Noble Eightfold Path

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Noble Eightfold Path
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{{short description|An early summary of the path of Buddhist practices leading to liberation from samsara}}{{Redirect|Eightfold Path}}{{Use dmy dates|date=September 2010}}File:Dharmachakra.jpg|thumb|right|238px|The eight spoke Dharma wheel symbolizes the Noble Eightfold Path]]{{Buddhist term|title= The Noble Eightfold Path|sa=आर्याष्टाङगमार्ग|sa-Latn=āryāṣṭāṅgamārga|pi=अरिय अट्ठङगिक मग्ग|pi-Latn=ariya aṭṭhaṅgika magga|gu=આર્ય અષ્ટાંગ માર્ગ|gu-Latn=āryā aṣṭāṅga mārga|bn=অটাঙ্গিক আর্য মার্গ|bn-Latn=Aṭāṅgika ārya mārga|my=မဂ္ဂင်ရှစ်ပါး|my-Latn=mɛʔɡɪ̀ɴ ʃɪʔ pá|jp=Rimbo! style="background:#eee; text-align:center;" | Division'''!! style="background:#eee; text-align:center;" |Eightfold Path factors
八正道)八正道)|ja-Latn=Hasshōdōអរិយដ្ឋង្គិកមគ្គ)|km-Latn=areyadthangkikameak팔정도)|ko-Latn=Paljeongdoආර්ය අෂ්ටා◌ගික මාර්ගය)อริยมรรคมีองค์แปด)|th-Latn=Ariya Mak Mi Ong Paetwylie_transliteration>Wylie: ‘phags pa’i lam yan lag brgyad paTHL: pakpé lam yenlak gyépa|mn=|mn-Latn=qutuγtan-u naiman gesigün-ü mör|vi=Bát chính đạo}}{{buddhism}}The Noble Eightfold Path (Pali: }}; Sanskrit: }})Brekke, Torkel. "The Religious Motivation of the Early Buddhists." Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Vol. 67, No. 4 (Dec., 1999), p. 860 is an early summary of the path of Buddhist practices leading to liberation from samsara, the painful cycle of rebirth.{{Sfn|Gethin|1998|pp=81-83}}{{sfn|Anderson|2013|pp=64-65}}The Eightfold Path consists of eight practices: right view, right resolve, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right samadhi ('meditative absorption or union').{{sfn|Vetter|1988|p=11-14}} In early Buddhism, these practices started with understanding that the body-mind works in a corrupted way (right view), followed by entering the Buddhist path of self-observance, self-restraint, and cultivating kindness and compassion; and culminating in dhyana or samadhi, which re-inforces these practices for the development of the body-mind.{{sfn|Vetter|1988}}{{sfn|Gethin|1992}}{{sfn|Gethin|2004}}{{sfn|Arbel|2017}} In later Buddhism, insight (Prajñā) became the central soteriological instrument, leading to a different concept and structure of the path,{{sfn|Vetter|1988}}{{sfn|Bronkhorst|1993}} in which the "goal" of the Buddhist path came to be specified as ending ignorance and rebirth.{{sfn|Raju|1985|p=147–151}}{{sfn|Eliot|2014|p=39–41}}{{sfn|Harvey|2016|p=253–255}}{{sfn|Anderson|2013|pp=64-65}}{{sfn|Bhikkhu Bodhi|2010|p=1-13}}{{Sfn|Paul Williams|Anthony Tribe|Alexander Wynne|2012|p=52}}The Noble Eightfold Path is one of the principal teachings of Theravada Buddhism, taught to lead to Arhatship.BOOK, Harvey, Peter, An introduction to Buddhist ethics : foundations, values and issues, 2000, Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, 0-521-55394-6, 123–4, In the Theravada tradition, this path is also summarized as sila (morality), samadhi (meditation) and prajna (insight). In Mahayana Buddhism, this path is contrasted with the Bodhisattva path, which is believed to go beyond Arahatship to full Buddhahood.In Buddhist symbolism, the Noble Eightfold Path is often represented by means of the dharma wheel (dharmachakra), in which its eight spokes represent the eight elements of the path.

Etymology and nomenclature

The Pali term {{IAST|ariya aṭṭhaṅgika magga}} () is typically translated in English as "Noble Eightfold Path". This translation is a convention started by the early translators of Buddhist texts into English, just like ariya sacca is translated as Four Noble Truths.{{sfn|Williams|2002|p=41}}{{Sfn|Buswell|Lopez|2003|p=66}} However, the phrase does not mean the path is noble, rather that the path is {{em|of the noble people}} ( meaning 'enlightened, noble, precious people').{{sfn|Williams|2002|p=52}} The term magga (Sanskrit: mārga) means "path", while aṭṭhaṅgika (Sanskrit: aṣṭāṅga) means "eightfold". Thus, an alternate rendering of ariya aṭṭhaṅgika magga is "eightfold path of the noble ones",{{sfn|Anderson|2013|pp=64-65}}{{Sfn| Buswell|2004|p=296}}BOOK, Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, Everyday Consciousness and Primordial Awareness,weblink 2007, Snow Lion, 978-1-55939-973-9, 80, or "eightfold Aryan Path".BOOK, Mkhas-grub Dge-legs-dpal-bzaṅ-po, José Ignacio Cabezón, A Dose of Emptiness: An Annotated Translation of the sTong thun chen mo of mKhas grub dGe legs dpal bzang,weblink 1992, State University of New York Press, 978-0-7914-0729-5, 214, BOOK, Chögyam Trungpa, The Heart of the Buddha,weblink 2010, Shambhala Publications, 978-0-8348-2125-5, 119, All eight elements of the Path begin with the word samyañc (in Sanskrit) or sammā (in Pāli) which means "right, proper, as it ought to be, best".BOOK, Thomas William Rhys Davids, William Stede, Pali-English Dictionary,weblink 1921, Motilal Banarsidass, 978-81-208-1144-7, 695–696, The Buddhist texts contrast samma with its opposite miccha.

