“The Eightfold Path” is basically a guide for adherents of Buddhism to follow, practice, and explore. It is considered one of the most common Buddhist traditions, which is still taught and practiced by secular Buddhists as well. The important teaching of the ‘The Eightfold Path’ allows its followers to free themselves from all desires, cravings, and sins which man imposes on themselves. The main tenets of “The Eightfold Path” are as follows;
- Right speech
- Right Vision
- Right actions
- Right intentions
- Right efforts
- Right mode of livelihood
- Right mindfulness
- Right concentration
Eightfold Path Defined
The following are going to be short definitions of the various teachings which are included in the Eightfold Path.
Right Speech or Samma-Vaca
First of all, the right speech or “Shoku” is speech that is clear, true, and uplifting. Right speech can also be defined as speech that is not harmful to others.
Right Vision or Samma-Ditthi
Also known as the right understanding or “Shoken” in Japanese, the right vision means being one with the nature of reality and having the past to transform insight.
Right Actions or Samma-Kammanta
Also called “shogun” is the ethical foundation of a person’s life. This basically means the non-exploitation of one’s self and others as well.
Right Intentions or Samma-Sankappa
Also referred to as “Shoshi”, it refers to having the right attitude which is needed when dealing with other people. This can only be achieved by liberating one’s self emotionally.
Right Efforts or Samma-Vayama
This refers to energy, vitality, or “Shonin”. It is also called the practice of right effort or diligence. Conscious evolution depends on us consciously directing our life energy to a transformative path, where we can achieve wholeness.
Right Mode of Livelihood or Samma-Ajiva
Also called “Shomyo” this refers to livelihood which is based on correct actions with regards to ethical and moral values, which is the basis of an Ideal society.
Right Mindfulness or Samma-Sati
This is also known as “Sho-Shojin” this means being in a state of thorough Awareness. This concept resonates with the teaching “if you hold yourself, dear, watch yourself well”.
Right Concentration or Samma-Samadhi
Also referred to as “Shojo”, this refers to the one-pointedness of the mind, essentially being in a meditation state where the whole concentration of one’s mind is on a singular object or thought. There is also another meaning for the word which means, being in a meditative state which allows not just the mind, but also a person’s whole being to be in a state of awareness. This is also referred to as Samadhi in the sense of enlightenment.
The Meaning of Samma
The meaning of “Samma” which is used frequently in the Eightfold Path means ‘whole, ‘thorough’, or ‘complete’. While it does not necessarily mean ‘right’ as opposed to ‘wrong’, it is oftentimes translated as ‘right’.
In everyday life, the Eightfold Path requires that an individual must never cause themselves bodily or emotional harm by robbing or slandering others, unchastity, or exposing one’s self to drugs or other hallucinogens, or taking the life of another human being or animal are all strictly forbidden.