The Eightfold Path is an 8-part Buddhist guideline created by the Buddha, which offers a way to approach life with balance, simplicity, and peace. It is considered by Buddhists the best path to achieving your most joyful and enlightened self!
1. Right View.
Eliminate ignorance. Have a balanced understanding of the world around you, by seeing things for what they are, not what you wish they would be.
Do not allow your sense of reality to be skewed by your own hopes and disappointments and others’ opinions, and you will be closer to finding true meaning in who you are and the relationships you share with others.
2. Right Intention.
Right Intention starts with developing compassion and love for yourself. Following this comes love and compassion for all others, and the creatures of this earth. When this real love for all creation exists within you, the intentions behind every action you take will be clear, loving, open-minded, and passionate.
3. Right Speech.
Words are our most powerful form of communication – and they have a tremendous impact on how we view this life.
Harsh insults and gossip can brood in the mind of their victims for years after they are heard; words of encouragement can give someone the drive they need to achieve their dreams; words have even caused entire nations to engage in war.
Right speech is to recognize that every word spoken is meaningful, and each should be thoughtfully said to create bonds and unite rather than divide and harm.
4. Right Action.
Right actions build off right intentions. When we take action, we must ask ourselves if we are approaching choices with a positive and loving intention or not. Our actions must involve respect, consideration, compassion, and honesty.
5. Right Livelihood.
The Buddha stressed that one’s work should not harm other lives, or in any way demonstrate disrespect towards other lives.
The Buddha strongly discouraged livelihoods which promote drugs or intoxicants, jobs dealing with weapons, or any job that harms animals. This is because he believed in an equality existent among all living beings, and the integrity of this fact must be upheld in all aspects of our daily work.
6. Right Effort.
Right effort is all about positive thinking!
With a good attitude and clear thoughts, we can more easily find joy in our day to day lives. Anger and jealousy are natural human emotions, but recognizing they are taking over our minds and choosing to let go of them is very important for Right Effort.
Enthusiasm and joy are able to flow freely when negative attitudes are let go of!
7. Right Concentration.
Right Concentration emphasizes meditation as a way to deepen our understanding of reality, and to discover the unending peace and simplicity of this world.
Right Concentration involves focusing on a particular item or thought, such as a flower, a candle, the sky, or even love and friendship. When contemplating this object and slowing down our breathing and mind, we discover the perfection that exists in this reality.
There is no need for constant television or internet for entertainment and satisfaction, because it exists all around us in every moment and thing.
8. Right Mindfulness.
Right Mindfulness is all about living in the moment. This is a difficult practice to develop because our current way of being as a society is focused on future events, development of career skills, trajectory of the economy, 5 year plans, tomorrow’s stocks, last month’s credit card bills, etc.
Buddhism teaches all of this is just unnecessary busyness of the mind. By living in the moment and contemplating the exact place and time you are in, you discover immense peace and relief over the past and the future. You know there is no way of changing the past or predicting the future, and that now is all we have to make the most of. We have to live it!
* Source: Buddha101 *