Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Home Syllabus Research Project Lectures Reviews

The Eightfold Path


According to the Buddha, there are eight disciplines that one must cultivate in order to reach Nirvana:
  • Right understanding/belief : Accept the validity of the four noble truths.

  •  Right thought/motives: Make sure that your actions, however good they may seem, are not motivated by fear, selfishness

  •  Right speech: Avoid gossip and harsh words. Be positive in your speech to others - and to yourself.

  •  Right Action: These include five precepts that all Buddhists are expected to follow:

    • Do not destroy life
    • Do not steal
    • Do not engage in immoral conduct
    • Do not lie
    • Do not use intoxicants)
  • Right Livelihood: Your way of making living should not violate 5 precepts.
  • Right Effort: One must work continually to overcome selfish desire and damaging thought processes.

  • Right Mindfulness:  This involves being aware of one's thoughts and feelings at every moment. It also involves realizing that thoughts and emotions are impermanent.

  • Right Meditation: One must practice quieting of the mind itself so that the true nature of everything comes into focus. Quieting and controlling the mind is perhaps the most difficult of the 8 disciplines.

Notice that an individual does not necessarily have to begin with the first component, master it and then move to the next discipline; rather one is able to make progress simultaneously on several disciplines. A spiritual guide or mentor may prescribe a specific order, but that order will vary according to the needs of the individual.

You should also see that the Eightfold Path divides into three major categories:

  • Virtue: (speech, action, livelihood)
  • Concentration (effort, mindfulness, meditation)
  • Discernment: (right view, understanding)
Taken together, the eight disciplines are a practical means for moving from ignorance to enlightenment.

Back Next