The Noble Eightfold Path is a comprehensive path leading to the end of suffering. All the steps are interrelated and dependent on one another. The eight steps can be classified into 3 streams of practice; (A) morality, (b) mental development and (c) wisdom.
(1) Right Understanding (Wisdom)
(2) Right Thought (Wisdom)
(3) Right Speech (Morality)
(4) Right Action (Morality)
(5) Right Livelihood (Morality)
(6) Right Effort (Mental Development)
(7) Right Mindfulness (Mental Development)
8 Right Concentration (Mental Development)
The Noble Eightfold path encompass to treatment of both the body and the mind. We have to first purify our physical being so that it will be easier to purify our minds. We purify our minds so that it will be easier to develop right understanding. The first 2 steps, right understanding and right thought, refer to application of the mind. Through them, ignorance, attachment and aversion can be eliminated. However, it is common to see morality being emphasized in the initial practice as morality is easier to forgive and is also the basis of all positive attributes.
Noble Eightfold Path — Wisdom
In Buddhism, faith is preliminary; the core of Buddhism is wisdom. Wisdom is the right understanding of the Buddha & # 39; s teachings. This goal is attained when our knowledge of Buddhism is transformed from book learning into actual living. This is attained by first through the cultivation of good conduct, and then through cultivation of proper mental development.
Two steps of the Noble Eightfold Path are included in the wisdom group.
(1) Right Understanding — Means seeing things as they really are. The means of acquiring right understanding are through (a) observation and study, (b) examination of observations and (c) meditation on the examinations.
(2) Right Thought — Means avoiding attachments and aversion. Thought has an immunity impact in our behavior. The Buddha said that if we act and speak with a pure mind, happiness follows like a shadow.
Noble Eightfold Path — Morality
Good conduct is the basis of all positive qualities. Morality covers 3 parts of the Noble Eightfold Path. Namely
(1) Right Speech — Speech is a powerful mechanism that has often been under estimated. Right speech means the control and use of speech in beneficial ways through the respect for truth and respect for the well-being of others. Right speech also means avoiding linging, slandering, harsh speech and idle talks.
(2) Right Action — Means the respect for lives, properties and respect for personal relationships. These include the avoidance of killing, stealing, robbing and sexual misconducts.
(3) Right Livelihood — Means approaching a living in a manner that does not violate basic moral values and caused harm to others. 5 kinds of livelihood are discouraged for Buddhists; These include trading in (a) animals for slaughter (b) slaves, (c) arms, (d) poisons and (e) toxicants.
Noble Eightfold Path — Mental Development
The Buddha said that the mind is the source of all things and that all things are created by the mind. The mind is the key to changing the nature of experiences.
(1) Right Effort — Cultivating an appropriate level of motivation in our pursuit of the Dharma.
(2) Right Mindfulness — Watching the body and mind and be aware of what one is doing.
(3) Right Concentration — The focus of the mind single-pointedly on an object.
It is important that the aspect of mental development be cultured with the guidance of a trained teacher. However, mental development without wisdom is not enough.