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BUDDHA’S EIGHTFOLD PATH

Charles Day*
www.desmoinesmeditation.org

1. Right (wise, skillful) Understanding: Of the Four Noble Truths: Suffering is


universal. It is caused by attachment to desires, aversions, and the illusion of a
independent and autonomous sense of self. It can be eliminated and the bliss of
enlightenment attained by transcending the sense of self or ego and realizing
that everybody and everything is interconnected. The way to end suffering and
realize one’s already enlightened nature is to follow this Eightfold Path.

2. Right Thoughts: Practice wholesome thinking by intentionally acknowledging


and weakening unwholesome and negative thoughts related to selfish greed,
anger, harming, and self-centeredness - the primary causes of suffering - and
cultivating harmonious thoughts of selfless detachment, renunciation, generosity,
good will, nonviolence, lovingkindness, compassion, joy in the happiness and
good fortune of others and peaceful equanimity.

3. Right Speech: Practice truthfulness and kind speech by refraining from lying,
deception, and exaggeration; slander, gossip, and malicious speech; harsh,
abusive, and profane speech; and useless, idle, and unnecessary speech.

4. Right Action: Practice nonharming and reverence for all life by refraining from
killing and harming living beings; from stealing, exploitation, and taking what is
not freely given; from abusive and inappropriate sexuality and sensuality; and
from abusing alcohol, drugs, and toxic entertainment and conversations.

5. Right Livelihood: Refrain from earning a living or profiting by any means that
directly or indirectly causes harm to oneself or others, such as occupations
involving cheating, exploitation, deception, and greed; trade in living beings, such
as slavery, prostitution, raising animals for slaughter, and butchery; or trade in
weapons, meat, poisons, and intoxicants.

6. Right Effort: Diligently, courageously, energetically, and persistently practice


cultivating and strengthening wholesome, beneficial, and positive thoughts,
speech, and behaviors, and eliminating, avoiding, and letting go of
unwholesome, harmful, divisive and negative thoughts, speech, and behaviors.

7. Right Mindfulness: Practice meditation and mindful observance of moment-to-


moment sensations, perceptions, feelings, emotions, and thoughts without
impulsively reacting with judgements, decisions, commentaries, and stories.

8. Right Concentration: Practice the sustained present-moment mindfulness that


leads to weakening attachments; transcending desires, aversions, and the sense
of an autonomous, independent self; and attaining the mental states of pure joy,
equanimity, and happiness that are not dependent on external or interval events.
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*Contact Charlie Day at (515) 255-8398, www.desmoinesmeditation.org or
charlesday1@mchsi.com to discuss meditation and Buddhism. 10-8