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The Nobel Eight Fold Path of Buddha (1043 Words)

The noble eightfold path of Buddha has been described as follows:

1. Right Vision:

The first means in the Buddha’s eightfold path is right vision.

Ignorance generates a wrong view of the relation between the world and self, and many mistakes a transient, painful and unspiritual object for a permanent, blissful and spiritual one.

The abandoning of this fallacious view and comprehending the real nature of objects is said to be the right vision. In this way, unflinching meditation on the four Noble. Truths is the proper view. This meditation takes one towards nirvana.

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2. Right resolve:

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The second means is right resolve. The determination to root out thoughts which entertain ill-will and a desire to do harm to others or con­template attachment to sensual pleasures, is the right resolve. The Noble Truths can be profitable only if life is led according to them. Right volition should accompany right vision. Right volition includes sacrifice, benevolence and sym­pathy.

3. Right speech:

The third means is right speech. As a first step, man should control his speech by right resolve. Right speech means avoidance of false or unlikeable speech or criticism. Every man should avoid bad speech and adopt a good one. One word which calms the mind is better than innumerable meaningless words.

4. Right conduct:

The fourth means is proper conduct, which means refraining from activities like destruction of life, theft, sexuality, falsifying, excessive eating, visiting social recreations; the use of artificial means of beauty, jewellery, comfort­able beds and gold, etc. All these laws apply to hermits.

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But married people need obey only five laws. For ordinary people there are a number of other laws. Parents should protect their children from evil traits and cultivate good qualities in them, and marry them after their education is over. The children should make themselves noble by serving their aged parents. The students should study, respect their teachers, obey them, and fulfill their needs. The teachers should behave lovingly towards them and perfect them in the arts and sciences by cultivating goods habits in them.

The husband should respect his wife, be faithful to her and look after her welfare. The wife should behave lovingly towards her husband, manage the home efficiently, be hospitable to all guests and maintain marital fidelity. Continuing in the same vein, the Buddha has given a detailed description of laws regulating the mutual behaviour between various people related socially. He has preached the lesson of sacrifice, benevolence and sympathy for the multitude in its entirety. His laws aim at making both society and the individual happy. In view of these laws, no one can declare the Buddha to be an escapist.

5. Right means of livelihood:

Right livelihood means earning one’s bread and butler by right means. Without it, right activity cannot be fully practised. According to the Buddha, one should not trade in weapons, animals, meat, wine, etc. It is never good for any person to earn his money by unfair and bad means like pressure, fraud, bribe, chicanery, dacoity, etc.

6. Right effort:

Along with obedience to laws regarding vision, volition, speech, action and livelihood, it is also necessary to stop bad impressions and avoid bad feelings. Endeavoring to this end is called right effort. It includes self-control, negation of sensuality, stopping bad thoughts, awakening good thoughts and concentrating the mind upon universal welfare.

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The following modes of restricting bad thoughts have been advocated:

(1) Meditate upon some good thought.

(2) Study the result of acting upon bad thoughts.

(3) Analyse the cause of bad thought and stop its results.

(4) Control the mind by physical effort.

(5) Observe dharma. The observance of dharma depends upon the mind, and upon the observance of dharma is dependent the attainment of liberation. Thus, even a person who has made some progress along the spiritual path needs proper exercise in order to eliminate the risk of any future lapse.

7. Right mindfulness:

Right mindfulness means the retention of the body, the conscience, and the real form. Bad thoughts occupy the mind only when their real form is forgotten. When actions take place according to bad thoughts, pain has to be suffered and the tendency to bad thoughts also becomes stronger. Right mind­fulness includes the remembering of the impurities of the body, pleasure, nature of pain, hatred and doubtful mind, five skandhas senses, means of liberation and the four Noble Truths, Right mindfulness destroys attachment and releases one from pain.,

Gautama, the Buddha, described right mindfulness meticulously. He preached that body should be treated as constituted of earth, water, fire and air. It is filled, it must be remembered, with deplorable things like bones, skin, intestines, spleen, urine etc. One should see the burning of the body in a crematorium, its destruction, its conversion into food for vultures and dogs, and its becoming dust. The remem­bering of these truths, makes one forget love and attachment for one’s own or another’s body. Due to this the attachment to other evil tendencies is also destroyed. It result in complete lack of passions and elimination of pain. In this way, man avoids worldly attachment.

8. Right concentration:

By pursuing the seven laws propounded above, man’s tendencies of the chitta or mind are pacified and he becomes capable of entering right concentration. Before Nirvana is attained, right concentration has the follow­ing four stages:

(1) In the first stage, the four Noble truths arc meditated upon with a calm mind. Pure and detached thought creates unique happiness.

(2) In the second stage, efforts like meditation are suppressed and reasoning becomes unnecessary. Doubts are removed and faith in Noble Truths increases. Hence intuition replaces thought. Profound contemplation results in peace and evenness in the mind. At the same time, bliss also is experienced.

(3) The third stage is one of indifference. Here the endeavour is to remove happiness and introduce indifference in the mind. In this state, the mind is in equilibrium, but one becomes indifferent to the happiness of con­centration.

(4) The condition of absolute peace is the fourth stage in which pleasure and pain are destroyed. In it, the tendencies of the mind are negated. It is a stage of perfect peace, perfect indifference, and perfect negation. In it, pain is completely destroyed and nirvana attained.

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