Tuesday, December 27, 2005

THE EIGHT FOLD PATH

The eight sections of the Path are not intended to be cultivated in the order they are given and the perfection of one stage is not required before another is begun. They must be regarded as a complete whole, requiring progress in all the sections. e practise and develop as we are able and progress in any section will lead to success in others. In it's entirety, the Eightfold Path, leads to the cultured mind, for when it is brought under control are we able to conquer greed, ill-will and delusion.

RIGHT UNDERSTANDING

Is the complete and perfect knowledge of the Four Noble Truths and their inter-relationship with each other.

RIGHT THOUGHTS

Are those free from lust, greed and desire; those free from hatred or ill-will'; those free from crueltly, unkindness or revenge. In the last analysis, it is the thoughts which promote our deeds and if the thinking is promoted to a high level of our deeds and actions will automatically respond. Thinking is the action of the mind and can cause bad karma just as much as physical deeds.

RIGHT SPEECH

Is the control of the tongue by right thought. Withholding oneself from untruthful, deceitful or harsh speech and from gossip or idle talk. In it's positive aspect, it means to speak kindly and with tenderness to others; to be modest in referring to oneself and abstain from self-exaltation.

RIGHT ACTION

Is not to take the lefe of any living creature; not to indulge in improper sex relations; not to steal the property of another. In it's fullest sense, it means to perform deeds which do not cause suffering of oneself and others.

RIGHT LIVELIHOOD

Is to avoid occupations, hobbies or trades which cause or lead to suffering for other beings. This would include those which do not permit the practice of right action. A disciple of the Buddha should not obtain his or her living by deceit, trickery, or usury. They should avoid the trade in arms and death-dealing weapons, flesh, intoxicating drinks and drugs or living beings. The guiding principle of Buddhism is to work for the happiness and welfare of mankind and not for it's sorrow.

RIGHT EFFORT

Is the endeavour we make to live a moral and blameless life. The Four Right Efforts are; to avoid evil not yet existing, to overcome evil which already exists, to develop good not yet exisiting, and the effort to preserve the good already developed.

RIGHT MINDFULNESS

Is to be constantly vigilant over our thoughts, speech, and actions. It is easier for us to do wrong when we are careless and thoughtless. We must cultivate an alertness of mind, which in controlling our conduct, will establish harmony and not discord.

RIGHT CONCENTRATION (or meditation)

Of all the gems of the Buddha's Teaching, this is the one of the greatest brilliance. Meditation is fairly new to the West but it has been known for thousands of years in the East. Already, however there are many who have discovered it's worth and the wonderful bliss of contentment it gives. It is unsurpassed as the means of obtaining the peace of mind which the wise are seeking to supplant the chaotic existence of modern living.

Concentration and meditation are synonymous in Buddhist Philosophy. Meditation is not, as some believe sitting quiet and letting the mind wander with the hope that some superior, or hereto unrevealed wisdom, will drift in. Buddhist meditation is the exact opposite. After the Buddhist apprentice has learned to it still and relaxed for a reasonable period, he/she learns to develop "one pointedness of mind". This means, training it to concentrate on one subject only, without jumping from idea to idea, like a monkey jumping from tree to tree.

The goal of most religions is either vague, ill-defined or without appeal to the modern mind. Heaven and Hell, Paradise and Purgatory, are the prducts of man's primitive past and served to account for mysteries which could not otherwise be explained. None of these concepts occur in Buddhist philosophy.

Scientific discoveries and advancing knowledge are playing havoc with legendary beliefs. As these, and many other ideas, crumble before the onslaught of science, we, observe, the astounding fact that the Dhamma (Buddha teachings), in spite of its ancient origin, is being vindicated. We are finding , more and more, that the discoveries over the last decade, were taught by the Buddha more than twenty-five centuries ago.

This however, will not surprise those who understand the profound depth of the phenomena of Enlightenment, or that the Buddha when He attained it, had insight into the facts of life which would naturally conform to the knowledge which science has unravelled.

The Buddha explained that, in simple language, that if we fulfill the obligations of morality, we would overcome the continual horror of rebirth. This morality is the Noble Eight Fold Path which leads to the end of greed, hatred and delusion. This is the goal and the Buddhists call it Nibbana, we call it Nirvana. It is not only a place where people go when they die or a land of departed spirits. It is a state of utter tranquility of the mind which we can enjoy in this life, leaving no conditions which will give rise to a new birth.

Buddhism, or the Buddhist way of life, may be described as, good conduct brought about by mind development and training and leading to Perfect Peace!




1 comment:

mita said...

The noble 8 fold path prescribed by Buddha for cessation of existential stress and suffering leads to supreme knowledge, wisdom and ultimate liberation...knowledge that unifies inner and outer experience, subject and object and spirit and science.