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BBnB (2.5a) How We Actually Learn Buddhism and, The Noble Eightfold Noble Path

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  • GhanaBhuti@AOL.com
    Namo Buddhaya Namo Dharmaya Namo Sanghaya BBnB Monday Night Buddhist Discussion When: Monday, February 6, 2006 at 10:00 pm Eastern Time Where - The Buddhist
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 3, 2006
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      Namo Buddhaya Namo Dharmaya Namo Sanghaya

      BBnB Monday Night Buddhist Discussion

      When: Monday, February 6, 2006 at 10:00 pm Eastern Time

      Where - The Buddhist Discussion Room
        <---This is a Clickable Link to the room

      Buddhism Basics and Beyond
      <---This is our Website

      Index File - Version 10/21/2005
         <--- This is our Topic Index (You must join Yahoo and the Buddhism Basics and Beyond Group to View the Files, This is Yahoo's Rule, not mine.)

      * * * * *

      Our Topic Tonight is:

      How We Actually Learn Buddhism and,

      The Noble Eightfold Noble Path

      Hi Folks,

      How We Actually Learn Buddhism

      It is often said that the best way to learn Buddhism is from a teacher in a center. While this is true in part, it is also false in part. Centers, in addition to being sources to conserve, protect and teach the Dharma, are economic entities that teach from their own lineage and with a selection that fits the curriculum of their center. In the category of 'what fits' there are definite economic factors that play into the decision making. After all, if there's no money, there's no center and no teaching.

      Also, certain lineages emphasize different parts or styles and just don't have time to teach all the branches of Buddhist knowledge. This is where our personal Sangha and other students of the Dharma come to our assistance.

      I remember so many nights after the programs at our local centers, some of us would go out for coffee, Mexican or Chinese and talk until they threw us out.

      During those years, much of what we were learning was so very new that it took more than one set of ears to pick apart the distinctions and then, use the process to put together a coherent set of skills that would eventually lead us into a deeper knowledge of the Dharma. As our Meditations added to the gifts of both Lama and Sangha, this sort of conversation became a fulfillment of The Three Wisdoms - Hearing and Contemplation with the Sangha and Solitary Meditation.

      One thing that I found critical in learning was to fill in my knowledge with abundant reading. As the years went by, several friends and I spent many hours in discussing the teachings in a remarkable series of books. Chogyam Trungpa, Thich Nhat Hanh, Kalu Rinpoche, HHDL, Tarthang Tulku and many others gave us abundant material for our discussions.

      All of this is also some of the Best Fun I've ever had.

      We learn by all the means we can find. We learn in centers, formal teachings and retreats. We learn in Chat rooms and Coffee Shops and in the late hours of the night where desk lamp and the pages of a Book of remarkable words feed our minds with the Nourishment that will enable Mind to discover its own nature.

      So - in terms of 'What the Heck is the Noble Eightfold Path REALLY About,' you will find out for yourselves thru the years as you use the basic descriptions that we'll cover today along with your increasing knowledge of the Wealth of Teachings that the Buddha and his Worthy Successors have given us. I do hope your lives fill with Love, Joy, Compassion and Equanimity as what you learn today turns into the Accumulations of Merit and Wisdom.

      * * * * *

      In this email, I'm sending a little intro and two short articles. The Second email will contain another article.

      è      The Introduction gives a brief outline of the Noble Eightfold Path.

      è      The First article is a brief verbal description of each section of the Eightfold Path.

      è      The Second article is a description from a Theravadin Perspective that quotes some references in the Pali Canon where Buddha spoke of the Eightfold Path. This also serves as an introduction to the kind of Logic and Presentation that is found in the Suttas.

      è      For the second email in the series, I'll send another brief article to compare and contrast the modes of thinking of two different presentations. In this way, we can mimic the effect I spoke of above - letting ideas come together and blend and then, taking them back to the meditation cushion. In this manner we can begin to see how the Teachings start to come together. Sangha becomes part of Mindfulness, The Three Prajñas and further, all that we do begins to become more and more accustomed to the Noble Eightfold Path.

      Despite its common sense simplicity, the Teaching of the Fourth Noble Truth (aka the Noble Eightfold Path) is remarkably Profound.

      * * * * *


      The Noble Eightfold Path is much more significant than a mere listing of things and activities that we are supposed to do - to pay attention to.