The Eightfold Path


{{See also|Buddhist paths to awakening}}According to Indologist Tilmann Vetter, the description of the Buddhist path may initially have been as simple as the term the middle way.{{sfn|Vetter|1988}} In time, this short description was elaborated, resulting in the description of the eightfold path.{{sfn|Vetter|1988}} Tilmann Vetter and historian Rod Bucknell both note that longer descriptions of "the path" can be found in the early texts, which can be condensed into the eightfold path.{{sfn|Vetter|1988}}{{sfn|Bucknell|1984}}{{refn|group=note|One of those longer sequences, from the CulaHatthipadopama-sutta, the "Lesser Discourse on the Simile of the Elephant's Footprints", is as follows:{{sfn|Bucknell|1984|p=11-12}}
  1. Dhammalsaddhalpabbajja: A layman hears a Buddha teach the Dhamma, comes to have faith in him, and decides to take ordination as a monk;
  2. sila: He adopts the moral precepts;
  3. indriyasamvara: He practises "guarding the six sense-doors";
  4. sati-sampajanna: He practises mindfulness and self-possession (actually described as mindfulness of the body, kāyānussatti);
  5. jhana 1: He finds an isolated spot in which to meditate, purifies his mind of the hindrances (nwarana), and attains the first rupa-jhana;
  6. jhana 2: He attains the second jhana;
  7. jhana 3: He attains the third jhana;
  8. jhana 4: He attains the fourth jhana;
  9. pubbenivasanussati-nana: he recollects his many former existences in samsara;
  10. sattanam cutupapata-nana: he observes the death and rebirth of beings according to their karmas;
  11. dsavakkhaya-nana: He brings about the destruction of the dsavas (cankers), and attains a profound realization of (as opposed to mere knowledge about) the four noble truths;
  12. vimutti: He perceives that he is now liberated, that he has done what was to be done.
A similar sequence can be found in the Sāmaññaphala-sutta.}}

The Eight Divisions

The eight Buddhist practices in the Noble Eightfold Path are:{{sfn|Vetter|1988|p=12-13}}{{refn|group=note|See also Majjhima Nikaya 44, Culavedalla Sutta}}
  1. Right View: our actions have consequences, death is not the end, and our actions and beliefs have consequences after death. The Buddha followed and taught a successful path out of this world and the other world (heaven and underworld/hell).{{sfn|Vetter|1988|p=12; 77-79}}{{sfn|Velez de Cea|2013|p=54}}{{sfn|Wei-hsün Fu|Wawrytko|1994|p=194}}Victor Gunasekara, The Pāyāsi Sutta: A Commentary and Analysis{{refn|group=note|Quotes: Vetter: "Compare AN 10.17.10 (Nal. ed. IV p. 320,26): "He has the right views (sammiiditthiko hotz), he does not see things in a wrong way: that which is given exists, that which is sacrificed exists, that which in poured (into the fire) exists, the fruit, i.e. retribution for good and evil actions, exists, the world, here, exists, the other world exists, the mother exists, the father exists, beings who appear (spontaneously) exist, in the world ascetics and brahmans exist who have gone and followed the right path and who describe this world and the other world from their own experience and realization." Wei-hsün Fu and Wawrytko: "In the Theravada Buddhist Canon, many episodes appear where the Buddha emphasizes that accepting the reality of an afterlife is a part of having the Right View, the initial wisdom that one must have in pursuit of [...]"{{sfn|Wei-hsün Fu|Wawrytko|1994|p=194}}}} Later on, right view came to explicitly include karma and rebirth, and the importance of the Four Noble Truths, when "insight" became central to Buddhist soteriology.{{sfn|Vetter|1988|p=77}}{{sfn|Harvey|2013|p=83-84}}
  2. Right Resolve or Intention: the giving up home and adopting the life of a religious mendicant in order to follow the path; this concept aims at peaceful renunciation, into an environment of non-sensuality, non-ill-will (to loving kindness), away from cruelty (to compassion).{{Sfn|Harvey|2013|p=83}} Such an environment aids contemplation of impermanence, suffering, and non-Self.{{Sfn|Harvey|2013|p=83}}
  3. Right Speech: no lying, no rude speech, no telling one person what another says about him.{{sfn|Vetter|1988|p=12-13}}
  4. Right Conduct or Action: no killing or injuring, no taking what is not given, no sexual acts, no material desires.{{Sfn|Vetter|1988|p=12-13}}
  5. Right Livelihood: beg to feed, only possessing what is essential to sustain life;{{Sfn|Vetter|1988|p=12-13}}
  6. Right Effort: preventing the arising of unwholesome states, and generating wholesome states, the bojjhagā (seven factors of awakening). This includes indriya-samvara, "guarding the sense-doors," restraint of the sense faculties.{{sfn|Harvey|2013|p=83}}
  7. Right Mindfulness (sati; Satipatthana; Sampajañña): "retention," being mindful of the dhammas ("teachings," "elements") that are beneficial to the Buddhist path.{{sfn|Sharf|2014|p=942-943}}{{refn|group=note|According to Frauwallner, mindfulness was a means to prevent the arising of craving, which resulted simply from contact between the senses and their objects; this may have been the Buddha’s original idea;{{sfn|Williams|2000|p=45}} compare Buddhadasa, Heartwood of the Bodhi-tree, on Pratītyasamutpāda; and Grzegorz Polak (2011), Reexamining Jhana: Towards a Critical Reconstruction of Early Buddhist Soteriology, p.153-156, 196-197.}} In the vipassana movement, sati is interpreted as "bare attention": never be absent minded, being conscious of what one is doing;{{sfn|Sharf|2014|p=941}} this encourages the awareness of the impermanence of body, feeling and mind, as well as to experience the five aggregates (skandhas), the five hindrances, the four True Realities and seven factors of awakening.{{Sfn|Harvey|2013|p=83}}
  8. Right samadhi (Passaddhi; Ekaggata; sampasadana): practicing four stages of dhyāna ("meditation"), which includes samadhi proper in the second stage, and reinforces the development of the bojjhagā, culminating into upekkha (equanimity) and mindfulness.{{sfn|Polak|2011}}{{sfn|Arbel|2017}} In the Theravada tradition and the Vipassana movement, this is interpreted as ekaggata, concentration or one-pointedness of the mind, and supplemented with Vipassana-meditation, which aims at insight.


