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Eric Gaines
Eric Gaines

Arya Ashtangika Margaya: The Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism


Arya Ashtangika Margaya: The Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism




The Noble Eightfold Path (Arya Ashtangika Margaya) is the core teaching of Buddhism that leads to the cessation of suffering (dukkha) and the attainment of enlightenment (nibbana). It consists of eight factors that are divided into three categories: morality (sila), concentration (samadhi), and wisdom (panna).




arya ashtangika margaya sinhala pdf 20


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Morality includes right speech (samma vaca), right action (samma kammanta), and right livelihood (samma ajiva). These factors help one to avoid unwholesome deeds and cultivate wholesome ones, based on the principle of non-harming oneself and others.


Concentration includes right effort (samma vayama), right mindfulness (samma sati), and right concentration (samma samadhi). These factors help one to develop mental clarity and stability, by applying diligent and mindful attention to the present moment.


Wisdom includes right view (samma ditthi) and right intention (samma sankappa). These factors help one to understand the true nature of reality and cultivate wholesome mental states, based on the insight into the four noble truths and the law of dependent origination.


The Noble Eightfold Path is not a linear sequence of steps, but a dynamic and interrelated system that can be practiced at any time and in any situation. It is also not a rigid set of rules, but a flexible and practical guide that can be adapted to one's own circumstances and needs. The Noble Eightfold Path is the way to liberation from suffering and the realization of one's true potential.


How can one practice the Noble Eightfold Path in daily life? The answer is not simple, as the Path is not a one-size-fits-all formula, but a personal and gradual process of transformation. However, some general guidelines can be given, based on the teachings of the Buddha and the commentaries of the Buddhist tradition.


  • Right view: This factor involves seeing things as they really are, without distortion or delusion. It means understanding the four noble truths: the truth of suffering, its cause, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation. It also means understanding the law of dependent origination: how everything arises and ceases in dependence on conditions. Right view is the foundation of the Path, as it motivates one to seek liberation and guides one's actions.



  • Right resolve: This factor involves making a firm and sincere commitment to follow the Path and to renounce unwholesome thoughts and intentions. It means cultivating the three kinds of right resolve: resolve for renunciation (nekkhamma sankappa), resolve for non-ill will (abyapada sankappa), and resolve for harmlessness (avihimsa sankappa). These are opposed to the three kinds of wrong resolve: resolve for sensual pleasure (kama sankappa), resolve for ill will (vyapada sankappa), and resolve for harming (vihimsa sankappa).



  • Right speech: This factor involves abstaining from false speech, divisive speech, harsh speech, and idle chatter. It means speaking truthfully, harmoniously, kindly, and meaningfully. Right speech is based on right view and right resolve, as it expresses one's understanding and intention. It also affects one's mind and others' minds, as it can either create or destroy trust, friendship, and peace.



  • Right conduct: This factor involves abstaining from killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, and intoxication. It means respecting life, property, sexuality, and clarity of mind. Right conduct is based on right view and right resolve, as it reflects one's understanding and intention. It also affects one's body and others' bodies, as it can either protect or harm oneself and others.



  • Right livelihood: This factor involves earning one's living in a way that does not violate the principles of right speech and right conduct. It means avoiding occupations that involve harming or exploiting other beings, such as trading in weapons, animals, intoxicants, or poisons. Right livelihood is based on right view and right resolve, as it shows one's understanding and intention. It also affects one's society and environment, as it can either contribute or detract from the welfare of all beings.



  • Right effort: This factor involves applying oneself diligently and energetically to the cultivation of wholesome mental states and the abandonment of unwholesome mental states. It means practicing the four kinds of right effort: effort to prevent unwholesome states from arising (samvara padhana), effort to abandon unwholesome states that have arisen (pannudaya padhana), effort to arouse wholesome states that have not arisen (bhavana padhana), and effort to maintain wholesome states that have arisen (anurakkhana padhana). Right effort is based on right view and right resolve, as it supports one's understanding and intention. It also affects one's mind and others' minds, as it can either purify or pollute one's mental stream.



  • Right mindfulness: This factor involves being aware of one's body, feelings, mind, and mental phenomena in the present moment, without attachment or aversion. It means practicing the four foundations of mindfulness (satipatthana): mindfulness of body (kaya), mindfulness of feelings (vedana), mindfulness of mind (citta), and mindfulness of mental phenomena (dhamma). Right mindfulness is based on right view and right resolve, as it clarifies one's understanding and intention. It also affects one's mind and others' minds, as it can either calm or agitate one's mental state.



Right samadhi: This factor involves attaining a state of deep concentration and unification of mind that leads to insight into reality. It means practicing the four stages of meditative absorption (jhana): first jhana with applied thought (vitakka), sustained thought (vicara), rapture (piti), and happiness (sukha); second jhana without applied thought and sustained thought but with rapture and happiness; third jhana without rapture but with happiness; fourth e0e6b7cb5c


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