The main objective of this article is to provide a brief review of the famous eight-fold path of Buddha for those who may not be aware of it.
The Buddha was a dedicated yogin with passion for meditative absorption, and his doctrine was primarily designed to show a concrete way out of the maze of sorrowful existence. The Yoga of the Buddha comprises eight distinct members:
(1) samma-ditthi – ‘right vision’, the realization of the transiency of conditioned existence;
(2) sammd-sankappa – ‘right resolve’, the threefold decision to renounce what is ephemeral, to practice benevolence and not to hurt any being;
(3) sammd-vaca – ‘right speech’, the abstention from idle and false talk;
(4) samma-kammanta – ‘right behaviour’, the proper moral conduct;
(5) samma-ajiva – ‘right livelihood’, the lay follower’s duty to pursue an occupation which does not demand the harming of beings;
(6) samma-vayama – ‘right exertion’, die warding off of unwholesome mental activity, chiefly by means of controlling the emotive reactions to external stimuli;
(7) sammd-sati – ‘right mindfulness’, the cultivation of awareness of the psychosomatic processes;
(8) samma-samadhi – ‘right unification’, the practice of certain techniques for the internalization of consciousness.
The first five members of the ‘noble eightfold path’ (ariyo atthangiko maggo) can be grouped under die heading of socio- ethical regulations. The remaining three members, however, are specifically yogic. While ‘exertion’ and ‘mindfulness’ can and should mostly be practised throughout the entire day, unification (samadhi) represents a special discipline for which undisturbed quiet is essential. Samadhi – in the buddhist sense of unification – comprises the meditative phases from sense- withdrawal up to enstasy, known as jhana in Pali.
Courtesy: Georg Feuerstein, Textbook of Yoga Rider and Company, London.