The 8 Practices Buddhists Use To Find Peace & Happiness

It's one of the earliest forms of enlightenment.

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Looking for liberation? Look no further than Buddhism. In this sacred religion and lifestyle, there is a path laid out as the journey to enlightenment that encompasses the three essentials of Buddhism: moral conduct, mental discipline, and wisdom.

For those who practice Buddhism, the Eightfold Path helps lead one to liberation from samsara (wandering). But in order to reach Nirvana, one must first understand what the Eightfold Path is exactly.


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What is the Noble Eightfold Path?

According to the dictionary, the Eightfold Path is "the Buddhist teaching of the means of attaining Nirvana through rightness of belief, resolve, speech, action, livelihood, effort, thought, and meditation."


The Eightfold Path is a guide that is contemplated when each step is accepted as part of one’s life they seek. It consists of eight steps: right view/understanding, right resolve/intent/thought, right speech, right conduct/action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.

Indologist Tilmann Vetter explained that the Eightfold Path may have initially been as simple as the term "the Middle Way" and, over time, it was elaborated on. Vetter, as well as historian Rod Bucknell, also noted that longer descriptions of the Eighfold Path are found in earlier texts.

The Eightfold Path was used to teach people the Buddhist way of life and the path toward liberation or freedom. Several aspects include an ethical and balanced way.

For example, we experience a feeling inside that confirms the decision we made was correct when things go right. However, the Buddha also taught a shortened version of this within the fourth step called the Threefold Way. This path to Nirvana required three main approaches: ethics, meditation, and wisdom.


The Eightfold Path Of Buddhism & Meanings

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

Path 1: Right understanding (Samma ditthi)

This is 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. 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 Buddha101 shares.

Path 2: Right intent (Samma sankappa)

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


Path 3: Right speech (Samma vaca)

The third step 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 (Samma kammanta)

This step recognizes the need to take an 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: do not kill any living beings, avoid stealing, lying, sexual misconduct, and intoxication. In general, this step includes a different approach for us to take on the environment and to safeguard the world for future generations.


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Path 5: Right livelihood (Samma ajiva)

The fifth 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 in community service.

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

Path 6: Right effort (Samma vayama)

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, and should not be too slack or 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 (Samma sati)

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 on 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 (Samma samadhi)

In the 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 us 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 us 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 us suffering.

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Isabell Tenorio is a writer and Opinions Editor for The Pine Log. Her work focuses on astrology, pop culture, love, and relationships. Her work has also been featured in The Pine Log.