The Buddhism 8 fold path is also called the Noble 8 fold path. Buddhism is an Indian religion founded by Siddhartha Gautama, and the faith follows his original teachings, which originated in ancient India. It is the fourth largest religion globally, which means over 7% of the world’s population, i.e., 520 million people follow the Buddhism religion.
The Buddhism 8 fold path is an early summary of all the Buddhist learnings or practices leading to the painful cycle of rebirth in the form of moksha (nirvana), which is the ultimate goal of the religion Buddhism.
It consists of eight practices: Right Speech, Right View, Right Conduct, Right Resolve, Right Mindfulness, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, and Right Consciousness (meditation).
These practices start by understanding how the body and mind work. The Buddhist path is entered by self-observance, self-restraint, and kindness and compassion. The religion includes reaching the peak of meditation which helps in implying these practices for the development of body-mind.
In Buddhist symbolism, the Noble 8 fold path is represented as the Dharma Chakra (wheel), in which the eight spokes represent all the eight elements of the Buddhism 8 fold path.
Origin of Buddhism 8 Fold Path
It is believed that the initial description of Buddhism 8 fold path might be “the middle way,” meaning that it turns from all kinds of extremes and always seek the simple approach. It is about avoiding the extremes in life, like self-satisfaction and self-mortification. By the noble eight-fold path, the middle way can be achieved.
The Buddhism 8 fold path is not working all the 8 aspects one by one but practicing them all together, at the same time. It is one of the principal teachings in the Buddhism culture.
The 8 Fold Path Divisions
The Eight Buddhist practices are Right Speech, Right View, Right Conduct, Right Resolve, Right Mindfulness, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, and Right Consciousness (meditation).
Right Speech (Samma-Vaca)
The Buddhist text says there are four self-restraints for the Right Speech. Restraints from (i) abusive, rude, impolite, or harmful communication, (ii) lying, (iii) divisive conversation, i.e., words that are not uplifting to others, and (iv) irrelevant speech, gossip, or idle chatter. This is the true meaning of Right Speech according to the Buddhism 8 fold path.
The communications done verbally should come from a mind of a person with kindness. When a person practices and abstains from those mentioned above, speaking truth comes naturally to the person, but it needs to be truthful, meaningful, gentle, and sweet. If the person cannot say something soft and genuine, one should maintain “noble silence.”Walking on this path and practicing the Right Speech helps you come closer to the life of living compassionately every day.
Right View (Samma-Ditthi)
Right View is also known as Right Understanding. Right View is about the clear understanding of the nature of reality and suffering. Buddhism believes that all our actions have consequences, death is not the end, but all our actions and beliefs have consequences after our death. The whole purpose of the Right View is to clear us from all the confusion and misunderstandings and gain the right understanding of reality.
Right View is the clear knowledge of the Four Noble Truths – (i) dukkha (suffering), (ii) samudaya (arising of suffering), (iii) nirodha (ending of the suffering), which are the “diseases” and (iv) magga (cure) which is the Buddhism 8 fold path.
Right Conduct (Samma-Kammanta)
Right Conduct is also known as Right Action. With Right Speech, Right Conduct comes hand in hand. Good thoughts and gentle speech lead to actions of the same kind; actions that are not hurtful but soft and engaging are good conduct.
Right Conduct means actions that do not cause any harm, a life based on principles of non-exploitation to oneself and others. Such as not stealing, taking life, and not engaging in sexual misconduct. With this slowly eliminating these evil practices, verbal or non-verbal, these emotions will not be found in the body and have no route to express themselves.
Right Resolve (Samma-Sankappa)
Right Resolve is also known as Right Thought. The Buddhism 8 fold path says that in Right Resolve, the person leaves his home and claims his life in the open world and dedicates himself to the life of discipline and no self-indulgences practices. The right thoughts will only lift the person higher in life.
In Buddhism 8 fold path, Right Resolve in particular is Renunciation (Nekkhamma) which means refusing all worldly desires, Loving-Kindness (Metta), which means being good towards everyone, including yourself, Harmlessness, or compassion (Avihimsa), which means being opposed to all kinds of cruelty.
Right Mindfulness (Samma-Sati)
Right Mindfulness is about being completely aware of one’s body, feelings, mind, reality, and qualities. It is about constantly watching and observing your thoughts, feelings, and even your imaginations.
Right Mindfulness helps you be aware of your six senses which one needs in this path. It also helps you in examining your feelings which arises when you become aware of your feelings.
Right Livelihood (Samma-Ajiva)
Right Livelihood is about ethical and sound living. Without harming anyone, including the environment and all kinds of beings, that is Right Livelihood. The Buddhism culture says that these five kinds of jobs or trade are NOT Right Livelihood.
- Weapons productions
- Animal slaughter
- Producing drugs or alcohol, cigarettes, or anything is known to be bad for a conscious being.
- Human slavery
- Producing pollution or poison, or harmful substances
Right Effort (Samma-Vayama)
In the Noble 8 fold path, Right Effort means consciously directing your life’s energy into skillful thoughts, words, healing actions, and reject unskilful ones.
In the Buddhism culture, leading a life of purity and spirituality is the ultimate goal. Right Effort means developing good habits and practices such as Right Mindfulness and other positive acts in your daily life and just occasionally.
Right Concentration (Samma-Samadhi)
Right Concentration includes practicing all the seven aspects described above. This aspect is about the enlightenment in Buddhism.
Also known as Right Meditation, it is about having total focus and deep concentration. At the beginning of meditation, there will be all kinds of distractions in your mind, called the “monkey mind.” But with practice and determination, you will find it easier to focus your mind.