It is said that all the Buddha ever talked about was suffering and the end of suffering. In the Four Noble Truths, the Buddha laid out the diagnosis, the prognosis & the prescription to end suffering: there is a path. I don’t want to leave folks hanging, let’s get right into it – that path is the Noble Eightfold Path (ariya-magga in Pali, the language spoken in the Buddha’s time) & it can be explored in three different sections.
Discussing the Eightfold Path, folks often use term RIGHT (“right view,” “right speech,” “right livelihood”); I find myself using WISE instead. Right can imply wrong. Wise works just as well and allows for a little more subtlety.
The first grouping deals with the cultivation of wisdom or discernment (pañña) and is made up of wise view and wise intention. The second group is concerned with the cultivation of virtue (sila) and is made of wise speech, wise action and wise livelihood. The third is all about concentration and meditation (samadhi) – wise effort and wise mindfulness. Let’s check out wisdom.
1: Wise View: knowledge of the Four Noble Truths
(crying emoji!) If a clip of a half-naked Seth Rogan singing the “Age of Aquarius” is enough to lure anyone into learning more about Right View, then my work here is done. This is time well spent.
2: Wise Intention: motivation to resolve suffering – resolve, renunciation, loving-kindness
I’m not much of an Aziz Ansari fan anymore, but it’s a good clip. Apologies if that kicks anything up for anyone. I haven’t gotten around to writing up notes on supporting last weekend’s API Chaya / Project NIA training to address gender-based violence, support people experiencing harm, and support people causing harm to change. That’s a post for another time.
Right now is a chance to learn more about about the Eightfold Path! Here are a few places to start:
- Eightfold Path basics at Lion’s Roar: https://www.lionsroar.com/what-is-eightfold-path/
- Practical instructions to end suffering at Tricycle: https://tricycle.org/magazine/noble-eightfold-path/
- Gina Sharpe speaking on Right Understanding at New York Insight PoC Sangha available at Dharma seed: https://www.dharmaseed.org/talks/audio_player/75/14111.html
- Joseph Goldstein‘s got a whole series of talks on the Satipatthana Sutta that are brilliant & available for download at Dharma seed. The first of two talks in the series about Right View is available to listen to or download here.
- The Noble Eightfold Path, The Way to the End of Suffering by Bhikkhu Bodhi at Access to Insight (suttas, commentary, analysis)