Dharma 101: Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path. {eBooklet}

The Elephant Ecosystem

Every time you read, share, comment or heart you help an article improve its Rating—which helps Readers see important issues & writers win $$$ from Elephant. Learn more.

Views 10
Shares 1.0
Hearts 1.0
Comments 10
Editor's Pick 0.0
Total Ecosystem Rating 0.0
3 Do you love this article? Show the author your support by hearting.

Photo: zensquared

“Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” ~Buddha

The foundational teachings of Gautama the Buddha are these Four Noble Truths:

  1. Life consists of suffering.
  2. We suffer because we cling.
  3. There is a way out of this suffering.
  4. It’s called the Noble Eightfold Path.
For your entertainment and enlightenment, here are eight links to eight articles about the eight steps of the Eightfold Path. Which are actually not linear steps at all, but rather eight aspects to cultivate on the path toward full liberation.
The Eightfold Path is an unfolding process. Traditionally, the aspects are named: Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration. I prefer the adjective “wise,” which is used interchangeably with “right” by Dharma teachers.
Another way of looking at the eight steps comes from Buddhist teacher and author Stephen Batchelor: Appropriate Seeing, Appropriate Thinking, Appropriate Speaking, Appropriate Acting, Appropriate Working, Appropriate Engaging, Appropriate Recollecting, and Appropriate Concentrating.
May this little eBooklet be of benefit!

Wise View: see the unfolding of Life.

Wise Thought, also known as “Right View,” is the beginning and the end of the path; it simply means to see reality as it is. We grasp the truth of impermanence and understand the law of karma and karmic conditioning. Teachers can show the way, but you must see it for yourself. According to Osho, “Knowing means you open your eyes and you see. Knowledge means somebody else has opened his eyes and he has seen and he talks about it, and you simply go on gathering information. Knowing is possible only if your eyes are healed, then it is authentically your experience.”

Wise Intention: surrender and be kind.

The Buddha explained Wise, or Right, Intention as threefold: the intention of renunciation, the intention of goodwill and the intention of harmlessness… as opposed to three parallel kinds of wrong intention, those governed by desire, ill will and  harmfulness. Wise Intention is exemplified in this short poem. After thieves broke into his hut in 1079, Monk Ryōkan wrote:

At least the robbers
left this one thing behind —
moon in my window.

Wise Speech: say what is true and useful.

Buddha’s four classical teachings on Wise, or Right, Speech are to: abstain from false speech; not slander others; abstain from rude, impolite or abusive language; and not indulge in idle talk or gossip. This is easier said than done! Remember the Buddha-like advice of 18th century essayist Samuel Johnson: “Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not.”


Wise Action: do no harm.

Wise, or Right, Action means following the five precepts… but these are not the five Buddhist Commandments. Hold them lightly. Have discipline, but don’t beat yourself up when you falter. Stated positively, the five precepts ask us to (1) act with reverence for all forms of life, (2) be honest, (3) have integrity in relationships, (4) speak wisely, and (5) consume healthily.

Wise Livelihood: make work worthwhile.

The Buddha warns against careers that harm other beings and suggests that we avoid any occupation that would violate the principles of right speech and right action. He says, “The master of the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which; he simply pursues his vision of excellence in whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both.”

Wise Effort: never give up.

There are four Wise, or Right, Efforts, according to the dharma teachings: (1) Preventing the arising of unwholesome states; (2) Abandonment of any unwholesome states that have already arisen; (3) Cultivation of wholesome states that have not yet arisen; and (4) Keeping wholesome states that have already arisen. As wise old Sir Winston Churchill said, “Continuous effort—not strength or intelligence—is the key to unlocking our potential.”

Wise Mindfulness: be here now.

When the mind understands what causes suffering and what leads to happiness, mindfulness will naturally move toward happiness by letting go of clinging and craving. Paradoxically, this takes daily practice but also unfolds naturally. According to Mindfulness in Plain English, “Mindfulness alone has the power to reveal the deepest level of reality available to human observation. At this level of inspection, one sees the following: (a) all conditioned things are inherently transitory, (b) every worldly thing is, in the end, unsatisfying; and (c) there are really no entities  that are unchanging or permanent, only processes.”