Following the Noble Eightfold Path leads to liberation in the form of nirvana:{{Sfn|Lopez|2009|p=136-137}}BOOK, Stephen J. Laumakis, An Introduction to Buddhist Philosophy,weblink 2008, Cambridge University Press, 978-1-139-46966-1, 150–151, HTTP://WWW.CBETA.ORG/RESULT/NORMAL/T02/0099_012.HTM >TITLE=SAMYUKTA AGAMA, SUTRA NO. 287, TAISHO VOL 2, PAGE 80

Threefold division

The Noble Eightfold Path is sometimes divided into three basic divisions, as follows:{{sfn|Prebish|2000|p=40}}{| class="wikitable"
Moral virtue{{Sfn2013śīla, Pāli: sīla)>3. Right speech
4. Right action
5. Right livelihood
Meditation{{Sfn2013samādhi) >6. Right effort
7. Right mindfulness
8. Right concentration
Insight, wisdom (Sanskrit: ''Wisdom in Buddhism, Pāli: paññā'')>1. Right view
2. Right resolve
This order is a later development, when discriminating insight (prajna) became central to Buddhist soteriology, and came to be regarded as the culmination of the Buddhist path.{{sfn|Vetter|1988|p=13}} Yet, Majjhima Nikaya 117, MahācattārÄ«saka Sutta, describes the first seven practices as requisites for right samadhi. According to Vetter, this may have been the original soteriological practice in early Buddhism.{{sfn|Vetter|1988}}"Moral virtues" (Sanskrit: śīla, Pāli: sÄ«la) group consists of three paths: right speech, right action and right livelihood.{{Sfn|Harvey|2013|p=83-84}} The word śīla though translated by English writers as linked to "morals or ethics", states Bhikkhu Bodhi, is in ancient and medieval Buddhist commentary tradition closer to the concept of discipline and disposition that "leads to harmony at several levels â€“ social, psychological, karmic and contemplative".{{Sfn|Bhikkhu Bodhi|2010|p=47-48}} Such harmony creates an environment to pursue the meditative steps in the Noble Eightfold Path by reducing social disorder, preventing inner conflict that result from transgressions, favoring future karma-triggered movement through better rebirths, and purifying the mind.{{Sfn|Bhikkhu Bodhi|2010|p=47-48}}{{Sfn|Spiro|1982|p=44-48}}The meditation group ("samadhi") of the path progresses from moral restraints to training the mind.{{Sfn|Bhikkhu Bodhi|2010|p=65}}{{Sfn|Spiro|1982|p=44-53}} Right effort and mindfulness calm the mind-body complex, releasing unwholesome states and habitual patterns and encouraging the development of wholesome states and non-automatic responses, the bojjhagā (seven factors of awakening). The practice of dhyana reinforces these developments, leading to upekkha (equanimity) and mindfulness.{{sfn|Polak|2011}}{{sfn|Arbel|2017}} According to the Theravada commentarial tradition and the contemporary Vipassana movement, the goal in this group of the Noble Eightfold Path is to develop clarity and insight into the nature of reality â€“ dukkha, anicca and anatta, discard negative states and dispel avidya (ignorance), ultimately attaining nirvana.BOOK, Kevin Trainor, Buddhism: The Illustrated Guide,weblink 2004, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-517398-7, 74, In the threefold division, prajna (insight, wisdom) is presented as the culmination of the path, whereas in the eightfold division the path starts with correct knowledge or insight, which is needed to understand why this path should be followed.{{sfn|Anderson|2013}}

Tenfold Path

In the Mahācattārīsaka SuttaWEB,weblink Taisho Tripitaka Vol. 2, No. 99, Sutra 785, 28 October 2008, Cbeta,weblink" title="">weblink 23 September 2008, yes, dmy-all, which appears in the Chinese and Pali canons, the Buddha explains that cultivation of the noble eightfold path of a learner leads to the development of two further paths of the Arahants, which are right knowledge, or insight (sammā-ñāṇa), and right liberation, or release (sammā-vimutti).{{Sfn|Choong|2000|p=141}} These two factors fall under the category of wisdom (paññā).{{Sfn|Fuller|2005|p=55-56}}The Noble Eightfold Path, in the Buddhist traditions, is the direct means to nirvana and brings a release from the cycle of life and death in the realms of samsara.{{Sfn|Lopez|1995|p=159}}{{Sfn| Hirakawa|1990|p=41}}

Further explanation

Right view

{{See also|View (Buddhism)}}"Right view" ({{IAST|samyak-dṛṣṭi}} / {{IAST|sammā-diṭṭhi}}) or "right understanding"{{sfn|Gunaratana|2001|p=11}} explicates that our actions have consequences, that death is not the end, that our actions and beliefs also have consequences after death, and that the Buddha followed and taught a successful path out of this world and the other world (heaven and underworld or hell).{{sfn|Vetter|1988|p=12; 77-79}}{{sfn|Velez de Cea|2013|p=54}}{{sfn|Wei-hsün Fu|Wawrytko|1994|p=194}} Majjhima Nikaya 117, Mahācattārīsaka Sutta, a text from the Pāli Canon, describes the first seven practices as requisites of right samadhi, starting with right view:}} There are fruits, and results of good and bad actions. There is this world and the next world. There is mother and father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are contemplatives and brahmans who faring rightly and practicing rightly, proclaim this world and the next after having directly known and realized it for themselves.' This is the right view with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions.{{Sfn|Vetter|1988|p=12 with footnote 4}}}}Later on, right view came to explicitly include karma and rebirth, and the importance of the Four Noble Truths, when "insight" became central to Buddhist soteriology.{{sfn|Vetter|1988|p=77}} This presentation of right view still plays an essential role in Theravada Buddhism.{{sfn|Harvey|2013|p=83-84}}The purpose of right view is to clear one's path from confusion, misunderstanding, and deluded thinking. It is a means to gain right understanding of reality.BOOK, George Chryssides, Margaret Wilkins, A Reader in New Religious Movements,weblink 2006, A&C Black, 978-0-8264-6167-4, 248–249, In the interpretation of some Buddhist movements, state Religion Studies scholar George Chryssides and author Margaret Wilkins, right view is non-view: as the enlightened become aware that nothing can be expressed in fixed conceptual terms and rigid, dogmatic clinging to concepts is discarded.


