What Is The Eightfold Path Of Buddhism? Origins & Meaning

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What Is The Eightfold Path Of Buddhism? Origins & Meaning
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For those who practice Buddhism, there is the Eightfold Path that helps lead one to liberation from samsara (wandering), but what is the Eightfold Path exactly, and what are its origins?

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The Eightfold Path is meant to be a guide that is contemplated and added to when each step is accepted as part of one’s life they seek.

Several aspects include an ethical and balanced or middle way. For example, we experience a feeling inside that confirms the decision that was made was correct when things go right.

The Eightfold Path Of Buddhism Origins & Meaning

The Eightfold Path is integrated into one’s everyday life when deciding to be a Buddhist. Also known as the “middle way”, people seek simple approaches to life and turn away from extremes.

The Eightfold Path of Buddhism includes:

Path 1: Right Understanding

A significant step in the Eightfold Path as it relates to seeing the world in its true form, not as we want it to be or believe it to be. As mentioned on buddha101.com, the preparation for a journey is important, not just the journey itself.

To further understand, direct personal experience is what will get us closer to the Right Understanding of the world. Because “Knowing reality is of very little value if we don’t put it to personal use in our lives,” as the website shares.

Path 2: Right Intent

This is the step where we commit to the path. It shows us what life is about and what problems life can be composed of.

It urges us to decide what our heart wants and comes from the heart. This involves us recognizing equality and compassion of all life.

Path 3: Right Speech

In this step, it is a way for us to recognize the truth in words and how they impact who we direct them to. When we take the time to communicate thoughtfully, it helps to unite with others and can heal dissension. By agreeing to never speak unkindly or in anger, it helps to evolve our consideration and move us closer to everyday compassionate living.

Path 4: Right Action

This step recognizes the need to take the ethical approach to life and the world. It also includes not taking what is not given to us and having respect for agreements we make in our private and business lives.

Right Action encompasses the five precepts that were given by Buddha, which are not to kill, steal and lie, avoid sexual misconduct and not to take drugs or other intoxicants. In general, this step includes a different approach for us to take on the environment, and to safeguard the world for future generations.

Path 5: Right Livelihood

This step promotes the principle of equality of all living beings and respect for all life. Right Livelihood also implies that a Buddhist, who is able, will undertake some work either as part of a Buddhist community, in the workplace, or community service.

It is encouraged for all who follow the path to partake in all daily chores. This ensures whoever is on the path that they have gotten this far and to not be discouraged.

Path 6: Right Effort

In this step, it is encouraged to cultivate an enthusiastic positive attitude in a balanced way. The amount of effort put into this should not be too tense or too impatient, as well as not too slack or too laid back.

Be clear and honest with your thoughts, and you will be welcomed. Any feelings of jealousy and anger should be left behind.

Path 7: Right Mindfulness

In this step, it is somewhat trickier to grasp and may involve quite a change of thinking. But by being aware of the moment, and being focused in that moment, we can ask ourselves to be aware of the journey at that moment while also being clear and undistracted.

We should be closely linked with meditation and form the basis of meditation for ourselves. By being aware, we can see how old patterns and habits control us and we may see how fears of possible futures limit our present actions.

Path 8: Right Concentration

In this last step, we are to turn our minds to focus on an object, such as a flower or lit candle, or a concept such as compassion. This forms the next part of the meditation process.

It also helps one to select worthy directions for the mind to concentrate on one thing in nature, as all of nature is useful for concentration. When looking at it in a deeper sense, no object or concept may be necessary for further development.

This leads one to a feeling of calm and peace with the world. And by stopping to concentrate, a sense of joy overcomes the body while releasing the control of past pains and mind games that keep one suffering.

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Buddist Origins of the Eightfold Path

Indologist Tilmann Vetter explained that it may have initially been as simple as the term the middle way and over time, it elaborated in the description now. Vetter and historian Rod Bucknell also note that longer descriptions can be found in the early texts that have been condensed into the description of the eightfold path now.

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Isabell Tenorio is a writer who covers astrology, pop culture, love, and relationship topics.