Most spiritual journeys provide a path – a road map of sorts to help seekers find their way. Yoga has an eight limbed approach, called Ashtanga. Christian faiths offer a path to salvation. The eightfold path of Buddhism charts a middle way of being, between extreme austerity and sensual indulgence, that leads to liberation from suffering. The middle way also indicates a place between eternalism and nihilism – a departure from the artificial separation of dualism.
The Buddhist eightfold path can provide a scaffolding within which we can more confidently experiment, both in formal practice and in daily life, with new ways of being in the world and relating to ourselves, others, and experience. In this way we can directly observe for ourselves the benefits of the practices. Click the links below to learn more about each step on the path (a work in progress):
Insight & Wisdom:
- Right View – Understanding, seeing things clearly (causes & conditions, impermanence, suffering & its cessation, emptiness)
- Right Thought – Beneficent attitude and wholesome intentions
- Right Speech – Speaking the clear truth with kindness, abstaining from gossip & unhelpful small talk
- Right Action – Ethical behavior, abstaining from harming, stealing, & sexual misconduct
- Right Livelihood – Non-exploitation of others, possessing only what is needed
- Right Effort – Diligence, training the mind so as not to remain in ignorance or arouse unhelpful mental states (attachment, aversion, afflictive emotions)
- Right Mindfulness – Awareness, vigilance, & presence (nonjudgmental openness to and awareness of phenomena as it arises)
- Right Concentration – Focused attention & absorption (leads to samadhi or unification of mind, subject and object)
Love yourself and watch —
Today, tomorrow, always.
First establish yourself in the way,
And so defeat sorrow.
To straighten the crooked
You must first do a harder thing —
You are your only master.
And discover your master.