Right View can be further subdivided, states translator Bhikkhu Bodhi, into mundane right view and superior or supramundane right view:WEB,weblink The Noble Eightfold Path: The Way to the End of Suffering, 10 July 2010, Access to Insight, Bhikkhu Bodhi, {{Sfn|Fuller|2005|p=56}}
  1. Mundane right view, knowledge of the fruits of good behavior. Having this type of view will bring merit and will support the favourable rebirth of the sentient being in the realm of samsara.
  2. Supramundane (world-transcending) right view, the understanding of karma and rebirth, as implicated in the Four Noble Truths, leading to awakening and liberation from rebirths and associated dukkha in the realms of samsara.BOOK, Bhikkhu Bodhi, In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon,weblink 2005, Wisdom Publications, 978-0-86171-996-9, 147, 446 with note 9, {{Sfn|Harvey|2013|p=83-84}}
According to Theravada Buddhism, mundane right view is a teaching that is suitable for lay followers, while supramundane right view, which requires a deeper understanding, is suitable for monastics. Mundane and supramundane right view involve accepting the following doctrines of Buddhism:{{sfn|Richard Gombrich|2009|p=27-28, 103-109}}{{Sfn|Keown|2000|p=59, 96-97}}
  1. Karma: Every action of body, speech, and mind has karmic results, and influences the kind of future rebirths and realms a being enters into.
  2. Three marks of existence: everything, whether physical or mental, is impermanent (anicca), a source of suffering (dukkha), and lacks a self (anatta).
  3. The Four Noble Truths are a means to gaining insights and ending dukkha.

Right resolve

Right resolve (samyak-saṃkalpa / sammā saṅkappa) can also be known as "right thought", "right intention", or "right aspiration". In this factor, the practitioner resolves to leave home, renounce the worldly life and dedicate himself to an ascetic pursuit.{{Sfn|Vetter|1988|p=12-13}}{{Sfn|Harvey|2013|p=83-84}} In section III.248, the Majjhima Nikaya states,}}Like right view, this factor has two levels. At the mundane level, the resolve includes being harmless (ahimsa) and refraining from ill will (avyabadha) to any being, as this accrues karma and leads to rebirth.{{Sfn|Harvey|2013|p=83-84}} At the supramundane level, the factor includes a resolve to consider everything and everyone as impermanent, a source of suffering and without a Self.BOOK, Damien Keown, Charles S. Prebish, Encyclopedia of Buddhism,weblink 2013, Routledge, 978-1-136-98588-1, 333,

Right speech

Right speech (samyag-vāc / sammā-vācā) in most Buddhist texts is presented as four abstentions, such as in the Pali Canon thus:WEB,weblink Saccavibhanga Sutta, 6 May 2008, Access to Insight, Thanissaro Bhikkhu, Instead of the usual "abstention and refraining from wrong" terminology,{{Sfn|Bhikkhu Bodhi|2010|p=47-48}} a few texts such as the Samaññaphala Sutta and Kevata Sutta in Digha Nikaya explain this virtue in an active sense, after stating it in the form of an abstention.WEB,weblink Samaññaphala Sutta, Access to Insight, Thanissaro Bhikkhu, 1997, For example, Samaññaphala Sutta states that a part of a monk's virtue is that "he abstains from false speech. He speaks the truth, holds to the truth, is firm, reliable, no deceiver of the world." Similarly, the virtue of abstaining from divisive speech is explained as delighting in creating concord. The virtue of abstaining from abusive speech is explained in this Sutta to include affectionate and polite speech that is pleasing to people. The virtue of abstaining from idle chatter is explained as speaking what is connected with the Dhamma goal of his liberation.{{Sfn|Harvey|2013|p=83-84}}In the Abhaya-raja-kumara Sutta, the Buddha explains the virtue of right speech in different scenarios, based on its truth value, utility value and emotive content.{{Sfn|Kalupahana|1992|p=105}}WEB,weblink Abhaya Sutta, 6 May 2008, Access to Insight, Thanissaro Bhikkhu, The Tathagata, states Abhaya Sutta, never speaks anything that is unfactual or factual, untrue or true, disagreeable or agreeable, if that is unbeneficial and unconnected to his goals.{{Sfn|Kalupahana|1992|p=50-52}} Further, adds Abhaya Sutta, the Tathagata speaks the factual, the true, if in case it is disagreeable and unendearing, only if it is beneficial to his goals, but with a sense of proper time.{{Sfn|Kalupahana|1992|p=50-52}} Additionally, adds Abhaya Sutta, the Tathagata, only speaks with a sense of proper time even when what he speaks is the factual, the true, the agreeable, the endearing and what is beneficial to his goals.{{Sfn|Kalupahana|1992|p=50-52}}BOOK, J Ganeri, The Concealed Art of the Soul: Theories of Self and Practices of Truth in Indian Ethics and Epistemology,weblink 2007, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-920241-6, 47–48, The Buddha thus explains right speech in the Pali Canon, according to Ganeri, as never speaking something that is not beneficial; and, only speaking what is true and beneficial, "when the circumstances are right, whether they are welcome or not".

