Mystic Lotus

Ariya Atthangika Magga

Noble Eightfold Path

Ariya Atthangika Magga

Noble Eightfold Path

The 4th noble truth is there is a noble eightfold path leading to the cessation of suffering. This is the middle path which is the antidote to suffering. The Path is called Middle because it lies between the two extreme paths of self-indulgence (kàmasukhallikanuyoga) and self-mortification (attakilamathànu-yoga), which had been practised by the Buddha prior to His Enlightenment. The futility of the two paths of practice for the realization of truth led the Buddha to reason out a new path for the purpose of achieving the desired end.

The Noble Eightfold Path MN 117, otherwise named as the Middle Path (majjhimà pañipadà), consists of eight factors. The factors of the Path are inter-related and to be practised simultaneously. Those factors are mutually inclusive and mutually supportive.

The Path is made up of three aggregates consisting of morality (sila), concentration (samàdhi) and wisdom (pannà). The three factors, Right Speech, Right Action and Right Livelihood are included in the aggregate of morality. The three factors, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration are included in the aggregate of concentration. The two factors, Right Understanding and Right Thought, are in the aggregate of wisdom.

The Noble Truth of the Path that leads to the Extinction of Suffering
(Dukkha Nirodha Gamini Patipada Magga).

It is the Noble Eightfold Path, that is to say

  1. Right Understanding (Sammā Ditthi)

  2. Right Thought (Sammā Sankappo)

  3. Right Speech (Sammā Vācā)

  4. Right Action (Sammā Kammanto)

  5. Right Livelihood (Sammā Ājīvo)

  6. Right Effort (Sammā Vāyāmo)

  7. Right Mindfulness (Sammā Sati)

  8. Right Concentration (Sammā Samādhi)

“This Eightfold Path is the way leading to the cessation of consciousness which is the ultimate bliss, Nibbāna.”

The Noble Eightfold Path and the Lotus Sutra

The text of the Lotus Sūtra views the Noble Eightfold Path as the first teaching of the Buddha, but not the final teaching. In the third chapter, Similes and Parables, the sūtra introduces what it calls "the most wonderful and unsurpassed great Dharma".

In the past at Vārāṇasī, you turned the wheel of the Dharma of the Noble Eightfold Path, making distinctions and preaching that all things are born and become extinct, being made up of the five components (skandhas). Now you turn the wheel of the most wonderful, the unsurpassed great Dharma. This Dharma is very profound and abstruse; there are few who can believe it. Since times past often we have heard the World-Honored One's preaching, but we have never heard this kind of profound, wonderful and superior Dharma. Since the World-Honored One preaches this Dharma, we all welcome it with joy.

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The Noble Eightfold Path to A Happy Life