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liThe Buddha Explains the Eightfold Path,,1


[At the heart of Buddha's teaching about the nature of life and death and the proper way to live is the eightfold path. The following selection from the Samytta-nikaya V, 8, contains the Buddha's explanation of this path.] "The Noble Eightfold Way, monks, I will expound and analyze to you. Listen to it, reflect on it well, I will speak." "Even so, Lord," the monks replied to the Lord. The Lord said, "What, monks, is the Noble Eightfold Way? It is namely right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration." "And what, monks, is the right view? The knowledge of pain, knowledge of the cause of pain, knowledge of the cessation of pain, and knowledge of the way that leads to the cessation of pain: that, monks, is called right view." "And what is right intention? The intention to renounce, the intention not to hurt, the intention not to injure: that, monks, is called right intention." "And what is right speech? Refraining from falsehood, from malicious speech, from harsh speech, from frivolous speech: that, monks is called right speech." "And what is right action? Refraining from taking life, from taking what is not given, for sexual intercourse: that, monks is called right action." "And what is right livelihood? Here a noble disciple abandoning a false mode of livelihood gets his living by right livelihood: that, monks, is called right livelihood." " And what is right effort? Here a monk with the non producing of bad and evil thoughts that have not yet arisen exercises will, puts forth effort, begins to make exertion, applies and exerts his mind; with the dispelling of bad and evil thoughts that had arisen he exercises will, puts forth effort, begins to make exertion, applies his mind; with the producing of good thoughts that had not arisen he exercises will, puts forth effort, begins to make exertion, applies and exerts his mind; with the fixing, freeing from confusion, increasing, enlarging, developing and filling up of good thoughts that had arisen he exercises will, puts forth effort, begins to make exertion, applies and exerts his mind: that, monks, is called right effort." "And what is right mindfulness? Here (1) on the body: a monk abides contemplating the body, ardent, thoughtful, and mindful, dispelling his longing and dejection towards the world; (2) on feelings: he
1. Hopfe, Lavinia R. and Lewis M. Hopfe, Jr., eds. 1994. Religions of the
World. 6th ed., New York: Macmillan. Pages 163-4.

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abides contemplating the feelings, ardent, thoughtful, and mindful, dispelling his longing and dejection towards the world; (3) on thoughts: he abides contemplating thoughts, ardent, thoughtful, and mindful, dispelling his longing and dejection towards the world. That, monks, is called right mindfulness." And what is right concentration? Here (1) a monk free from passions and evil thoughts attains and abides in the first trance of joy and pleasure, which is accompanied by reasoning and investigation and arises from seclusion. (2) With the ceasing of reasoning and investigation, in a state of internal serenity, with his mind fixed on one point, he attains and abides in the second trance of joy and pleasure arising from concentration, and free from reasoning and investigation. (3) With equanimity and indifference towards joy he abides mindful and self-possessed, and with his body experiences pleasure that the noble ones call 'Dwelling with equanimity, mindful and happy,' and attains and abides in the third trance. (4) Dispelling pleasure and pain, and even before the disappearance of elation and depression, he attains and abides in the fourth trance, which is without pleasure and pain, and with the purity of mindfulness and equanimity: that, monks, is called right concentration."
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