Noble Eightfold Path

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In Buddhism, the Noble Eightfold Path is declared to be the way that leads to the end of suffering, and nirvana.

As the name indicates, there are eight elements in the Noble Eightfold Path, and these are divided into three basic categories[1] as follows:

  • Wisdom (Sanskrit: prajñā, Pāli: paññā)
1. Right view (samma ditthi) – "Knowledge with regard to [the Four Noble Truths]"[2]
2. Right intention (samma sankappo) – "Being resolved on renunciation, on freedom from ill-will, on harmlessness"[3]
  • Ethical conduct (Sanskrit: śīla, Pāli: sīla)
3. Right speech (samma vaca) – "Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter"[4]
4. Right action (samma kammanto) – "Abstaining from taking life, abstaining from stealing, abstaining from unchastity"[5]
5. Right livelihood (samma ajivo) – Avoiding "[b]usiness in weapons, business in human beings, business in meat, business in intoxicants, and business in poison"[6]
  • Mental discipline (Sanskrit and Pāli: samādhi)
6. Right effort (samma vayamo) – Undertaking to "abandon what is unskillful" and "develop what is skillful"[7]
7. Right mindfulness (samma sati) – Maintaining mental focus "on the body", "feelings", "the mind" and "mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world"[8]
8. Right concentration (samma samadhi) – Withdrawal "from unskillful (mental) qualities", leading to "the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations", "the abandoning of pleasure & pain" and "purity of equanimity & mindfulness"[9]

References

  1. In the Pali canon, these three basic categories (Pali: khandha) are identified by the Bhikkhuni Dhammadinna in the "Culavedalla Sutta" (MN 44)[1] although in this sutta the categories are ordered: sīla, samādhi and paññā. These three basic categories are also similar to those articulated by the Buddha in his Threefold Training, as recorded in the Anguttara Nikaya's Sikkha Sutta (AN 3:88[2] and AN 3:89[3]).
  2. Maha-satipatthana Sutta (Digha Nikaya 22)
  3. Magga-vibhanga Sutta (Samyutta Nikaya 45.8)
  4. Magga-vibhanga Sutta
  5. Magga-vibhanga Sutta
  6. Vanijja Sutta (Anguttara Nikaya 5.177)
  7. Kusala Sutta (Anguttara Nikaya 2.19
  8. Maha-satipatthana Sutta
  9. Magga-vibhanga Sutta
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