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The fourth noble truth leads to the eightfold path.

The eight virtues of the eightfold path are further


divided into three categories namely, Ethical conduct, Mental discipline and Wisdom. The teachings of
buddha are practical and fully clear to his followers as they were given to them

THE NOBLE EIGHTFOLD PATH

1. Right Understanding (Samma ditthi)

2. Right Thought (Samma sankappa)

3. Right Speech (Samma vaca)

4. Right Action (Samma kammanta)

5. Right Livelihood (Samma ajiva)

6. Right Effort (Samma vayama)

7. Right Mindfulness (Samma sati)

8. Right Concentration (Samma samadhi)

Buddha’s whole life was based on these virtues given in the eightfold path. He always tried to make
people understand and adapt these virtues as much as they can. Buddha always taught these virtues
according to the capacity of a person. How much a person can swallow. There is no compulsion in
following the eightfold path numerically.

The purpose of the eight virtues is to the promotion and ripeness of the three main essentials

ETHICAL CONDUCT

In Buddhism, ethical conduct means compassion and love for all in the universe. Unfortunately, the
scholars have neglected the main concept of ethical conduct and promoted the dry philosophical
teachings. The buddha had always said “good for everyone, happiness for everyone in the universe”

The ethical conduct is basically divided into two parts, Compassion and wisdom. The compassion means
love which also includes charity, kindness, tolerance and the emotional side while the wisdom includes
the intellectual side or capabilities of mind. To live a peaceful life, according to buddha, one has to keep
both of these things side by side. If one only goes for the compassion, he would be good-hearted fool
and if he only chooses wisdom, he would be hard-hearted man. Therefore, they are inter-linked.

Ethical conduct contains three virtues, Right speech, Right action and Right livelihood.

RIGHT SPEECH

Right speech means good speech. It basically means to avoid from

 Telling the lie


 Backbiting or any other talk which can bring enmity
 Foul and abusive language or any kind of harsh words
 Idle, useless or foolish talk

When a person control himself from these talks, he automatically begins to speak the truth. If he could
not, he should keep the “noble silence”

RIGHT ACTION

Buddha has taught his followers that actions do have consequences. Your actions and beliefs will have
the consequences. Death is not the final end. So right action here means to avoid from stealing, lying,
sexual misconduct, cheating etc.

RIGHT LIVELIHOOD

Buddha has always taught his people to live for others, to do good to others. By right livelihood, Buddha
means to earn your livelihood in a way in which you can help the other people and not in the way which
can cause harms to others like developing weapons or producing vines or other poisonous things like
cigarettes. These things are the source of livelihood for the producers while a way to death for the
people. So one should avoid earning that way.

MENTAL DISCIPLINE

The next category is mental discipline which deals with the mental qualities. It includes three other
virtues namely, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration.

RIGHT EFFORT

Right effort means to struggle with your mind to get rid of all evil thoughts. Evil thoughts are linked to
our desires. Whenever we have desires, we have evil thoughts in our mind to fulfill those desires by any
means. To get rid of these evil thoughts, one should do the right effort to control his desires and
unwholesome thoughts. Right effort is also for the good and healthy thoughts to be arisen in our minds.

RIGHT MINDFULNESS

Right mindfulness means the activeness of mind. Buddha has taught his followers to keep themselves
aware of their own bodies and mental health and their surroundings. According to Buddha, a person
should do the respective exercises or meditation for the activeness of body and the mind. The other
thing which is also included in right mindfulness is sensations and feelings. A person should know what is
pleasant or unpleasant feelings and sensations. He should also care about the feelings of other people.
The other thing is activities of mind which bring up different ideas and conceptions in our mind. One
should be aware of the ideas and conceptions in his mind, how to promote them, how to suppress
them.

RIGHT CONCENTRATION

Right concentration means focusing the mind in the right direction. In Buddhism, right concentration
leads to a state of Dhyana which means the total awareness. There are four stages which leads to this
state. The first stage is abandoning all the desires and maintain happiness. The second stage is expelling
the intellectual thoughts. The third is the removal of joy and fourth one is the attainment of equanimity.
This is the stage of awareness.
Right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration are necessary for the mental growth

WISDOM

The remaining two virtues are considered under wisdom namely, Right thought and right understanding.

RIGHT THOUGHT

In Buddhism, right thought means the thought of selflessness, thought of affection and thought of
positivity. The first principle of Buddhism is to throw away the self-obsession and to live selflessly for
others. This can only be done by giving up all the desires. The next thought is of affection for the others
regardless of any purpose. The last thought is of positivity means the thought of non-violence. These all
thoughts are directly linked with the wisdom and lacking these thoughts means lacking wisdom

RIGHT UNDERSTANDING

Right understanding means grasping the actual reality of the things. According to Buddha, in order to
achieve the total awareness of the things one should have the right understanding of the things i.e. he
should know the actual reality of the things. He should not go for the apparent reality. He should go
deep and deep to know the actual reality. Only this way, he can be called wise and can gain the total
awareness.

CONCLUSION

From this brief account of the eightfold path, it is concluded that everyone should practice these virtues.
It has nothing to do with the prayers, belief or worshipping. We can not name it as a “religion”. These
are in fact some spiritual and ethical virtues which leads to the ultimate peace and calm which are
mandatory to achieve the state of nirvana. One more thing to remember is that there is no God in
Buddhism. Even Buddha is not considered God by his followers.