“We're all just walking each other home.”
― Ram Dass
The Eightfold Path
The Fourth Noble Truth, the truth of the way to the end of suffering, is known as the most important element in the Buddha's teaching because it is what makes the Dharma available to us as a living experience. The Fourth Nobel Truth IS the Noble Eightfold Path - which is not intended to describe a sequential learning process, but rather eight aspects of life which are to be integrated. The eight factors are also divided into three larger groups.
The Eightfold Path is meant as a guideline used to promote learning and a process of self-discovery.
The term "Right" (or Skillful) is used to describe aspects that are ethical, and reflect a balanced, or middle way.
1. Right View or Understanding: To keep ourselves free of prejudice and superstition, and to see the true nature of life.
2. Right Intention or Thought: To turn our minds away from the violence and hatred in this world and work on focusing on the positive.
3. Right Speech: To refrain from harmful talk and to use our words wisely.
4. Right Action: To see that our deeds come from peace and goodwill. To grow every day in the Buddha’s Teachings.
5. Right Livelihood: To try to earn our living in such a way that we avoid harming ourselves and others.
6. Right Effort: To use our energies to promote the overcoming ignorance and destructive desires.
7. Right Mindfulness: To cherish a good mind and be attentive.
8. Right Concentration: To practice meditation and cultivate awareness.
The Eightfold Path is essentially a way to awakening as following it establishes the set of conditions necessary to achieve wisdom. Wisdom, in turn, serves to eliminate the ignorance which generates the craving and clinging that is the source of our suffering. The Path produces knowledge, insight and peace or freedom from suffering.