      If we recall the Eightfold Path, it can serve as a point of Mindfulness in all of our activities and keep us from situations where we will fall short of the Buddha's Description of what he taught:

      1. To do all the good we can;
      2. To do as little harm as we can; and
      3. Tame and Train the Mind.

      In the Dhammapada, it is rendered

      The non-doing of any evil,
      the performance of what's skillful,
      the cleansing of one's own mind:
          this is the teaching of the Awakened.
                   - Dhp 183

      Another way to see the Eightfold Path is that
      All the Teachings of the Three Yanas, Three Turnings and Innumerable Schools of Buddhism are elaborations on the Eightfold Path.

      Remember also that All of the Buddha's Teachings are meant for practice. So, the 'list' is more than a 'list.' This List is to be examined over a lifetime with the Three Prajñas of the Buddha (hearing, contemplation and meditation) and integrated into our mind and psychology so that we can achieve the Body, Mind and Speech of a Buddha.

      The Noble Eightfold Path is commonly presented in Three Sections, Wisdom,  Ethics and Meditation

      Wisdom Section (Pali. Panna or Skrt. Prajña)

      è      1.    Right Understanding
      è      2.    Right Thought

      Ethical Section (Sila in both Pali and Skrt.)

      è      3.    Right Speech
      è      4.    Right Action
      è      5.    Right Livelihood

      Meditation or Concentration Section (Samadhi in both Pali and Skrt.)

      è      6.    Right Effort
      è      7.    Right Mindfulness
      è      8.    Right Concentration

      The Short article below gives a brief description of each of the Eight.

      Namaste and Shanti,


      * * * * *
      Article 1

      The Eightfold Path from Beliefnet.org

      extracted from

      A Basic Buddhism Guide: Introduction to Buddhism

      The path to liberation from these miserable states of being, as taught by the Buddha, has eight points and is known as the eightfold path.

      The first point is called right view -- the right way to view the world. Wrong view occurs when we impose our expectations onto things; expectations about how we hope things will be, or about how we are afraid things might be. Right view occurs when we see things simply, as they are. It is an open and accommodating attitude. We abandon hope and fear and take joy in a simple straight-forward approach to life.

      The second point of the path is called right intention. It proceeds from right view. If we are able to abandon our expectations, our hopes and fears, we no longer need to be manipulative. We don't have to try to con situations into our preconceived notions of how they should be. We work with what is. Our intentions are pure.

      The third aspect of the path is right speech. Once our intentions are pure, we no longer have to be embarrassed about our speech. Since we aren't trying to manipulate people, we don't have to be hesitant about what we say, nor do we need to try bluff our way through a conversation with any sort of phoney confidence. We say what needs to be said, very simply in a genuine way.

      The fourth point on the path, right discipline, involves a kind of renunciation. We need to give up our tendency to complicate issues. We practice simplicity. We have a simple straight-forward relationship with our dinner, our job, our house and our family. We give up all the unnecessary and frivolous complications that we usually try to cloud our relationships with.

      Right livelihood is the fifth step on the path. It is only natural and right that we should earn our living. Often, many of us don't particularly enjoy our jobs. We can't wait to get home from work and begrudge the amount of time that our job takes away from our enjoyment of the good life. Perhaps, we might wish we had a more glamorous job. We don't feel that our job in a factory or office is in keeping with the image we want to project. The truth is, that we should be glad of our job, whatever it is. We should form a simple relationship with it. We need to perform it properly, with attention to detail.

      The sixth aspect of the path is right effort. Wrong effort is struggle. We often approach a spiritual discipline as though we need to conquer our evil side and promote our good side. We are locked in combat with ourselves and try to obliterate the tiniest negative tendency. Right effort doesn't involve struggle at all. When we see things as they are, we can work with them, gently and without any kind of aggression whatsoever.

      Right mindfulness, the seventh step, involves precision and clarity. We are mindful of the tiniest details of our experience. We are mindful of the way we talk, the way we perform our jobs, our posture, our attitude toward our friends and family, every detail.

      Right concentration, or absorption is the eighth point of the path. Usually we are absorbed in absentmindedness. Our minds are completely captivated by all sorts of entertainment and speculations. Right absorption means that we are completely absorbed in nowness, in things as they are. This can only happen if we have some sort of discipline, such as sitting meditation. We might even say that without the discipline of sitting meditation, we can't walk the eightfold path at all. Sitting meditation cuts through our absentmindedness. It provides a space or gap in our preoccupation with ourselves.

      Article 222

      A Theravada Perspective from

      Noble Eightfold Path - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

      The Noble Eightfold Path (Pali: ariya atthangika magga), according to Buddhism and as taught by Siddhartha Buddha, is the way to the cessation of suffering, the fourth part of the Four Noble Truths. It is summarized into three important categories: wisdom (pañña), virtue (sila), and concentration (samadhi).

