The eight elements of the Eightfold Path are not steps to be followed in sequence, one after another.
They are all linked together and each helps the cultivation of the others.
The eight elements of Eightfold Path can be divided into three groups: Wisdom, Ethical Conduct, and Meditation.
Wisdom: Right View, Right Intention.
Ethical Conduct: Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood.
Meditation: Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration.
- Right View:
It is insight into the true nature of things as they are, in particular with an understanding of the Four Noble Truths. The purpose of right view is to clear one’s confusion, misunderstanding, and deluded thinking. It’s a means to gain right understanding of reality. Then we see the world and ourselves with out delusion, hatred, greed, etc..
2. Right Intention:
Avoid thoughts of attachment, hatred, and harmful intent. Learn how to be mindful to intentions before we act, speak, or write.
3. Right Speech:
Refrain from verbal misdeeds such as lying, slandering, harsh words, and frivolous speech.
4. Right Actions:
Behave peacefully and harmoniously. Refrain from physical misdeeds such as killing, stealing and sexual misconduct.
5. Right Livelihood:
Avoid trades that directly or indirectly harm others, such as exploiting people or killing animals, or trading in intoxicants or weapons.
6. Right Effort:
Make a persisting effort to abandon all the wrong and harmful thoughts, words, and deeds, and to prevent them arising in future. That is to practice the Truth constantly, even in the face of difficulties. Without effort, we will be too quick to accept that we are unable to achieve our goal and drop our practice.
Our effort should be to refrain from watering the seeds of evil and harmful states, and to make effort to starve them if they are already growing. And we should water the seeds that are good and beneficial, and nurture their growth once they have sprouted.
7. Right Mindfulness:
Develop awareness of the body, sensation, feelings, and states of mind. Remove all inappropriate thoughts and extinguish all deluded thoughts.
8. Right Concentration:
Single-mindedness; that is the practice of focusing the mind solely on one object.