Right action

Right action (samyak-karmānta / sammā-kammanta) is like right speech, expressed as abstentions but in terms of bodily action. In the Pali Canon, this path factor is stated as:}}The prohibition on killing precept in Buddhist scriptures applies to all living beings, states Christopher Gowans, not just human beings.BOOK, Christopher Gowans, Philosophy of the Buddha: An Introduction,weblink 2004, Routledge, 978-1-134-46973-4, 177–178, Bhikkhu Bodhi agrees, clarifying that the more accurate rendering of the Pali canon is a prohibition on "taking life of any sentient being", which includes human beings, animals, birds, insects but excludes plants because they are not considered sentient beings.{{Sfn|Bhikkhu Bodhi|2010|p=57-58}} Further, adds Bodhi, this precept refers to intentional killing, as well as any form of intentional harming or torturing any sentient being.{{Sfn|Bhikkhu Bodhi|2010|p=57-58}} This moral virtue in early Buddhist texts, both in context of harm or killing of animals and human beings, is similar to ahimsa precepts found in the texts particularly of Jainism as well as of Hinduism,BOOK, Purusottama Bilimoria, Joseph Prabhu, Renuka M. Sharma, Indian Ethics: Classical traditions and contemporary challenges,weblink 2007, Ashgate Publishing, 978-0-7546-3301-3, 311–324, BOOK, John Arapura, K. R. Sundararajan & Bithika Mukerji, Hindu Spirituality: Postclassical and Modern,weblink 2003, Motilal Banarsidass, 978-81-208-1937-5, 392–417, and has been a subject of significant debate in various Buddhist traditions.{{Sfn|Bhikkhu Bodhi|2010|p=57-58}}The prohibition on stealing in the Pali Canon is an abstention from intentionally taking what is not voluntarily offered by the person to whom that property belongs.{{Sfn|Bhikkhu Bodhi|2010|p=58-59}} This includes, states Bhikkhu Bodhi, taking by stealth, by force, by fraud or by deceit.{{Sfn|Bhikkhu Bodhi|2010|p=59-60}} Both the intention and the act matters, as this precept is grounded on the impact on one's karma.{{Sfn|Bhikkhu Bodhi|2010|p=59-60}}The prohibition on sexual misconduct in the Noble Eightfold Path, states Tilmann Vetter, refers to "not performing sexual acts".{{Sfn|Vetter|1988|p=12}} This virtue is more generically explained in the Cunda Kammaraputta Sutta, which teaches that one must abstain from all sensual misconduct, including getting sexually involved with someone unmarried (anyone protected by parents or by guardians or by siblings), and someone married (protected by husband), and someone betrothed to another person, and female convicts or by dhamma.{{Sfn|Bhikkhu Bodhi|2010|p=60-62}}WEB,weblink Cunda Kammaraputta Sutta, 6 May 2008, Access to Insight, Thanissaro Bhikkhu, For monastics, the abstention from sensual misconduct means strict celibacy, states Christopher Gowans, while for lay Buddhists this prohibits adultery as well as other forms of sensual misconduct.BOOK, Christopher Gowans, Steven M. Emmanuel, A Companion to Buddhist Philosophy,weblink 2015, John Wiley & Sons, 978-1-119-14466-3, 440, BOOK, Andrew Powell, Living Buddhism,weblink 1989, University of California Press, 978-0-520-20410-2, 24, BOOK, David L. Weddle, Miracles: Wonder and Meaning in World Religions,weblink 2010, New York University Press, 978-0-8147-9483-8, 118, Later Buddhist texts, states Bhikkhu Bodhi, state that the prohibition on sexual conduct for lay Buddhists includes any sexual involvement with someone married, a girl or woman protected by her parents or relatives, and someone prohibited by dhamma conventions (such as relatives, nuns and others).{{Sfn|Bhikkhu Bodhi|2010|p=60-62}}

Right livelihood

Right livelihood (samyag-ājīva / sammā-ājīva) precept is mentioned in many early Buddhist texts, such as the Mahācattārīsaka Sutta in Majjhima Nikaya as follows:The early canonical texts state right livelihood as avoiding and abstaining from wrong livelihood. This virtue is further explained in Buddhist texts, states Vetter, as "living from begging, but not accepting everything and not possessing more than is strictly necessary".{{Sfn|Vetter|1988|p=12}} For lay Buddhists, states Harvey, this precept requires that the livelihood avoid causing suffering to sentient beings by cheating them, or harming or killing them in any way.{{Sfn|Harvey|2013|p=83}}The Anguttara Nikaya III.208, states Harvey, asserts that the right livelihood does not trade in weapons, living beings, meat, alcoholic drink or poison.{{Sfn|Harvey|2013|p=83}}{{Sfn|Rahula|2007|p=53}} The same text, in section V.177, asserts that this applies to lay Buddhists.BOOK, Martine Batchelor, The Spirit of the Buddha,weblink 2014, Yale University Press, 978-0-300-17500-4, 59, ; Quote: These five trades, O monks, should not be taken up by a lay follower: trading with weapons, trading in living beings, trading in meat, trading in intoxicants, trading in poison." This has meant, states Harvey, that raising and trading cattle livestock for slaughter is a breach of "right livelihood" precept in the Buddhist tradition, and Buddhist countries lack the mass slaughter houses found in Western countries.{{Sfn|Harvey|2013|p=273-274}}

Right effort

{{See also|Four Right Efforts|Viriya}}Right effort (samyag-vyāyāma / sammā-vāyāma) is preventing the arising of unwholesome states, and the generation of wholesome states. This includes indriya-samvara, "guarding the sense-doors," restraint of the sense faculties.Analayo (2013), Satipatthana, Windhorse Publications: "... sense-restraint, which in fact constitues an aspect of right effort." Right effort is presented in the Pali Canon, such as the Sacca-vibhanga Sutta, as follows:The unwholesome states (akusala) are described in the Buddhist texts, as those relating to thoughts, emotions, intentions, and these include pancanivarana (five hindrances) â€“ sensual thoughts, doubts about the path, restlessness, drowsiness, and ill will of any kind.{{Sfn|Vetter|1988|p=12}}{{Sfn|Bhikkhu Bodhi|2010|p=67-68}} Of these, the Buddhist traditions consider sensual thoughts and ill will needing more right effort. Sensual desire that must be eliminated by effort includes anything related to sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touch.{{Sfn|Bhikkhu Bodhi|2010|p=69-75}} This is to be done by restraint of the sense faculties (indriya-samvara). Ill will that must be eliminated by effort includes any form of aversion including hatred, anger, resentment towards anything or anyone.{{Sfn|Bhikkhu Bodhi|2010|p=69-75}}