      The following is An Analysis of the Path, a sutra
      or discourse delivered by Siddhartha Buddha from the Tipitaka, explaining this Noble Eightfold Path in detail. In all these, the word "right" is a translation of the word samma (Pali; Sanskrit: Samyañc), which denotes completion, togetherness, or coherence, and which can also carry the sense of "perfect" or "ideal".

      Contents - The Eightfold Path (and beyond) divided into sections

      1 Wisdom
      2 Virtue (Ethical Conduct)
      3 Concentration (Mental Development)
      4 The ninth and tenth elements 5 External links

      Wisdom - Pali Panna, Skrt. Prajña

      1. Right Understanding (or Right View, or Right Perspective) - samma ditthi

      "And what, monks, is right understanding? Knowledge with regard to sadness, knowledge with regard to the origination of sadness, knowledge with regard to the stopping of sadness, knowledge with regard to the way of practice leading to the stopping of sadness: This, monks, is called right understanding."

      2. Right Thought (or Right Intention, or Right Resolve) - samma sankappa

      "And what is right thought? Being resolved on renunciation, on freedom from ill will, on harmlessness: This is called right thought."

      Virtue (Ethical Conduct) Sila

      3. Right Speech - samma vaca

      "And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, abstaining from divisive speech, abstaining from abusive speech, abstaining from idle chatter: This, monks, is called right speech."

      4. Right Action - samma kammanta

      "And what, monks, is right action? Abstaining from taking life, abstaining from stealing, abstaining from unchastity: This, monks, is called right action."

      5. Right Livelihood - samma ajiva

      "And what, monks, is right livelihood? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones, having abandoned dishonest livelihood, keeps his life going with right livelihood: This, monks, is called right livelihood."

      Concentration (Mental Development) (samadhi)

      Right Effort (or Right Endeavour) - samma vayama

      "And what, monks, is right effort?

      (i) There is the case where a monk generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the
      non-arising of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen.

      (ii) He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the
      abandonment of evil, unskillful qualities that have arisen.

      (iii) He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the
      arising of skillful qualities that have not yet arisen.

      (iv) He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts
      his intent for the maintenance, non-confusion, increase, plenitude, development & culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen: This, monks, is called right effort."

      Right Mindfulness - samma sati

      "And what, monks, is right mindfulness?

      (i) There is the case where a monk remains focused on (his/her) body in & of itself... ardent, aware, & mindful...putting away greed & distress with reference to the world.

      (ii) (He/she) remains focused on feelings in & of themselves...ardent, aware, & mindful...putting away greed & distress with reference to the world.

      (iii) (He/she) remains focused on
      the mind in & of itself...ardent, aware, & mindful...putting away greed & distress with reference to the world.

      (iv) (He/she) remains focused on
      mental qualities in & of themselves...ardent, aware, & mindful...putting away greed & distress with reference to the world. This, monks, is called right mindfulness."

      Right Concentration - samma samadhi

      "And what, monks, is right concentration?

      (i) There is the case where a monk...not ardent, quite withdrawn from sensuality, but mindful and alert, enters in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from detachment, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation.

      (ii) With the stilling of directed thought & evaluation, he enters & remains in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of concentration; fixed single-pointed awareness free from directed thought & evaluation; assurance.

      (iii) With the fading of rapture, he remains in equanimity, mindful & fully aware, and physically sensitive of pleasure. He enters & remains in the third jhana which the Noble Ones declare to be "Equanimous & mindful, (he/she) has a pleasurable abiding."

      (iv) With the abandoning of pleasure & pain...as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress...he enters & remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither in pleasure nor in pain. This, monks, is called right concentration."

      Source: Magga-vibhanga Sutta
      @ AccessToInsight.org

      The ninth and tenth elements

      In the Great Forty Sutra (Mahacattarisaka Sutta)[1], which appears in the Pali Canon, the Buddha explains that cultivation of the Eightfold Path leads to the development of two further stages once enlightenment has been reached. These also fall under the category of pañña and are Right Knowledge (sammanana) and Right Liberation (or Right Release; sammavimutti). Some consider Right Association as an implicit ninth aspect of the Path.

      * * * * *

      We Dedicate any Merit this Group and
      These Discussions Accumulate to the Benefit
      Of all Beings and thus to Highest Enlightenment

      * * * * *

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