For this series, I will be drawing from the work of Bhikkhu Bodhi, an American Buddhist monk. Bodhi was born in New york city, however ordained in Sri Lanka. He then spent over twenty years in Sri Lanka, working as the president of the Buddhist Publication Society, before going back to the States, residing in a rural monastic neighborhood. He has also translated and supplied commentary on different divisions of the Sutta Pitaka of the Pali Canon.At the beginning,
it is important to keep in mind that systematizing the Buddha’s mentor on each specific part of the Eightfold Path includes drawing from a large array of texts. There do seem to be some “summary texts,” in which each part of the Path is briefly addressed, but other portions of the Canon add to the mentor in different methods. This can cause a variety of thought when modern-day Buddhist instructors explain these principles. Lineage (i.e. this is the teaching according to ____, who gained from ____, who learned from one of the most Age-old instructor _____) hence becomes a crucial piece to remember when studying any Buddhist teaching.According to Bodhi, the Eightfold Path can be broken into 3 divisions: Knowledge– Right View, Right Intention Morality
— Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood Concentration/Meditation– Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration Each group will be dealt with in a different post.Right View In its fullness, Right View includes the entire Dhamma– all the mentor of the Buddha.
But for useful functions, Bodhi provides two primary types– Mundane Right View and Superior Right View.Mundane Right View just requires accepting the law of kamma, a fundamental principle in both Hinduism and numerous forms of Buddhism.
Kamma(/ Karma )refers to the idea that our actions, whether wholesome or unwholesome, will eventually produce the corresponding fruit in our lives. Wholesome action will cause our ultimate good; unwholesome action will result in our ruin. Bodhi discusses the idea as follows:”Beings are the owners of their actions, the heirs of their actions; they derive from their actions, are bound to their actions, and are supported by their actions. Whatever deeds they do, good or bad, of those they will be beneficiaries.”Kamma is viewed as a doctrine. Although we might not see the fruit of wholesome action in the short-term, ultimately good action will constantly produce excellent fruit. This is not always comprehended in physical terms, but typically as a positive improvement in the soul. Physically, positive kammic action is typically seen as resulting in a much better circumstance in future births. Accepting the law of kamma is Mundane Right View.Superior Right View entails accepting the 4 Noble Truths, first intellectually, and lastly, after following the entire Path, experientially. At the start of the journey, one can contemplate the Noble Truths and accept them as realistically real, but it takes years of following the Path to come to an experiential realization:”This best view that penetrates the Four Noble Truths comes at the end of the path, not at the beginning. We have to start with the best view conforming to the truths, obtained through learning and fortified through reflection. This view inspires us to take up the practice, to embark on the threefold training
ethical discipline, concentration, and knowledge. When the training grows, the eye of wisdom opens by itself, permeating the truths and releasing the mind from chains. “Right Intent Right Intent is defined by Bodhi as” the application of mind needed”to attain the supreme goal of the Path– the Cessation of Suffering. Intention is basically the will of the mind to move toward its objective. Bodhi recognizes three “intentions”in the Buddha’s teaching: the intention of renunciation, the intention of
good will, and the
intent of harmlessness.The Intention of Renunciation is the intention to turn away from the pull of our desires and accessories. If one accepts the 4 Noble Truths, the root reason for our suffering is our desire for and accessory to things. Renunciation is just turning away from our yearning for those things. In the Catholic custom, this is spoken of as”mortifying the passions, “and entails abstaining from the important things we desire, especially sense experience( i.e. sex, material comforts, and so on). It is not that the things themselves are bad, however that our attachment to them, our need for them, traps us and eventually causes suffering. The Intent of Good Will is the objective to act in a manner that leads to the ultimate good of all living things. Metta– lovingkindness– need to be developed for all sentient creatures. This is sometimes accomplished through a form of meditation called Metta meditation, and reaches the animal kingdom, often manifesting in vegetarianism, and so on . The Intent of Harmlessness is the objective to act in a way
that results in flexibility from suffering for all living things. When practicing Right Intention, the mind is willed, over and over once again, towards wholesome thoughts and actions which eventually lead to the cessation of suffering. “The unwholesome thought resembles a rotten peg lodged in the mind; the wholesome thought is like a brand-new peg ideal to change it. The actual reflection functions
as the hammer used to drive out the old peg with the brand-new one. The work of driving in the brand-new peg is practice– practicing again and again, as typically as is essential
to reach success. The Buddha offers us his guarantee that the success can be accomplished. He says that whatever one contemplates frequently becomes the disposition of the mind. If one regularly thinks sensual,
hostile, or damaging ideas, desire, ill will, and harmfulness become the disposition of the mind. If one frequently believes in the opposite method, renunciation, good will, and harmlessness end up being the inclination of the mind (MN 19). The direction we take always returns to ourselves, to the intents we produce moment by minute in the course of our lives. “Thus the knowledge group of the Eightfold Noble Path consists of Right View and Right Intent. Source