The Noble Eight-fold Path
1. Right Understanding
2. Right Thought
3. Right Speech
4. Right Action
5. Right Livelihood
6. Right Effort
7. Right Mindfulness
8. Right Concentration
The Buddha offered these eight steps or actions to end Dukkha (suffering). The first two are wisdom paths. The next three, speech, action and livelihood relate to our ethical conduct. While effort, mindfulness and concentration speak to the attention and focus we need to develop to find and accept the wisdom available to each one of us.
Each of these paths have there own specific journey, though melded together create a single destination. That destination is not enlightenment but an understanding of why we suffer as humans and how to remedy that sensation.
Rather than give you my spin on each of these paths I encourage you explore them on your own if interested, either through books or the internet. Thich Nhat Hanh and Pema Chödrön are both wonderful writers and teachers worthy of exploring. Keep in mind, the premise of the Noble Eight-fold Path is much deeper than these eight simple statements so be prepared to think and reflect on each to grasp the deeper meaning and responsibility demanded of us.
For Christians, I have discovered that the Book of James is a wonderful companion piece to the Noble Eight-fold Path if read within the context of what the Buddha has laid out for us to follow. The entire book is broken into individual sections or lessons of how we should act, and react to our place on this earth, and how our faith should play a role in our actions.
“There are many, many Christians who practice Buddhism, and they become better and better Christians all the time.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
As my About page states I consider myself “A Buddhist with a bumper sticker on my truck to prove it.” I don’t state this to be flippant or cute (okay maybe a little cute), it is my way of sharing that I am on a journey (the truck as a metaphor) with much to learn, much to understand, and much to put into practice. My journey is a journey of discovery not only for answers but for questions as well. Too many people think they have all the answers while never understanding what the questions really are. Don’t believe me, just ask them.
“On a long journey of human life, faith is the best of companions; it is the best refreshment on the journey; and it is the greatest property.” – Gautama Buddha