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Eight Fold Path
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 Related Terms
• Buddha
• Four Noble Truths


Definition: According to the Buddha, the only way to achieve nirvana was through this eightfold path:

  1. Right Understanding
  2. Right Thoughts
  3. Right Speech
  4. Right Action
  5. Right Livelihood
  6. Right Effort
  7. Right Mindfulness
  8. Right Concentration

Right Understanding means an understanding of the Four Noble Truths. Thus, it can be seen that Buddhism relies more upon an attempt to understand the world than to simply have faith in scriptures or revelations.

Right Thoughts involve the idea of placing the principle of renunciation above material indulgence, thinking well of people rather than thinking badly about them, and thoughts of peace rather than of violence or cruelty.

Right Speech involves refraining from lying, slander, gossip, etc.

Right Action is about refraining from stealing, killing, attacking others, etc.

Right Livlihood is about avoiding certain occupations which may not cause one to be directly involved in transgressions against some aspect of the Eightfold Path, but which would implicate someone indirectly in such transgression. Relevant occupations include trade in weapons, slavery, alcohol, etc.

Right Effort is all about attitude - trying to eliminate any evil which has already developed, trying to prevent evil that might develop, trying to maintain any good which has already developed, and trying to promote any good which might yet develop. The basic idea is to keep you pointed in the right direction by focusing upon the principles of fostering good and opposing evil, regardless of what form they might take.

Right Mindfulness is a principle of staying aware of what you are doing at all times. By staying mindful of body, feelings and mind, it is easier to keep doing what is right and avoid doing what is wrong.

Right Meditation is about training the mind to improve both mental and spiritual discipline. Only by attaining an ability to focus on a single object can a person also attain sufficient clam and peace necessary for enlightenment.

Also Known As: none

Alternate Spellings: none

Common Misspellings: none

Related Resources:

What is Atheism?
The definition of atheism causes many people problems. Too often, people have the wrong idea of what atheism really is and what atheists really believe.

What is Agnosticism?
Misunderstandings about agnosticism are just as frequent as misunderstandings about atheism.

What is Theism?
What is the difference between monotheism and monolatry? Between pantheism and panentheism? How about between animism and shamanism? Or theism and deism? What the heck is henotheism? For that matter, what is and is not a religion?

What is Religion?
A system of human beliefs, ideals and practices which is harder to define than it may at first appear.

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