Buddhist Concepts: The Noble Eightfold Path
If the Four Noble Truths form the foundation of Buddhist philosophy, then the Noble Eightfold Path sets out the basics of Buddhist ethics and daily behaviour. Providing eight specific areas in which Buddhists should seek to live their religion, the Eightfold Path is usually enunciuated as follows:
1. right view
2. right intention
3. right speech
4. right action
5. right livelihood
6. right effort
7. right mindfulness
8. right concentration
Together they seem to form quite a sensible delineation of the different areas of life in which we need to exercise wisdom, caution and spirituality.
The Eightfold Path is, in fact, the Fourth of the Four Noble Truths - it sets out quite specifically the path that leads out of suffering. Similar to the Ten Commanments in their intense practicality, the Eight prescriptions were not only taught by the Buddha, but formed the foundation of his own practise, and that is a pretty good endorsement.
Like all things Buddhist, the path seems deceptively simple. When you start to really examine each of the steps, you can quickly find yourself in some deep moral quandaries - especially surrounding Right Livelihood!
Some translators suggest that all those "Right"s are better translated as "Harmonious," which would lend a distinctly more poetic air to this potentially terrifying list of must-dos.