Right mindfulness

{{See also|Sampajañña|Dhamma vicaya|Satipatthana|Anapanasati|Satipatthana Sutta}}In the vipassana movement, mindfulness ({{IAST|samyak-smṛti}} / sammā-sati) is interpreted as "bare attention": never be absent minded, being conscious of what one is doing.{{sfn|Sharf|2014|p=941}} Yet, originally it has the meaning of "retention," being mindfull of the dhammas ("teachings," "elements") that are beneficial to the Buddhist path.{{sfn|Sharf|2014|p=942-943}} According to Frauwallner, mindfulness was a means to prevent the arising of craving, which resulted simply from contact between the senses and their objects. According to Frauwallner this may have been the Buddha's original idea.{{sfn|Williams|2000|p=45}} According to Trainor, mindfulness aids one not to crave and cling to any transitory state or thing, by complete and constant awareness of phenomena as impermanent, suffering and without self. The Satipatthana Sutta describes the contemplation of four domains, namely body, feelings, mind and phenomena.{{refn|group=note|The formula is repeated in other sutras, for example the Sacca-vibhanga Sutta (MN 141): "And what is right mindfulness?Here the monk remains contemplating the body as body, resolute, aware and mindful, having put aside worldly desire and sadness;he remains contemplating feelings as feelings;he remains contemplating mental states as mental states;he remains contemplating mental objects as mental objects, resolute, aware and mindful, having put aside worldly desire and sadness;This is called right mindfulness."}} The Satipatthana Sutta is regarded by the Vipassana movement as the quintessential text on Buddhist meditation, taking cues from it on "bare attention" and the contemplation on the observed phenomena as dukkha, anatta and anicca.BOOK, J. Mark G. Williams, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Mindfulness: Diverse Perspectives on Its Meaning, Origins and Applications,weblink 2013, Routledge, 978-1-317-98514-3, 21–27, {{sfn|Thera|2013}}{{refn|group=note|From The Way of Mindfulness, The Satipatthana Sutta and Its Commentary, Soma Thera (1998),(...)For the dull-witted man of the theorizing type [ditthi carita] it is convenient to see consciousness [citta] in the fairly simple way it is set forth in this discourse, by way of impermanence [aniccata], and by way of such divisions as mind-with-lust [saragadi vasena], in order to reject the notion of permanence [nicca sañña] in regard to consciousness. Consciousness is a special condition [visesa karana] for the wrong view due to a basic belief in permanence [niccanti abhinivesa vatthutaya ditthiya]. The contemplation on consciousness, the Third Arousing of Mindfulness, is the Path to Purity of this type of man.For the keen-witted man of the theorizing type it is convenient to see mental objects or things [dhamma], according to the manifold way set forth in this discourse, by way of perception, sense-impression and so forth [nivaranadi vasena], in order to reject the notion of a soul [atta sañña] in regard to mental things. Mental things are special conditions for the wrong view due to a basic belief in a soul [attanti abhinivesa vatthutaya ditthiya]. For this type of man the contemplation on mental objects, the Fourth Arousing of Mindfulness, is the Path to Purity.WEB, Bodhi, Bhikkhu, The Way of Mindfulness: The Satipatthana Sutta and Its Commentary, Thera, Soma, 1998,weblink 2016-05-27, (...)}}{{refn|group=note|Vetter and Bronkhorst note that the path starts with right view, which includes insight into anicca, dukkha and anatta.}} According to Grzegorz Polak, the four upassanā have been misunderstood by the developing Buddhist tradition, including Theravada, to refer to four different foundations. According to Polak, the four upassanā do not refer to four different foundations of which one should be aware, but are an alternate description of the jhanas, describing how the samskharas are tranquilized:{{sfn|Polak|2011|p=153-156, 196-197}}
  • the six sense-bases which one needs to be aware of (kāyānupassanā);
  • contemplation on vedanās, which arise with the contact between the senses and their objects (vedanānupassanā);
  • the altered states of mind to which this practice leads (cittānupassanā);
  • the development from the five hindrances to the seven factors of enlightenment (dhammānupassanā).{{refn|group=note|Note how kāyānupassanā, vedanānupassanā, and cittānupassanā, resemble the five skandhas and the chain of causation as described in the middle part of PratÄ«tyasamutpāda; while dhammānupassanā refers to mindfulness as retention, calling into mind the beneficial dhammas which are applied to analyse phenomena, and counter the arising of disturbing thoughts and emotions.}}
Rupert Gethin notes that the contemporary Vipassana movement interprets the Satipatthana Sutta as "describing a pure form of insight (vipassanā) meditation" for which samatha (calm) and jhāna are not necessary. Yet, in pre-sectarian Buddhism, the establishment of mindfulness was placed before the practice of the jhanas, and associated with the abandonment of the five hindrances and the entry into the first jhana.{{refn|group=note|Gethin: "The sutta is often read today as describing a pure form of insight (vipassanā) meditation that bypasses calm (samatha) meditation and the four absorptions (jhāna), as outlined in the description of the Buddhist path found, for example, in the Sāmaññaphala-sutta [...] The earlier tradition, however, seems not to have always read it this way, associating accomplishment in the exercise of establishing mindfulness with abandoning of the five hindrances and the first absorption."Gethin, Rupert, Sayings of the Buddha: New Translations from the Pali Nikayas (Oxford World's Classics), 2008, p. 142.}}The dhyāna-scheme describes mindfulness also as appearing in the third and fourth dhyana, after initial concentration of the mind.{{sfn|Vetter|1988|p=13}}{{sfn|Wynne|2007|p=140, note 58}}{{refn|group=note|Original publication: {{Citation | last =Gombrich | first =Richard | year =2007 | title =Religious Experience in Early Buddhism | publisher =OCHS Library | url =}}}} Gombrich and Wynne note that, while the second jhana denotes a state of absorption, in the third and fourth jhana one comes out of this absorption, being mindfully awareness of objects while being indifferent to them.{{sfn|Wynne|2007|p=106-107; 140, note 58}}{{refn|group=note|Original publication: {{Citation | last =Gombrich | first =Richard | year =2007 | title =Religious Experience in Early Buddhism | publisher =OCHS Library | url =}}}} According to Gombrich, "the later tradition has falsified the jhana by classifying them as the quintessence of the concentrated, calming kind of meditation, ignoring the other – and indeed higher – element.{{sfn|Wynne|2007|p=140, note 58}}

