With an understanding of The Four Noble Truths, you can now study and practice The Path to eliminate discontentedness from the mind and your life. You will need a detailed and thorough understanding and practice of The Eightfold Path to attain Enlightenment.
Gotama Buddha gave us “The Path” forward to pursuing our own Enlightenment. In his explanation of The Eightfold Path, we learn exactly how to achieve Enlightenment through a life practice or a better way of life.
You will need to learn The Eightfold Path in detail, over time, to soak this Teaching into the mind. A Practitioner will need to apply time and effort to investigate this Teaching on multiple occasions to fully develop their life practice. The Eightfold Path is your “life practice” and The Path to Enlightenment. The Eightfold Path is categorized into three (3) different sections, wisdom, moral conduct, and mental discipline. Referring to The Eightfold Path as wisdom, moral conduct, and mental discipline is an easy way to reference The Eightfold Path and the goal of each section of The Eightfold Path, without needing to describe each step individually.
For example, learning, reflecting, and practicing Right View and Right Intention leads to the development of “wisdom”. Learning, reflecting, and practicing Right Speech, Right Action, and Right Livelihood leads to the development of “moral conduct”. And, learning, reflecting, and practicing Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration leads to the development of “mental discipline.”
You will need to put the entire Eightfold Path into practice within your daily life, over time, as you learn and grow. You will not be able to achieve perfection in a couple of days, weeks, or months. Instead, you will need to learn, implement, see results, and continue the process of working to diligently apply all steps of The Eightfold Path to your life. Through gradual training and gradual practice, the mind will experience gradual progress to becoming more peaceful and calm.
You must not master each step individually before moving onto the next. Instead, study the entire Eightfold Path and implement it as a way of life, a “Life Practice”. Earning your own Enlightenment is a pursuit of life improving steps. Having guidance and Teachers is helpful as you study and work towards the goal of Enlightenment.
The Eightfold Path is the way leading to the elimination of discontentedness and attaining Enlightenment. Through practice of The Eightfold Path, we eliminate all unwholesome results and outcomes from our unwholesome decisions through not causing harm to other beings. This is described as the elimination of unwholesome Kamma through producing only wholesome Kamma. It is our wholesome and wise decision making to acquire wisdom, improve our moral conduct, and refine our mental discipline that we will experience better results in the condition of the mind and our life.
By causing harm to other beings through your intentions, speech, actions, or livelihood, you cause harm to yourself through “The Natural Law of Kamma.” The Natural Law of Kamma is cause and effect, action and results, essentially the results of your decisions. If you make wholesome decisions, there will be wholesome outcomes. If you make unwholesome decisions, there will be unwholesome outcomes. It is due to craving, anger, and ignorance (unknowing of true reality) that the unEnlightened mind does not understand what it does not understand and, therefore, makes unwholesome decisions causing harm in the world. Then, that harm is returned to you through others’ intentions, speech, and actions.
These Teachings and practices are about non-harm or harmlessness to other beings so that you do not create unwholesome outcomes, (i.e. unwholesome Kamma) which would be returned back to you.
Practicing “The Eightfold Path” closely, you ensure there is no harm to other beings practicing harmlessness, thus, you can attain inner peace, Enlightenment, or Nibbāna through, in part, the elimination and extinguishing of unwholesome Kamma.
In summary, as a Practitioner learns and practices The Eightfold Path for an extended period of time, they will be able to make wise wholesome decisions that lead to only wholesome results. Over time, one’s mind and life improve through improved decision making based on generosity, loving-kindness, and wisdom aka The Three Wholesome Roots.
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Posters, both framed and unframed, such as this detailed Eightfold Path poster may be purchased in The Noble Practitioner Gift Shop, located at https://thenoblepractitioner.org