The Noble Eightfold Course The Noble Eightfold Course is an early summary of the course of Buddhist practices leading to freedom from samsara, the unpleasant cycle of renewal.
The Eightfold Course consists of eight practices: ideal view, best resolve, best speech, ideal conduct, best income, ideal effort, ideal mindfulness, and right “samadhi” (meditative absorption or union). In the earliest Buddhism these practices began with insight (best view), culminating in dhyana/samadhi as the core soteriological practice. In later Buddhism insight (prajna) ended up being the central soteriological instrument, causing a various concept and structure of the path.
The Eightfold Path teaches that by restraining oneself, cultivating discipline, and practicing mindfulness and meditation, house-leavers (monks and nuns) attain nirvana and stop their yearning, clinging and karmic accumulations, thereby ending their rebirth and suffering.
The Noble Eightfold Course is one of the primary mentors of Theravada Buddhism, causing Arhatship. In the Theravada custom, this course is also summarized as sila (morals), samadhi (meditation) and prajna (insight). In Mahayana Buddhism it is contrasted with the Bodhisattva path, which culminates completely Buddhahood.
In Buddhist meaning, the Noble Eightfold Course is frequently represented by methods of the dharma wheel (dharmachakra), whose eight spokes represent the 8 elements of the path.
The Eightfold Course Origin
According to Vetter, the description of the Buddhist course may initially have actually been as basic as the term “the middle way”. In time, this short description was elaborated, resulting in the description of the eightfold path. Vetter and Bucknell both note that longer descriptions of “the path” can be discovered, which can be condensed into the eightfold path.
The 8 Divisions
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The Dharma wheel, often used to represent the Noble Eightfold Path Eight-fold course showed in a dharma wheel. Right View: our actions have repercussions; death is not the end, and our actions and beliefs have also repercussions after death; the Buddha followed and taught a successful course out of this world and the other world (heaven and underworld/hell) In the future, best view concerned explicitly include karma and renewal, and the importance of the Four Noble Truths, when “insight” became central to Buddhist soteriology.
The Noble Eightfold Path is sometimes divided into three standard divisions, as follows:
|Department||Eightfold Course aspects|
|Moral virtue (Sanskrit: śīla, Pāli: sīla)||3. Right speech
4. Right action
5. Right livelihood
|Meditation (Sanskrit and Pāli: samādhi)||6. Right effort
7. Right mindfulness
8. Right concentration
|Insight, knowledge (Sanskrit: prajñā, Pāli: paññā)||1. Right view
2. Right fix
This order is a later advancement, when discriminating insight (prajna) became central to Buddhist soteriology, and happened considered the culmination of the Buddhist path. Yet, the first seven practices as essentials for best samadhi. This might have been the original soteriological practice in early Buddhism.
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