It is a means to gain right understanding of reality.
Mindfulness and the Buddha’s Eightfold Path
Right View can be further subdivided, states translator Bhikkhu Bodhi, into mundane right view and superior or supramundane right view:  . 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:  .
In this factor, the practitioner resolves to leave home, renounce the worldly life and dedicate himself to an ascetic pursuit. And what is right resolve?
Being resolved on renunciation, on freedom from ill will, on harmlessness: This is called right resolve. 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. And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, and from idle chatter: This is called right speech. He speaks the truth, holds to the truth, is firm, reliable, no deceiver of the world.
The virtue of abstaining from idle chatter is explained as speaking what is connected with the Dhamma goal of his liberation. 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. 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". In the Pali Canon, this path factor is stated as:.
And what is right action? Abstaining from killing, abstaining from stealing, abstaining from sexual misconduct. This is called right action. The prohibition on killing precept in Buddhist scriptures applies to all living beings , states Christopher Gowans, not just human beings. 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. The prohibition on sexual misconduct in the Noble Eightfold Path, states Tilmann Vetter, refers to "not performing sexual acts".
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. Right livelihood, I tell you, is of two sorts: There is right livelihood with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions; there is right livelihood that is noble, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path. There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones abandons wrong livelihood and maintains his life with right livelihood.
This is the right livelihood with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions. The abstaining, desisting, abstinence, avoidance of wrong livelihood in one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is without effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path.
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". This includes indriya-samvara , "guarding the sense-doors," restraint of the sense faculties.
Here the monk arouses his will, puts forth effort, generates energy, exerts his mind, and strives to prevent the arising of evil and unwholesome mental states that have not yet arisen. He arouses his will He arouses his will, puts forth effort, generates energy, exerts his mind, and strives to maintain wholesome mental states that have already arisen, to keep them free of delusion, to develop, increase, cultivate, and perfect them. This is called right effort. Sensual desire that must be eliminated by effort includes anything related to sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touch.
Ill will that must be eliminated by effort includes any form of aversion including hatred, anger, resentment towards anything or anyone. According to Frauwallner this may have been the Buddha's original idea. The Satipatthana Sutta describes the contemplation of four domains , namely body, feelings, mind and phenomena. 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.
The term samadhi derives from the root sam-a-dha, which means 'to collect' or 'bring together', [ citation needed ] 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.
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. In contrast, right concentration meditative factor in Buddhism is a state of awareness without any object or subject, and ultimately unto nothingness and emptiness. Bronkhorst notes that neither the Four Noble Truths nor the Noble Eightfold Path discourse provide details of right samadhi.
This is called right concentration.
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. 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,"  and the practice of concentration-meditation may well have been incorporated from non-Buddhist traditions.
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. Maha-cattarisaka Sutta. 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.
According to the modern Theravada 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.
However, until that point is reached, some sequence in the unfolding of the path is inevitable. 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. 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. 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.
Dharma Talk: The Eightfold Path — the Mindfulness Bell
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". Gender discrimination worsened during the medieval era in various sub-traditions of Buddhism that independently developed regionally, such as in Japan.
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. 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. 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. When I was born a human being among men I was a daughter-in-law in a wealthy family. I was without anger, obedient to my husband, diligent on the Observance days. When I was born a human being, young and innocent, with a mind of faith, I delighted my lord.
By day and by night I acted to please. Of old On the fourteenth, fifteenth and eighth days of the bright fortnight and on a special day of the fortnight well connected with the eightfold precepts I observed the Observance day with a mind of faith, was one who was faring according to Dhamma with zeal in my heart 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.
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. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. An early summary of the path of Buddhist practices leading to liberation from samsara.
For other uses, see Eightfold Path disambiguation. Dharma Concepts. Buddhist texts. Buddhism by country. See also: Buddhist paths to awakening.
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See also: View Buddhism. See also: Four Right Efforts and Viriya. Main article: Mindfulness Buddhism.