Buddha's Story - III

The Noble Eightfold Path

Where did Buddha teach the Eightfold path ?

The Buddha taught the Noble Eightfold Path, which is one of the core teachings of Buddhism, in many different locations throughout his lifetime of teaching. However, the most well-known and important teaching of the Noble Eightfold Path is believed to have taken place in Sarnath, India, shortly after the Buddha attained enlightenment.

According to Buddhist tradition, the Buddha gave his first sermon, known as the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta or "Setting the Wheel of Dhamma in Motion," to a group of five ascetics in the Deer Park at Sarnath. In this sermon, the Buddha taught the Four Noble Truths, which provide the framework for the Noble Eightfold Path, and then explained each aspect of the path in detail.

The Noble Eightfold Path consists of right understanding, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. These eight factors are seen as interconnected and mutually supportive, and are intended to guide practitioners toward the goal of liberation from suffering and the attainment of enlightenment.

Here's a brief explanation of each aspect of the Noble Eightfold Path:

  1. Right Understanding (Samma ditthi): This refers to understanding the nature of reality, particularly the Four Noble Truths, which are that suffering exists, suffering arises from craving and attachment, suffering can be overcome, and the path to the cessation of suffering is the Noble Eightfold Path.

  2. Right Intention (Samma sankappa): This involves cultivating wholesome intentions and renouncing unwholesome intentions. It includes the intention to practice generosity, loving-kindness, and compassion, and the intention to develop mindfulness and wisdom.

  3. Right Speech (Samma vaca): This involves speaking truthfully, kindly, and non-harmfully. It includes avoiding lying, gossiping, and divisive speech, and using speech to promote harmony and understanding.

  4. Right Action (Samma kammanta): This involves acting in ways that are ethical and non-harmful. It includes refraining from killing, stealing, and sexual misconduct, and cultivating virtues like generosity and kindness.

  5. Right Livelihood (Samma ajiva): This involves earning a living in ways that are ethical and supportive of one's spiritual practice. It includes avoiding livelihoods that involve harming others, such as selling weapons or dealing in drugs.

  6. Right Effort (Samma vayama): This involves making effort to cultivate wholesome qualities and abandon unwholesome ones. It includes developing mindfulness, concentration, and wisdom, and persevering in one's spiritual practice.

  7. Right Mindfulness (Samma sati): This involves cultivating present-moment awareness and mindfulness of the body, feelings, mind, and phenomena. It includes being aware of one's thoughts and emotions without getting lost in them, and developing insight into the nature of reality.

  8. Right Concentration (Samma samadhi): This involves developing deep concentration and tranquility through meditation. It includes cultivating one-pointedness of mind and developing the ability to focus on a single object to the exclusion of all else, leading to a state of profound peace and inner stillness.

How to practice The Eightfold Path?

Practicing the Noble Eightfold Path involves a combination of both mindfulness and effort. Here are some general guidelines for how to practice each aspect of the path:

  1. Right Understanding: Develop a clear understanding of the Four Noble Truths and the nature of reality through study and reflection. Seek out teachings from qualified teachers and engage in regular contemplation and reflection on the nature of suffering and the path to its cessation.

  2. Right Intention: Cultivate wholesome intentions through practices such as generosity, loving-kindness, and compassion. Set the intention to practice the Eightfold Path and to develop wisdom and insight.

  3. Right Speech: Be mindful of your speech and cultivate honesty, kindness, and non-harming in your communication with others. Practice speaking in ways that promote understanding and harmony, and refrain from speech that is divisive, untruthful, or harmful.

  4. Right Action: Cultivate ethical behavior and non-harming in your actions towards others. Practice generosity, kindness, and compassion towards others, and refrain from actions that cause harm, such as killing, stealing, and sexual misconduct.

  5. Right Livelihood: Engage in livelihood that is ethical and supportive of your spiritual practice. Refrain from engaging in work that causes harm to others, and instead seek out work that allows you to cultivate virtues such as generosity and compassion.

  6. Right Effort: Cultivate the effort needed to develop the path, including cultivating mindfulness, concentration, and wisdom. Practice regularly and consistently, and persevere even in the face of difficulties and obstacles.

  7. Right Mindfulness: Develop present-moment awareness and mindfulness of the body, feelings, mind, and phenomena through regular meditation practice. Be mindful of your thoughts and emotions and learn to observe them without getting lost in them.

  8. Right Concentration: Develop deep concentration and tranquility through meditation practice. Cultivate one-pointedness of mind and focus on a single object to the exclusion of all else, leading to a state of profound peace and inner stillness.

It's important to remember that practicing the Noble Eightfold Path is a lifelong process, and progress is made through consistent effort and dedication. Seek out guidance from qualified teachers and engage in regular practice to deepen your understanding and experience of the path.


What buddha taught after eightfold path?

After teaching the Noble Eightfold Path, the Buddha continued to teach many other important doctrines and practices, which are considered fundamental to the Buddhist tradition. Some of the key teachings that the Buddha emphasized after teaching the Eightfold Path include:

  1. The Three Universal Truths: 

  2. The Four Divine Abidings:

  3. Dependent Origination: 

  4. The Four Foundations of Mindfulness:

  5. The Five Aggregates: 

Overall, the Buddha's teachings after the Noble Eightfold Path emphasized the importance of developing insight and wisdom, cultivating positive mental states, and living in accordance with ethical principles. These teachings continue to be an important part of Buddhist practice and philosophy today.



-----to be continued in the next part  IV

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