ajiva

"And what, monks, is right livelihood? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones, having abandoned dishonest livelihood, keeps his life going with right livelihood: This, monks, is called right livelihood.

Wrong Livelihood is any way of making a living that causes suffering to others. The Buddha listed five trades as particularly unwholesome; dealing in animals for slaughter, human slaves, poisons, weapons and intoxicants. Right Livelihood is any profession or trade that does not cause suffering and is conducted honestly and to the best of one's ability.

Concentration (Mental Development) (samadhi)


6. Right Effort (or Right Endeavour) - samma vayama

  • There is the case where a monk generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the non-arising of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen.
  • He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the abandonment of evil, unskillful qualities that have arisen(rejects ineptitude).
  • He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the arising of skillful qualities that have not yet arisen.(hopes)
  • He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence (tries), upholds & exerts his intent for the maintenance (strives), non-confusion (concentrates), increase (grows), plenitude (achieves), development (branches out), & culmination (flowers in) of skillful qualities that have arisen: This, monks, is called right effort."

Right effort (meditation). This is needed to think about what one says and does. By re-training the mind to surpass the moment we can overcome dukkha.

Right effort can be seen as a prerequisite for the other principles of the path. Without effort, which is in itself an act of will, nothing can be achieved, whereas misguided effort distracts the mind from its task, and confusion will be the consequence. Mental energy is the force behind right effort; it can occur in either wholesome or unwholesome states. The same type of energy that fuels desire, envy, aggression, and violence can on the other side fuel self-discipline, honesty, benevolence, and kindness. Right effort is detailed in four types of endeavors that rank in ascending order of perfection: 1. to prevent the arising of unarisen unwholesome states, 2. to abandon unwholesome states that have already arisen, 3. to arouse wholesome states that have not yet arisen, and 4. to maintain and perfect wholesome states already arisen.

7. Right Mindfulness - samma sati

"And what, monks, is right mindfulness?

  • There is the case where a monk remains focused on (his/her) body in & of itself... ardent, aware, & mindful...putting away greed & distress with reference to the world.
  • (He/she) remains focused on feelings in & of themselves...ardent, aware, & mindful...putting away greed & distress with reference to the world.
  • (He/she) remains focused on the mind in & of itself...ardent, aware, & mindful...putting away greed & distress with reference to the world.
  • (He/she) remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves...ardent, aware, & mindful...putting away greed & distress with reference to the world. This, monks, is called right mindfulness."

Right Mindfulness means to cherish good and pure thoughts, for all that we say and do arises from our thoughts.

8. Right Concentration - samma samadhi

"And what, monks, is right concentration?

  • There is the case where a monk...not ardent, quite withdrawn from sensuality, but mindful and alert, enters in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from detachment, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation.
  • With the stilling of directed thought & evaluation, he enters & remains in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of concentration; fixed single-pointed awareness free from directed thought & evaluation; assurance.
  • With the fading of rapture, he remains in equanimity, mindful & fully aware, and physically sensitive of pleasure. He enters & remains in the third jhana which the Noble Ones declare to be "Equanimous & mindful, (he/she) has a pleasurable abiding."
  • With the abandoning of pleasure & pain...as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress...he enters & remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither in pleasure nor in pain. This, monks, is called right concentration."

Right Meditation means to concentrate on the Oneness of all life and the Buddhahood that exists within all beings.

Samadhi, or concentration of the mind, is the second of the three parts of the Buddha's teaching: sila or conduct, samadhi or samatha (concentration), and vipassana (insight or wisdom). It has been taught by the Buddha using 40 different objects of meditation, such as mindfulness of breathing (anapanasati). Upon development of samadhi, one's mind becomes purified of defilements, calm, tranquil, and luminous. Once the meditator achieves a strong and powerful concentration, one's mind is ready to penetrate and see into the ultimate nature of reality, eventually obtaining release from all suffering. In the language of the eight-fold path, samatha is "right concentration".

Important components of samatha meditation, frequently discussed by the Buddha, are the meditative states known as the jhanas. The Buddhist suttas mention that samadhi practitioners may develop "supranormal" powers (and list several that the Buddha developed), but warn that these should not be allowed to distract the practitioner from the larger goal of complete freedom from suffering.

Click HERE to download The Noble Eightfold Path for FREE !

The Noble Eightfold Path — by Bhikkhu Bodhi

"One of the best explanations of the Eightfold path in print today!" The present book aims at contributing towards a proper understanding of the Noble Eightfold Path by investigating its eight factors and their components to determine exactly what they involve. Bhikkhu Bodhi is concise, using as the framework for his exposition the Buddha's own words in explanation of the path factors, as found in the Sutta Pitaka of the Pali Canon.


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