The Noble Eightfold Path: In Bullet Points

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Wisdom

  1. right understanding
  2. right thought

Morality

  1. right speech
  2. right action
  3. right livelihood

Mental Discipline

  1. right effort
  2. right mindfulness
  3. right meditation

Wisdom

  • Prajna (Sanskrit)
  • Acquired through cultivating truth from one’s experiences and not through intellectual prowess.
  • Matter of growing insight, not gaining knowledge.
  • Right understanding —> right view
  • Right thought —> right resolve

 Morality

  • Shila (Sanskrit)
  • Based on specific ethical precepts
    • Right speech —> not lying or slandering, etc.
    • Right action —> not stealing, killing, getting drunk, sexually irresponsible, etc.
    • Right livelihood —> doing work that assists oneself and others towards enlightenment.
      • Example: There are obvious occupations that would not be appropriate here such as crime or prostitution. The gray area… if you believe that right action involves  not getting drunk, then a job as a bartender or server may not be appropriate for you

 Mental Discipline

  • Samadhi (Sanskrit)
    • Also means concentration
  • Distinct from wisdom
  • Right effort —> determination to practice the dharma
  • Right mindfulness > completely present in each and every moment
    • Not brooding over the past or the future
  • Right meditation (or absorption) —> stilling the mind
    • One-pointedness of mind

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