The Eightfold Path

These words of wisdom come from the Tricycle Daily Dharma for January 30, 2014. They talk about the eight steps in the Eightfold Path of the Buddha.

These steps have been the subject of many articles in these pages and it is always good to gain another perspective.

Bhante Henepola Gunaratana is a well-know Sri Lankan Buddhist monk. He teaches and practices in the Theravadan tradition which includes vipassana meditation. His book, Mindfulness in Plain English is very popular and is in its 20’th Anniversary Edition. You can tell by the smile on his face that he has much to offer us about mindfulness in the West.

Bhante G, as he is called by his followers, teaches us that mindfulness has to be practiced on each step of the Eightfold Path. The end result of all this mindfulness path is the end of dissatisfaction.

Tricycle Daily Dharma January 30, 2014

Eight Steps

Each step along the Buddha’s path to happiness requires practicing mindfulness until it becomes part of your daily life. Mindfulness is a way of training yourself to become aware of things as they really are. With mindfulness as your watchword, you progress through the eight steps laid down by the Buddha more than twenty-five hundred years ago—a gentle, gradual training in how to end dissatisfaction.

– Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, “Getting Started”

Henepola Gunaratana

From the perspective of mindfulness, let us examine the Eightfold Path.

According to Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, the elements of the Eightfold Path are Right View, Right Speech, Right Thought, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Diligence, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration.

“Getting started” on the path means practicing mindfulness on Right View from the very beginning. Listen to this recording to get Bhante Gunarantana’s ideas on right view.

You don’t have to believe in rebirth and karma in order to be a proper Buddhist. These concepts, as Thich Nhat Hanh explained, came from the Brahmin tradition extant in India when he was teaching. Bhante Gunarantana disagrees. Please listen to the podcast to see why.

Right view, according to the Buddha, is the view of suffering, its origins, its cessation, and the way leading to the cessation of suffering.

“Now this, monks, is the noble truth of suffering: birth is suffering, aging is suffering, illness is suffering, death is suffering; union with what is displeasing is suffering; seperation from what is pleasing is suffering… in brief, the five aggregates subject to clinging are suffering.”
~ The Buddha

What did you think of Bhante Henepola Gunaratana’s dharma talk on Right View?

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