One thing that always gets me about Buddhism is how intensely psychological it is. It seemed to capture certain mental principles that weren’t fully understood until just recently, when medical science got into the brain.
Buddhism has flourished over the centuries because it works. Forget the spiritual aspects, think of Buddhism as yoga for the mind. You don’t have to be Hindu to do yoga, Buddhism is the same. It has lots of a-religious aspects, things that aren’t inside religion, but aren’t outside of it either; Buddhism is beyond it, it just works.
So hurry up, and give me some of it!
1. Right View – this is about removing the filters and emotional barriers. Seeing things for what they are, in an objective sense.
2. Right Intention – all things start in the mind. We set up our morals and ethics, and that sets up certain thoughts. Are we acting just for ourselves, or is there consideration for others?
3. Right Speech – words can kill. Seriously. If you’ve ever had sarcasm or bitterness directed at you, you feel the pain inside you. It hurts like a cut.
4. Right Action – how you go about doing somthing is important. In the west we say ‘the ends do not justify the means”.
5. Right Livelihood – if you’re Buddhist, I’m sorry, but you have to quit the mafia. Everyone has to earn an income, but it has to be done in the right way.
6. Right Effort – you shouldn’t waste your time. Time is the one thing you cannot get back. Don’t dally, use your time in the best possible way.
7. Right Mindfulness – this is where we start to get a little kooky. It ties into meditation, and knowing what’s going on in your head. Be aware!
8. Right Concentration – combining all these things will give you a united front. There will be a singular point of focus, which will shift automatically to what needs to be done. It will be directed, effective, purposeful, and beneficial to all. It is the zone.
That’s my take on the Noble Eightfold Path.