Wise Concentration: focus on the path.

The eighth aspect of the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path, Wise Concentration, is to cultivate a mind that is not multitasking, but rather directed toward a single-pointed purpose. There are two categories of concentration: one-pointed focusing and moment-to-moment concentration (i.e., mindfulness). All forms of meditation employ both concentration and mindfulness; what varies is the emphasis on each and the specific technique of instruction.

Like elephant spirituality on Facebook.


Editor: Kate Bartolotta

The Elephant Ecosystem

Every time you read, share, comment or heart you help an article improve its Rating—which helps Readers see important issues & writers win $$$ from Elephant. Learn more.

Views 10
Shares 1.0
Hearts 1.0
Comments 10
Editor's Pick 0.0
Total Ecosystem Rating 0.0
3 Do you love this article? Show the author your support by hearting.

Read the Best Articles from October
You voted with hearts, comments, views and shares.

See Who Won

Michelle Margaret Fajkus

Michelle Margaret is a yogi, writer and teacher. Hers is the mind behind Yoga Freedom. Hailing from Austin, Texas, her home base since 2012 has been Lake Atitlán in the Guatemalan highlands where she lives with her husband, daughter and fur family. Michelle has been writing this column for elephant journal since 2010 and has also self-published several inspiring books. Michelle’s practice style incorporates hatha yoga asana, dharma/Buddhist teachings, pranayama/breathwork, yin, mindfulness, chakra balancing, mantra and meditation. Go on retreat with Michelle in Guatemala!


23 Responses to “Dharma 101: Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path. {eBooklet}”

  1. shaydewey says:

    Posted to elephant Spirituality Facebook page.

  2. […] morality means taking responsibility, not only of your life, but for the life of the world. From a Buddhist perspective, it means seeing yourself as not separate from all beings and things and acting […]

  3. […] Dharma 101: Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path. {eBooklet} (elephantjournal.com) […]

  4. […] Dharma 101: Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path. {eBooklet} (elephantjournal.com) […]

  5. […] Dharma 101: Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path. {eBooklet} (elephantjournal.com) Share this:SharePrintDiggLinkedInRedditTumblrStumbleUponEmailFacebookTwitterPinterestLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  6. […] Dharma 101: Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path. {eBooklet} (elephantjournal.com) […]

  7. […] a close, direct relationship with my teacher. That is my karma. What I do with it is part of my dharma. I have adopted many of his phrases over the years, as happens by osmosis when two people share […]

  8. […] Dharma 101: Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path. {eBooklet} (elephantjournal.com) […]

  9. […] item on that list of “wants” that no longer has any hold over you. This desire is the topic of the Buddha’s second noble truth, and it is the source of much of the suffering in our […]

  10. […] is burning enthusiasm to do your work (dharma), discipline, searing through challenges and holding yourself responsible for […]

  11. […] his first Noble Truth, the Buddha asserted that “life is […]

  12. […] whenever a 20-something yoga teacher spewed spiritual blah-blah. How much could one know about the Dharma after a one-year training course? All snarkiness aside, these young teachers in 2002, I thought, […]

  13. […] Buddhism and particularly in Zen, there is a deep connection between the way of nature and the human mind […]

  14. […] foundation of the Buddha Dharma,[13] consisted of the Four Noble truths and the observance of the Eightfold Path as a prescription for samsara.[14] According to the Four Noble Truths, (I) life is suffering, (II) […]

  15. […] supervisors and enforcers, jokingly called “dharma police” by residents, were given Japanese names like Yugen, Jokkai, Hakujo and did not hesitate to admonish […]

  16. […] I swear I thought it was yesterday, I thought it was last month. What the Dharma is teaching me is to try and prepare for the outcome. Work on the outcome. Don’t look this way or […]

  17. […] wasn’t always like that. In fact, he transformed from Don Anwaro to
 a Buddha with a six-pack, engaged to a woman he deeply loves. One day,
 out of the blue, his beating heart […]

  18. […] it’s more a marketing mechanism than any statement of belief. This feeling is compounded, erm, eightfold, when reading things like a (Buddha-themed) company that promises “your daily zen in a […]

  19. […] practicing dharma and learning to tame one’s uncontrolled mind and desired, the mind is represented as a white […]

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.