Right Concentration


Samadhi (samyak-samādhi / sammā-samādhi) is a common practice in Indian religions. The term samadhi derives from the root sam-a-dha, which means 'to collect' or 'bring together',{{source?|date=October 2018}} and thus it is often translated as 'concentration' or 'unification of mind'. In the early Buddhist texts, samadhi is also associated with the term "samatha" (calm abiding).{{source?|date=October 2018}} In the suttas, samadhi is defined as one-pointedness of mind (Cittass'ekaggatā).Henepola Gunaratana (1995), The Jhanas in Theravada Buddhist Meditation Buddhagosa defines samadhi as "the centering of consciousness and consciousness concomitants evenly and rightly on a single object...the state in virtue of which consciousness and its concomitants remain evenly and rightly on a single object, undistracted and unscattered."Visudimagga 84-85; PP.85{{full citation needed|date=September 2016}}According to Bhikkhu Bodhi, the right concentration factor is reaching a one-pointedness of mind and unifying all mental factors, but it is not the same as "a gourmet sitting down to a meal, or a soldier on the battlefield" who also experience one-pointed concentration.{{Sfn|Bhikkhu Bodhi|2010|p=97-110}} The difference is that the latter have a one-pointed object in focus with complete awareness directed to that object â€“ the meal or the target, respectively. In contrast, right concentration meditative factor in Buddhism is a state of awareness without any object or subject, and ultimately unto nothingness and emptiness.{{Sfn|Bhikkhu Bodhi|2010|p=97-110}}


Bronkhorst notes that neither the Four Noble Truths nor the Noble Eightfold Path discourse provide details of right samadhi.BOOK, Johannes Bronkhorst, Buddhist Teaching in India,weblink 2009, Simon and Schuster, 978-0-86171-566-4, 10–17, The explanation is to be found in the Canonical texts of Buddhism, in several Suttas, such as the following in Saccavibhanga Sutta:}}Bronkhorst has questioned the historicity and chronology of the description of the four jhanas. Bronkhorst states that this path may be similar to what the Buddha taught, but the details and the form of the description of the jhanas in particular, and possibly other factors, is likely the work of later scholasticism.BOOK, Johannes Bronkhorst, Buddhist Teaching in India,weblink 2009, Simon and Schuster, 978-0-86171-566-4, 17–19, BOOK, Oliver Freiberger, Asceticism and Its Critics: Historical Accounts and Comparative Perspectives,weblink 2006, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-971901-3, 249–251, Bronkhorst notes that description of the third jhana cannot have been formulated by the Buddha, since it includes the phrase "Noble Ones say", quoting earlier Buddhists, indicating it was formulated by later Buddhists. It is likely that later Buddhist scholars incorporated this, then attributed the details and the path, particularly the insights at the time of liberation, to have been discovered by the Buddha.


Although often translated as "concentration," as in the limiting of the attention of the mind on one object, in the fourth dhyana "equanimity and mindfulness remain,"{{sfn|Bronkhorst|1993|p=63}} and the practice of concentration-meditation may well have been incorporated from non-Buddhist traditions.{{sfn|Bronkhorst|p=53-70}} Vetter notes that samadhi consists of the four stages of dhyana meditation, but}}Gombrich and Wynne note that, while the second jhana denotes a state of absorption, in the third and fourth jhana one comes out of this absorption, being mindfully awareness of objects while being indifferent to it.{{sfn|Wynne|2007|p=106-107; 140, note 58}}{{refn|group=note|Original publication: {{Citation | last =Gombrich | first =Richard | year =2007 | title =Religious Experience in Early Buddhism | publisher =OCHS Library | url =}}}} According to Gombrich, "the later tradition has falsified the jhana by classifying them as the quintessence of the concentrated, calming kind of meditation, ignoring the other – and indeed higher – element.{{sfn|Wynne|2007|p=140, note 58}}


Order of practice

Vetter notes that originally the path culminated in the practice of dhyana/samadhi as the core soteriological practice.{{sfn|Vetter|1988}} According to the Pali and Chinese canon, the samadhi state (right concentration) is dependent on the development of preceding path factors:WEB,weblink Madhyama Agama, Taisho Tripitaka Vol. 1, No. 26, sutra 31 (分別聖諦經第十一), 28 October 2008, Cbeta, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 22 November 2008, dmy-all, WEB,weblink Taisho Tripitaka Vol. 1, No. 32, Page 814, 28 October 2008, Cbeta, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 22 November 2008, dmy-all, According to the discourses, right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, and right mindfulness are used as the support and requisite conditions for the practice of right concentration. Understanding of the right view is the preliminary role, and is also the forerunner of the entire Noble Eightfold Path.WEB,weblink Maha-cattarisaka Sutta, 6 May 2008, Access to Insight, Thanissaro Bhikkhu, WEB,weblink Madhyama Agama, Taisho Tripitaka Vol. 1, No. 26, sutra 189 (中阿含雙品 聖道經第三), 27 October 2008, Cbeta,weblink" title="">weblink 22 November 2008, yes, dmy-all, According to the modern Theravada bhikkhu (monk) and scholar Walpola Rahula, the divisions of the noble eightfold path "are to be developed more or less simultaneously, as far as possible according to the capacity of each individual. They are all linked together and each helps the cultivation of the others."Rahula 46 Bhikkhu Bodhi explains that these factors are not sequential, but components, and "with a certain degree of progress all eight factors can be present simultaneously, each supporting the others. However, until that point is reached, some sequence in the unfolding of the path is inevitable."WEB,weblink The Noble Eightfold Path: The Way to the End of Suffering, 6 May 2008, Buddhist Publication Society, Bhikkhu Bodhi, 14, The stage in the Path where there is no more learning in Yogachara Abhidharma, state Buswell and Gimello, is identical to Nirvana or Buddhahood, the ultimate goal in Buddhism.{{Sfn|Buswell|Gimello|1994|p=204}}BOOK, Rinpoche Karma-raṅ-byuṅ-kun-khyab-phrin-las, The Dharma: That Illuminates All Beings Impartially Like the Light of the Sun and Moon,weblink 1986, State University of New York Press, 978-0-88706-156-1, 32–33, ; Quote: "There are various ways of examining the Complete Path. For example, we can speak of Five Paths constituting its different levels: the Path of Accumulation, the Path of Application, the Path of Seeing, the Path of Meditation and the Path of No More Learning, or Buddhahood."


