Monday, July 27, 2015



Buddhism is a way of life based on the insight of a man who lived in India more than five-hundred years ago. It is a way of life free of doubt, faith, belief, religion, and any sort of deity.

The man, known as Guatama Siddhartha, has come to be called the Buddha, which means “Awakened One.”

Much has been written and circulated about Buddha the man. Unfortunately, a lot of it is misleading or just plain wrong. For example, he has been termed a religious mystic, an angel, a holy person, a saint, even a god. All of which is baloney.

The Buddha was an ordinary man.  He was fortunate enough to be able to think for himself, and in thinking for himself he was able to realize who and what he truly was and where he fit into the scheme of existence. When this awareness came about, he considered the awakening so valuable he shared it with anyone who would listen.

People did not have to swear an oath, or admit belief in anything, or confess anything. Just listen.


One the many truths the Buddha told has been fitted into something called the Eightfold Path of Human Behavior. This is a part of what is known as the Four Noble Truths. No matter who one is or what one is, the truths are relevant to all human life.

To start from the top, the Four Noble Truths lay everything on the individual human. They declare:

n  Humans are basically dissatisfied.

n  Humans cause their own dissatisfaction

n  Humans can end their dissatisfaction.

n  The way to end dissatisfaction is to follow a group of steps called the Eightfold Path.

Some scholars designate each of the eight paths by the term "right" or “correct,” meaning ethical or moral. Rather than using a label that represents right from wrong, or good from bad, the word “Proper” is more suitable.

 Rather than swallowing all eight parts in one gulp, the eightfold path is often grouped onto three subdivisions.


n  Two paths of wisdom (how we understand)

n  Three paths of conduct (how we act)

n  Three paths of attentiveness (how we think)

A caveat. Whatever the parts or measures are called, no single view stands alone. All eight are linked and the whole is essential to one’s awakening

The Two Paths of Wisdom

The two paths of wisdom are "Proper View" and "Proper Intention."
"Proper view" is sometimes called "Proper understanding." It means to see things are they really are. That is, understanding them objectively and fully. This requires truthful observation followed by reflection. In other words we must think about what we have observed. Only then can we have proper understanding.

“‘Proper Intention" is sometimes called "Proper thought." It means that we must not see things through the lens of negative emotions. We must free ourselves of desire, dislike, anger, and other negative emotions that can mess with our judgment.

The Three Paths of Conduct

The three paths of conduct are “Proper Speech,” “Proper Action,” and “Proper Livelihood.”

"Proper speech" means we should respect the truth and avoid harsh words that will lead to hurt feelings or quarrels. It means to treat others with respect when we speak and to consider the consequences of our words.

"Proper Action" means being respectful of all life and maintaining good relationships with all life. We should not intentionally kill any living thing. We should not take anything that is not freely given. We should not use other people for our own benefit.

It means living in harmony with all aspects of the Buddha's teachings.

"Proper Livelihood" is an extension of "'Proper action," but the focus is on how we earn our living. We should not do work that involves killing; or dealing in slaves, weapons, poisons, or min-altering substances.



The Three Paths of Attentiveness

"Proper Effort" is maintaining a positive attitude and approaching tasks with enthusiasm and cheerful determination. We should avoid becoming too intense in our work to the point of neglecting everything else, but also avoid slacking off.

"Proper Mindfulness" means we should retain awareness and focus as we go through our day. We should avoid a distracted or confused state of mind. It means being able to focus on the task at hand with a calm mind and not go wandering.

Mindfulness is not meditation, but it is like meditation in that we are physically and mentally aware. It means being attentive to what we are doing, what we are feeling, and what are we thinking.

"Proper Meditation" means practicing meditation wholly and completely. This produces an inner tranquility and sharpens awareness at the same time. It requires emptying the self to achieve a total stillness of mind and body.

The Eightfold Path of Buddhism in a Nutshell

If you wish to follow the eightfold path, be honorable in word, deed, and thought. Be a good, kind, positive, and moral person. Banish negativity and bring focus to all your activities.

The eightfold path may not be the path most travelled, but it is the one that is most likely to get you to where you want to go.


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