A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Noble Eightfold path

The Noble Eightfold Path is considered to be the middle path. This is a way of life between the ascetic life and one of hedonism. The path of the ascetic is one of self denial, painful, and profitless. The path of hedonism is one of addiction to sensual pleasures, brings out the vulgar and ignoble and is profitless. By living a life in the middle, where we enjoy life without becoming slaves to pleasure or possessions. One where it is considered just, and right to have a comfortable life, and provide this to your family. By following  this path desires lessen and wisdom is gained. The Noble Eightfold Path includes three branches. Sila or ethical conduct, consisting of right speech, right action and right livelihood. Samadhi or mental development, consisting of, right effort, mindfulness, and concentration. The last is Panna which consists of right view and intent. These are not steps on a ladder rather, are considered to develop concurrently or simultaneously. One does not perfect one then move to the next. The Nobel Eightfold Path leads to Nibbana or Nirvana.  Walpola Rahula a Theravada monk interprets Nibbana, as “Nirvana can be realized in this very life; it is not necessary to wait till you die to “attain” it. He, who has realized the Truth, Nirvana, is the happiest being in the world. He is free from all “complexes” and obsessions, the worries and troubles that torment others. His mental health is perfect. He does not repent the past, nor does he brood over the future. He lives fully in the present. Therefore he appreciates and enjoys things in the purest sense without self-projections. He is joyful, exultant, enjoying the pure life, his faculties pleased, free from anxiety, serene, and peaceful. As he is free from selfish desire, hatred, ignorance, conceit, pride, and all such “defilements,” he is pure and gentle, full of universal love, compassion, kindness, sympathy, understanding and tolerance. His service to others is of the purest, for he has no thought of self. He gains nothing, accumulates nothing, not even anything spiritual, because he is free from the illusion of self, and the “thirst” for becoming.” Page 43, What the Buddha Taught.

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