Reflecting on the teachings

eightfold path

The Noble Eightfold Path

1. Right View Wisdom
2. Right Intention
3. Right Speech Ethical Conduct
4. Right Action
5. Right Livelihood
6. Right Effort Mental Development
7. Right Mindfulness
8. Right Concentration

How does one walk this eightfold path, moment to moment, in daily life?
Personally, I find that I often adhere to one and completely forget another. For instance, Right Intention can easily be negated by the lack of Right Action or Right Speech. Right Action without Right Mindfulness can also be the cause of suffering to yourself or others. And how often do many of us have Right View, yet Right Speech seems to escape us?

If this all seems to complicated and difficult, then I think we miss the point of Buddha’s teachings. He did teach us the Middle Path, not the extreme path or rigid path. Loving kindness, compassion and acceptance starts with the self. And knowing what’s “Right” does not mean we are always able to do it. But this is why we call it our practice. It is our intention and determination to walk the Eightfold Path. But I believe we can best do this by being kind and patient with ourselves.
There is no need to beat ourselves up for failing to have perfection in our daily lives. Only to remember the kamma (karma) is always present. Everything we think, say or do, produces kamma. Both positive and negative kamma create ripples that last far longer than our physical presence on this earth. And this does not mean we pay a price or are punished for our actions, only that there is an energy that continues. Just like when the wind blows, the leaves may fall from the tree. This is not a good or bad thing, simply the cause and effect of nature. And we too are a part of nature, a part of all things.

I think that the more we are able to observe and practice the Eightfold Path, the more we are able to nurture and cultivate loving kindness (metta) and compassion (karuna). Our awareness of this life becomes one of great equanimity (upekkha) and sympathetic joy (mudita). We become as the Sun and the rain are to the earth.
And just as the Sun may be hidden behind the clouds some days, our own radiance may be clouded behind our own hindrances at times. But rest assured, with practice, observance, and cultivation, the Sun will once again peek out from behind the clouds.

May you be well, happy and peaceful.