Buddhist Eightfold Path
Buddhist concepts do not try to explain God, eternity or creation. They focus on helping us overcome worldly chaos by pointing the path of spirituality. We all seek freedom from pain. The Buddha realized why suffering occurs and mapped out a path to be liberated from it. This map consists of Four Noble Truths and the Eight-Fold Path.
Right View: The 4 Noble Truths
- Suffering exists in life. It usually occurs when we age, and when we are dying.
- To escape from suffering, we start dreaming about desires, which remain unfulfilled.
- Therefore, to end suffering we need to overcome illusion.
- The Buddhist Eight-Fold Path helps us overcome suffering.
Thus, the Right View consists of recognizing that desires cause suffering. So, to attain peace we need to overcome all material desires.
Negative thoughts such as vanity, arrogance, conceit, fraud, hypocrisy, jealousy, envy, hostility, ill-will and greed sow the seeds of suffering. To overcome these mental defilements, the Buddha advocated six methods:
- Restraining the senses.
- Using our skills and possessions to cultivate peace.
- Tolerating all kinds of adversity.
- Avoiding everything that is impure, and nurturing only the pure in the mind.
- Destroying mental defilements from the root.
- Developing skills to practise peacefulness.
We can create harm just by uttering inconsiderate words. Therefore, loving and kind speech is necessary to nurture love and overcome hatred. The Buddha recommended four types of speech to bring peace to all.
Honesty is the best policy.
Kind words can make us peacemakers. Our words will be valued and cherished if they create peace.
Comforting words can bring solace to the troubled mind.
We should speak only valuable and worthy words, according to the occasion.
We should evaluate our lifestyle to ensure that our means of livelihood enhances and does not hinder peace.
Habits that lead to suffering are ingrained in our minds. Therefore, to gain liberation, right effort is necessary.
We need to be mindful of our physical and mental states as much as possible. Read on to learn more about Right Mindfulness:
We need to focus on our body to move away from worldly distractions. Pay attention to your actions, movements and even breath. Realization of the miracle of our bodily existence can bring clarity and calmness.
Pay attention to your mental feelings, as they rise and fall. Follow your feelings as they originate, develop and decline. Understanding your feelings can help you overcome the habit of clinging.
Delve into your mind, observe your thoughts and realize the aim of your thoughts. This practice can help you overcome thoughts that lead to suffering.
There are five negative qualities that commonly afflict us. These are doubt, anxiety, laziness, ill-will and sensual desire. Observe these negativities objectively to overcome their effect.
Concentrate on the road to peace with single-mindedness. If you happen to fall, rise with renewed vigor. Right Concentration is all about continuing to stride with a one-pointed mind towards liberation from negativity and suffering.