The joyful end of suffering comes from following the Buddha’s advice, whether you are Buddhist or not. You gain the ability to be detached by seeing everything around you exactly as it really is.
Buddha’s wisdom becomes yours when you implement his teachings. Having wisdom gives you an inner guidance system for ethical conduct. Greed, hatred and delusion is eradicated in you, making way for love, joy and peace to blossom fully.
Your life becomes cleaner and concentration can develop. With concentration, your focused mind can attain freedom. Freedom from suffering and the cycle of birth, death and rebirth.
In other words, you graduate. Only this graduation brings conscious eternal existence.
The first two Noble Truths deal with developing wisdom.
I. Right understanding: This means you gain an experiential knowledge of karma, the universal law of cause and effect. Harm that you inflict on yourself and others creates negative energies that must play out fully by being experienced by you. You see clearly that suffering is caused by your craving and by the impermanence of your body and all that you strive for.
II. Right motive or intention: Having right understanding guides you and grants you the ability to choose between what’s helpful or harmful in life. Renouncing harmful actions and becoming harmless to others and yourself is right intention.
Ethical conduct is the area governed by the next three Noble Truths. Ethical conduct naturally results from right understanding and right intention. You know what is right and you want to do it.
III. Right speech: This means speaking words that are affectionate, pleasing, heart warming, happy and joyful, making everyone around you feel good. Abstain from lying, abusive, divisive speech and idle chatter. Live in truth, be firm and reliable. Never speak in ways that break people apart or divide them. Always seek to bring everyone together to live in harmony. Your words should be a treasure guiding others to the goal of a happy life and liberation.
IV. Right action: This means you’re content with what you have. You don’t take anything that is not given freely. You respect all life without killing any living being. Refraining from sexual misconduct means that you only engage in sex with your partner in a joyful manner that brings no harm to anyone.
V. Right means of livelihood: This means you must not engage in any action that’s harmful to another being. Trafficking in weapons, humans, meat, dead animals or breeding animals for consumption and producing intoxicants or poisons all result in harm coming to living beings.
Concentration is the area of the last three Noble Truths. When you behave in harmless ways, your mind and emotions calm. You can concentrate.
VI. Right effort: You entertain no harmful thoughts, words or actions. You focus on what is good and useful for all, including yourself, without any concern for how hard the task is or how tired you are.
VII. Right remembrance: (of the self) You remain focused on what is arising inside yourself, constantly paying attention to your thoughts and actions so that you don’t slip forgetfully into harmful action.
VIII. Right realization: (Samadhi) You become able to concentrate on a single point with the objective of raising your consciousness to higher levels. A mind able to focus on a single point indefinitely is an empty mind that’s not distracted by the coming and going of many thoughts. It’s clear, calm and peaceful, like the early morning surface of a lake untouched by wind. It reflects everything it views exactly as it really is –like a mirror reflects your face.
All eight factors are intertwined. As students progress in one area, progress comes in all, but in the beginning, this advancement is likely to be stronger in certain areas.
Two great benefits accrue to those who diligently follow Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path.
1. Right Knowledge: Concentration brings the ability to see everything as it really is, not as the way that you want it to be, or the way that you think it is. This knowledge comes from direct experience, not from intellectual exercises like reading books.
2. Right Liberation: This is brought by direct, experiential knowledge of reality. You awaken to your true nature, what you really are.
So what are you, really?
Follow the path. You’ll discover yourself.
About the Author:
Richard Crown teaches meditation online via Skype/Telephone.
You can download free Ebooks and take a meditation course at Shaktipat-meditation.org/weekly-shaktipat-blessing/