Noble Path of the Enlightened One
Path of Buddhism has attracted many people even in the modern world. Search for compassion has brought many to the noble path of the enlightened one, including Steve Jobs of Apple Co..
A Prince in search of a path
The word Buddha means “the enlightened one” or “awakened one”. Siddhartha, the prince of Kosala which was an ancient state in North-east India, set out long ago, in search a solution for all the human sufferings.
Born in a royal family, pain could not approach little Siddhartha who was protected extremely carefully sine there was a prophecy that he would seek austere life someday. He was filled with every kind of pleasure so that he could not know anything about suffering. He was puzzled at the words of suffering. Worldly pleasures provided by his father Suthodhana, king of Kosala, kept young Siddhartha away from the baffling problems of life.
Siddhartha, in search of enlightenment
Siddhartha grew up and got married. At the age of 29, a son was born to Siddhartha. But Siddhartha’s mind was restless, seeking something beyond his comprehension. Diseases, pains of life, old age and death perturbed him much. Why all these sufferings? Why some are happy and others suffering? Why good people suffer and bad people prosper? The Hindu traditional rituals, caste differences and the social upheavals caused by these caste divisions in the society also troubled him. Wherever he turned there was only darkness. Longing for some light, he opened his eyes to spot at some Real Truth. In his search for Truth, he happened to witness more and more sufferings of humans that further made him upset.
The four noble truths of enlightenment
Siddhartha wandered hills and dales in search of an answer. He bowed at the feet of sages and wise men. Disappointed and dejected, he sat under a tree and meditated for 45 days, trying to achieve a state of Nirvana. All of a sudden, something flashed in his innermost. A sudden enlightenment was lit in the deep innermost realms of his conscience. The tree under which he got enlightenment was called Bodhi. Siddhartha was called Buddha “the enlightened”. Now, Buddha knew the answers for all sufferings and the way to face them. The answers for the baffling suffering of humanity were called “Four Noble Truths”. They are “Dukka” or suffering, “Samudaya” or the cause of suffering, “Nirodha” or termination of suffering and “Magga” or finding solution through following the eight-fold path.
The eight-fold path of Buddhism
1) The right views
Buddha never thought of finding a religion. His teaching was purely ethical. Understanding and accepting the teachings of the Buddha leads to right views. Only when you have the right views you can understand your sufferings and reach perfect bliss. Right view is the cognitive aspect of wisdom and it is the first step of the eightfold path.
2) The Right Intention
Right view gives you right intention. It means the determination to renounce worldliness, to give up every ill feeling towards others and stay away from any harm to others. It is the commitment to ethical and mental self-improvement. Buddha taught that right intention gives one determination to resist harmful desires. It develops an attitude of compassion.
3) The Right Speech
Speech is the foundation of any action. Hence, right speech leads to moral life and disciplined conduct. Ethical conduct of keeping away from harmful deeds comes from mental purification and right speech. It helps you to avoid vices of speech such as telling lies, unkind words, etc. By right speech Buddha teaches to tell the truth, to speak friendly, warm, and gently and to talk only when and what is necessary.
4) The Right Action
Words and deeds are expressions of life. Right action means right way of living. It includes the five vows for desisting from killing, stealing, cheating, sexual misconducts, and drunkenness. It guides one to act kindly and compassionately, to be honest in words and deeds, and to keep harmless sexual relationship.
5) The Right Living
Right living makes one live in the right path by exclusion of wrong methods of livelihood. One should work in consistency with the right intention and determination. It is the righteous way of leading one’s life. It is practiced in earning livelihood without any blemish.
6) The Right Effort
It is natural to be tempted to deviate from one’s right path and seek evil short cuts. Hence it becomes necessary to be alert and maintain constant effort. One should be steady in thoughts and deeds to be in the right path. Buddha suggests to occupy the mind with good ideas since empty mind may be prompted to slip away through temptations.
7) The Right Mindfulness
Right mindfulness aims at perceiving everything in its true nature with clear consciousness. It means perceiving body, mind, and feelings in truth. If you have false notions about them they will change your behavior. They may lead you instinctively to wrong conclusions. Attachment to body and senses enslave you to bondage and misery. Hence right is essential to free you from attachment and grief.
8) The Right Concentration
Unless you have right concentration, how can you have all the above seven paths? It keeps you in one-pointed state of mind, where all your mental faculties are unified and directed onto one particular object. It enables you to free from all entanglements of passions and evil thoughts. This keeps you calm and directs you to “Nirvana,” the eternal bliss.