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The Noble Eightfold Path: Meaning and Practice - Term Paper Example

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This paper "The Noble Eightfold Path: Meaning and Practice" discusses the practical nature of Buddhism and its emphasis on practice and application in everyday life. The study analyses the ethical and spiritual guideline with the eight steps of Siddhartha Gautama connected in parallel…
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The Noble Eightfold Path: Meaning and Practice
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Download file to see previous pages The Noble Eightfold path emphasises the role of positive application coupled with abstinence from negative aspects so as to gain complete mastery over all the steps, which are: Right View and Right Intention, which are part of wisdom; Right Speech , Right Action and Right Livelihood, which form the Buddhist basis for ethical conduct; and Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration, which encourage mental development.
The Right View entails intuitively perceiving everything as it really is, transient and imperfect in nature, according to the precepts of the Four Noble Truths. This is the cognitive form of wisdom. The Right Intention reinforces the positive aspects of the human will, which leads to renunciation, goodwill and harmlessness. The importance of speech in Buddhist philosophy cannot be underestimated, and the path of Right Speech expects one to abstain from false speech, malicious talk, idle chatter, and hurtful words. The second part of Buddhist ethical conduct lies in Right Action which forbids harming sentient beings and taking of life, including suicide. It also advises against taking anything that is not given freely, without the use of deceit or force, and rules out sexual misconduct. The third principle of ethical conduct is the path of Right Livelihood, which advices against any profession that goes against right speech or action or involves violence, like the slave trade, raising animals for slaughter, butchery, prostitution, dealing in weapons, intoxicants and other poisons.
The last three principles of the Noble Eightfold path emphasize mental development: Right Effort encourages the focus of the mental energy and will on positive and wholesome states and actively discourages unwholesome states. Right, Mindfulness talks about the purity of perceptions uncorrupted by sense impressions, thoughts, and concepts, the four foundations of this path are the contemplation variously of the body, of feeling, of the state of mind and of phenomena. The last principle of Right Concentration describes the concentration on wholesome thoughts and actions through the practice of meditation, in order to have naturally elevated levels in concentration even in everyday life in general.
Simple as they are, the principles of the Noble Eightfold path have their merit not in theory alone, but in arduous, repeated, practice. It is hard for a twenty-one-year-old in a developed country like Canada to grasp the transient nature of this world, when he is young and living in relative affluence. All of the existence seems to be in an everlasting state of pleasantness. The principle of the Right View is still to be realized thoroughly through the experiences of mortality and decay. The stories in the media of misfortunes that occur in distant lands; or closer home, the illness, and death of a friend, relative, or a well-loved pet drives home the perception of mortality and impermanence in our world. When dealing with such setbacks, the principle of Right View can guide a twenty-one year old, thus providing him with intuitive insight and saving him from despair. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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