- 1. For the 4 supermundane paths (lokuttara-magga),
s. ariya-puggala -
- 2. The Eightfold Path (atthangika-magga) is
the path leading to the extinction of suffering, i.e. the last of the 4 Noble
Truths (sacca), namely:
Wisdom (paññā) III.
- 1. Right view (sammā-ditthi)
- 2. Right thought (sammā-sankappa)
Morality (sīla) I.
- 3. Right speech (sammā-vācā)
- 4. Right bodily action (sammā-kammanta)
- 5. Right livelihood (sammā-ājīva)
Concentration (samādhi) II.
- 6. Right effort (sammā-vāyāma)
- 7. Right mindfulness (sammā-sati)
- 8. Right concentration (sammā-samādhi)
Right view or right understanding (sammā-ditthi) is
the understanding of the 4 Noble Truths about the universality of suffering (unsatisfactoriness),
of its origin, its cessation, and the path leading to that cessation. - See the
Discourse on 'Right Understanding' (M. 9, tr. and Com. in 'R. Und.').
Right thought (sammā-sankappa): thoughts free from
sensuous desire, from ill-will, and cruelty.
Right speech (sammā-vācā): abstaining from
lying, tale-bearing, harsh language, and foolish babble.
Right bodily action (sammā-kammanta): abstaining
from killing, stealing, and unlawful sexual intercourse.
Right livelihood (sammā-ājīva): abstaining from
a livelihood that brings harm to other beings, such as trading in arms, in
living beings, intoxicating drinks, poison; slaughtering, fishing, soldiering,
deceit, treachery soothsaying, trickery, usury, etc.
Right effort (sammā-vāyāma): the effort of
avoiding or overcoming evil and disadvantageous things, and of developing and
maintaining advantageous things (s. padhāna).
Right mindfulness (sammā-sati): mindfulness and
awareness in contemplating body, feelings, mind, and mind-objects (s.
Right concentration (sammā-samādhi):
concentration of mind associated with advantageous (kusala) consciousness,
which eventually may reach the absorptions (jhāna). Cf.
There are to be distinguished 2 kinds of concentration,
mundane (lokiya) and supermundane (lokuttara) concentration. The
latter is associated with those states of consciousness known as the 4
supermundane paths and fruitions (s. ariya-puggala). As it is said in M.117:
"I tell you, o monks, there are 2 kinds of right view:
the understanding that it is good to give alms and offerings, that both good and
evil actions will bear fruit and will be followed by results.... This, o monks,
is a view which, though still subject to the fermentations, is meritorious, yields
worldly fruits, and brings good results. But whatever there is of wisdom, of
penetration, of right view conjoined with the path - the holy path being
pursued, this is called the supermundane right view (lokuttara-sammā-ditthi),
which is not of the world, but which is supermundane and conjoined with the
In a similar way the remaining links of the path are to be
As many of those who have written about the Eightfold Path
have misunderstood its true nature, it is therefore appropriate to add here a
few elucidating remarks about it, as this path is fundamental for the
understanding and practice of the Buddha's teaching.
First of all, the figurative expression 'path' should not be
interpreted to mean that one has to advance step by step in the sequence of the
enumeration until, after successively passing through all the eight stages, one
finally may reach one's destination, Nibbāna. If this really were the case, one
should have realized, first of all, right view and penetration of the truth,
even before one could hope to proceed to the next steps, right thought and right
speech; and each preceding stage would be the indispensable foundation and
condition for each succeeding stage. In reality, however, the links 3-5
constituting moral training (sīla), are the first 3 links to be
cultivated, then the links 6-8 constituting mental training (samādhi), and
at last right view, etc. constituting wisdom (paññā).
It is, however, true that a really unshakable and safe
foundation to the path is provided only by right view which, starting from the
tiniest germ of faith and knowledge, gradually, step by step, develops into
penetrating insight (vipassanā) and thus forms the immediate condition
for the entrance into the 4 supermundane paths and fruits of holiness, and for
the realization of Nibbāna. Only with regard to this highest form of
supermundane insight, may we indeed say that all the remaining links of the path
are nothing but the outcome and the accompaniments of right view.
Regarding the mundane (lokiya) eightfold path,
however, its links may arise without the first link, right view.
Here it must also be emphasized that the links of the path
not only do not arise one after the other, as already indicated, but also that
they, at least in part, arise simultaneously as inseparably associated mental
factors in one and the same state of consciousness. Thus, for instance, under
all circumstances at least 4 links are inseparably bound up with any karmically
advantageous consciousness, namely 2, 6, 7 and 8, i.e. right thought, right effort,
right mindfulness and right concentration (M. 117), so that as soon as any one
of these links arises, the three others also do so. On the other hand, right
view is not necessarily present in every advantageous state of consciousness.
Magga is one of the 24 conditions (s.
- The Noble Eightfold Path and its Factors
Explained, by Ledi Sayadaw (WHEEL 245/247). -
- The Buddha's Ancient Path, by Piyadassi Thera (BPS).-
- The Noble Eightfold Path, by Bhikkhu Bodhi (WHEEL