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  1. The Path comprises eight teachings Buddhists follow in their everyday lives
  2. The Eightfold Path of Buddhism
  3. Noble Eightfold Path - Wikipedia
  4. The Noble Eightfold Path: Way to the End of Suffering
  5. Not a Step-by-Step Teaching: Simultaneous Rights

We practice mindfulness, concentration, and looking, touching, and understanding deeply, so that insight might be possible. The Venerable Nyanaponika, a German-born bhikkhu, has described mindfulness as the heart of Buddhist meditation. I fully agree. Right Thinking is a practice, and its essence lies in mindfulness. If you are not mindful, your thinking cannot be right. If you are not mindful, how can you practice Right Speech?

You can make a lot of people unhappy and create a war within your community or family. That is why mindfulness in speaking is the heart of right speech. Right Action — not to kill, not to steal, not to commit adultery, etc.

The same applies to Right Livelihood; if you are mindful of the ecosystem and the suffering of other species, your attempt to practice Right Livelihood has a chance to succeed. If you are not mindful about what is happening to the earth, the water, the air, the suffering of humans and animals, how can you practice Right Livelihood? Mindfulness must be the basis of your practice. If your efforts are not mindful, those efforts will not bring about the good result you hope for. Without mindfulness, the more effort you make, the more you can create suffering and disorder. That is why Right Effort, too, should be based on mindfulness.

When you practice Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration is easy. The energy of mindfulness already contains the energy of concentration, and with mindfulness and concentration, you practice looking, listening, and touching deeply, and out of that deep looking, listening, and touching, Right View is the fruit. Understanding and insight grow. When you sit correctly, your thinking is clear, and you act accordingly and practice Right Livelihood.

The practice of mindfulness, concentration, and Right View are the essence of Buddhist practice. They are called the Threefold Training — sila precepts , samadhi concentration , and prajna insight. Mindfulness is the foundation of all precepts.

The Path comprises eight teachings Buddhists follow in their everyday lives

When you practice the Five Precepts, you see that they are not imposed on you by someone else. I vow not to kill. Precepts are a concrete expression of mindfulness. To practice mindfulness means to practice the precepts in your daily life. I vow to protect children from abuse. I vow to refrain from any act that creates a disintegration of families or couples.

I vow to do my best to protect children. All precepts, whether they number 5, 10, 14, , or , are born from the practice of mindfulness. When you live your daily life this way, your mindfulness will grow. The energy of mindfulness brings about concentration. You are concentrated in your daily life. You are concentrated in your sitting and walking meditation, and you look deeply and touch deeply, which brings about more and more insight. More insight helps you practice mindfulness in your daily life more easily. If we look into any one of the eight branches of the path, we see that the other seven are present in it.

If we look at Right Speech, insight is present because correct speech is born from insight. We can see that we have concentration. If we are speaking mindfully about something, we know what we are saying. We can see the nature of interbeing in all elements of the path. Mindfulness practice must be applied to our daily life in order to be true practice. At Plum Village, we practice not only in the meditation hall, but in the kitchen, the garden, and the bathroom as well. It is helpful to slow down. We enjoy walking, reading, bending down, and all that we do in mindfulness.

When you drive, hold your baby, wash your dishes, or work at the office, you can practice mindfulness.

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But for that to be possible, you need the support of a Sangha. You must create a Sangha where you live, because you need the support of brothers and sisters in the practice. The Buddha was quite clear that the Noble Eightfold Path is the practice of our daily lives, not of intensive retreats alone. The Noble Eightfold Path is the practice of an engaged Buddhist. Right Action — not to kill but to protect all life, not to steal but to be generous in giving time and energy for the people who suffer, not to break up families and couples, not to harm children but to protect them — all these things are meant to be practiced in real life.

The Eightfold Path of Buddhism

He said that where there is the Noble Path, there is insight. We must use our intelligence to apply the elements of the Noble Eightfold Path to our daily lives. If you have deep insight into the truth of the suffering of beings, the truth of origination, the truth of cessation, and the truth of the path, you have Right View. In fact, if you have a deep insight into any of these Four Noble Truths, you have deep insight into all four. Each truth contains all the others.

This is the teaching of the Buddha about Right View from the historical dimension. From the ultimate dimension, nothing can be said about Right View. There is a Zen story about two monks walking together. One sees a beautiful bird fly by. It is so beautiful that he wants to share the sight with the other monk.

Noble Eightfold Path - Wikipedia

But the other monk has a pebble in his shoe and he is bending down to remove it. When the other monk looks up, there is no bird at all. It is impossible for him to share his wonderful feeling.

Sometimes we must just be quiet, when it is impossible to convey the insight. Is there a world?

The philosopher became frustrated and left. I said nothing at all, to protect him from wrong views. Another time, an ascetic asked the Buddha to explain ultimate reality without using the terms being and nonbeing. The Buddha maintained silence for a long time, and the ascetic bowed three times and left. Sometimes in Zen circles, they use language that is difficult to understand.

This language is not made of concepts. It is a language to help us drop our concepts. From time to time, I try to use that kind of language myself. If I said I am from the north, he would think I was anti-American. To understand the speech used in Zen circles, you must become familiar with this kind of language. That monk had been living in the monastery for several years and he passed that cypress tree thousands of times, yet he never became aware of its presence.

If he had been mindful, he could have touched the ultimate reality directly. How could he expect to touch ultimate reality if he had not even touched the tree in the front yard? The story of that cypress tree became very well known throughout China. Another monk who heard the story of the cypress tree traveled very far to visit that teacher to ask him about it. But by the time the monk arrived, the teacher had already passed away.

He was distraught as he now had no chance to ask his question.

The Noble Eightfold Path: Way to the End of Suffering

The visiting monk went through many formalities to obtain an audience with this disciple, who was now senior monk. There is no cypress tree here. It had become an important topic of debate.

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Yet the head of the very temple where it originated did not seem to know anything about it? He tried to explain to the head monk that it was a very deep subject of meditation.

Not a Step-by-Step Teaching: Simultaneous Rights

He asked him if he was really the disciple of the master. Too many people were caught by it. The cypress is a Dharma door. When you understand this type of exchange, you change your way of looking and understanding, and that can help lead you to enlightenment. In the ultimate dimension, nothing can be said. Limitations of space prevent an exhaustive treatment of each factor. To compensate for this deficiency I have included a list of recommended readings at the end, which the reader may consult for more detailed explanations of individual path factors.

For full commitment to the practice of the path, however, especially in its advanced stages of concentration and insight, it will be extremely helpful to have contact with a properly qualified teacher. References to Vism. The search for a spiritual path is born out of suffering.