According to Bernard Faure, the ancient and medieval Buddhist texts and traditions, like other religions, were almost always unfavorable or discriminatory against women, in terms of their ability to pursue Noble Eightfold Path, attain Buddhahood and nirvana.BOOK, Bernard Faure, The Power of Denial: Buddhism, Purity, and Gender,weblink 2009, Princeton University Press, 978-0-691-09171-6, 53–54, 67–70, 78–81, 99–106,, BOOK, Gwilym Beckerlegge, The World Religions Reader,weblink 2001, Routledge, 978-0-415-24749-8, 365–370, This issue of presumptions about the "female religious experience" is found in Indian texts, in translations into non-Indian languages, and in regional non-Indian commentaries written in East Asian kingdoms such as those in China, Japan and southeast Asia. Yet, like other Indian religions, exceptions and veneration of females is found in Indian Buddhist texts, and female Buddhist deities are likewise described in positive terms and with reverence. Nevertheless, females are seen as polluted with menstruation, sexual intercourse, death and childbirth. Rebirth as a woman is seen in the Buddhist texts as a result of part of past karma, and inferior than that of a man.In some Chinese and Japanese Buddhist texts, the status of female deities are not presented positively, unlike the Indian tradition, states Faure. In the Huangshinu dui Jingang (Woman Huang explicates the Diamond Sutra), a woman admonishes her husband about he slaughtering animals, who attacks her gender and her past karma, implying that "women go to hell" not because of her intentions nor actions (kamma), but simply because of the biology of her gender and the bodily functions over which she has no choice.BOOK, Wm. Theodore de Bary, Richard Lufrano, Sources of Chinese Tradition: Volume 2: From 1600 Through the Twentieth Century,weblink 2010, Columbia University Press, 978-0-231-51799-7, 118–120, Similar discriminatory presumptions are found in other Buddhist texts such as the Blood Bowl Sutra and the Longer Sukhāvatīvyūha Sūtra.BOOK, R. Alan Cole, Mothers and Sons in Chinese Buddhism,weblink 1994, Stanford University Press, 978-0-8047-6510-7, 203–204, In the Five Obstacles theory{{Refn|group=note|The Lotus Sutra, for example, asserts "A woman's body is filthy, it is not a Dharma-receptacle. How can you attain unexcelled bodhi?... Also a woman's body even then has five obstacles.BOOK, Gene Reeves, A Buddhist kaleidoscope: essays on the Lotus Sutra,weblink 2002, Kosei, 978-4-333-01918-2, 363, 447–448, 475, BOOK, Gwilym Beckerlegge, The World Religions Reader,weblink 2001, Routledge, 978-0-415-24749-8, 369–370, }} of Buddhism, a woman is required to attain rebirth as a man before she can adequately pursue the Eightfold Path and reach perfect Buddhahood. The Lotus Sutra similarly presents the story of the Dragon King's daughter, who desires to achieve perfect enlightenment. The Sutra states that, "Her female organs vanished, the male organs became visible, then she appeared as a bodhisattva".BOOK, Bernard Faure, The Power of Denial: Buddhism, Purity, and Gender,weblink 2009, Princeton University Press, 978-0-691-09171-6, 99–100, Gender discrimination worsened during the medieval era in various sub-traditions of Buddhism that independently developed regionally, such as in Japan.BOOK, Bernard Faure, The Power of Denial: Buddhism, Purity, and Gender,weblink 2009, Princeton University Press, 978-0-691-09171-6, 112–116, Some scholars, such as Kenneth Doo Young Lee, interpret the Lotus Sutra to imply that "women were capable of gaining salvation", either after they first turned into a man, or being reborn in Pure Land realm after following the Path.BOOK, Kenneth Doo Young Lee, Prince and the Monk, The: Shotoku Worship in Shinran's Buddhism,weblink 2012, State University of New York Press, 978-0-7914-8046-5, 93–94, Peter Harvey lists many Sutras that suggest "having faded out the mind-set of a woman and developed the mind-set of a man, he was born in his present male form", and who then proceeds to follow the Path and became an Arahant.BOOK, Peter Harvey, An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics: Foundations, Values and Issues,weblink 2000, Cambridge University Press, 978-0-521-55640-8, 368–370, Among Mahayana texts, there is a sutra dedicated to the concept of how a person might be born as a woman. The traditional assertion is that women are more prone to harboring feelings of greed, hatred and delusion than a man. The Buddha responds to this assumption by teaching the method of moral development through which a woman can achieve rebirth as a man.BOOK, Peter Harvey, An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics: Foundations, Values and Issues,weblink 2000, Cambridge University Press, 978-0-521-55640-8, 371–372, According to Wei-Yi Cheng, the Pali Canon is silent about women's inferior karma, but have statements and stories that mention the Eightfold Path while advocating female subordination.BOOK, Wei-Yi Cheng, Buddhist Nuns in Taiwan and Sri Lanka: A Critique of the Feminist Perspective,weblink 2007, Routledge, 978-1-134-16811-8, 58–60, For example, a goddess reborn in the heavenly realm asserts:Such examples, states Wei-Yi Cheng, include conflating statements about spiritual practice (Eightfold Path, Dhamma) and "obedience to my husband" and "by day and by night I acted to please", thus implying unquestioned obedience of male authority and female subjugation. Such statements are not isolated, but common, such as in section II.13 of the Petavatthu which teaches that a woman had to "put away the thoughts of a woman" as she pursued the Path and this merit obtained her a better rebirth; the Jataka stories of the Pali Canon have numerous such stories, as do the Chinese Sutta that assert "undesirability of womanhood". Modern Buddhist nuns have applied Buddhist doctrines such as Pratītyasamutpāda to explain their disagreement with women's inferior karma in past lives as implied in Samyutta Nikaya 13, states Wei-Yi Cheng, while asserting that the Path can be practiced by either gender and "both men and women can become arhant".BOOK, Wei-Yi Cheng, Buddhist Nuns in Taiwan and Sri Lanka: A Critique of the Feminist Perspective,weblink 2007, Routledge, 978-1-134-16811-8, 63–64,

Cognitive psychology

The noble eightfold path has been compared to cognitive psychology, wherein states Gil Fronsdal, the right view factor can be interpreted to mean how one's mind views the world, and how that leads to patterns of thought, intention and actions.BOOK,weblink The Dhammapada: A New Translation of the Buddhist Classic with Annotations, 14 July 2009, Shambhala Publications, Inc., Gil Fronsdal, In contrast, Peter Randall states that it is the seventh factor or right mindfulness that may be thought in terms of cognitive psychology, wherein the change in thought and behavior are linked.BOOK, Peter Randall, The Psychology of Feeling Sorry: The Weight of the Soul,weblink 2013, Routledge, 978-1-136-17026-3, 206–208,

See also

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Primary sources
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Eastern Philosophy
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