What is Buddhism?
Father of the Sangha
Teaching 3 - The Middle Way Or Eightfold Path
The Way to end all suffering is called the Middle Way because it avoids the two extremes of sensual indulgence and self mortification. Only when the body is in reasonable comfort but not over indulged has the mind the clarity and strength to meditate deeply and discover the Truth. This Middle Way consists of the diligent cultivation of Virtue, Meditation and Wisdom, which is explained in more detail as the Noble Eightfold Path.
- Right Understanding
- Right Thought
- Right Speech
- Right Action
- Right Livelihood
- Right Effort
- Right Mindfulness
- Right Concentration
Right Speech, Action and Livelihood constitute the training in Virtue or Morality. For a practising Buddhist it consists of maintaining the five Buddhist Precepts, which are to refrain from:
- Deliberately causing the death of any living being;
- Intentionally taking for ones own the property of another;
- Sexual misconduct, in particular adultery;
- Lying and breaking promises;
- Drinking alcohol or taking stupefying drugs which lead to lack of mindfulness.
Right Effort, Mindfulness and Concentration refer to the practice of Meditation, which purifies the mind through the experience of blissful states of inner stillness and empowers the mind to penetrate the meaning of life through profound moments of insight.
Right Understanding and Thought are the manifestation of Buddha Wisdom which ends all suffering, transforms the personality and produces unshakeable serenity and tireless compassion.
According to the Buddha, without perfecting the practice of Virtue it is impossible to perfect Meditation, and without perfecting Meditation it is impossible to arrive at Enlightenment Wisdom. Thus the Buddhist Path is a Gradual Path, a Middle Way consisting of Virtue, Meditation and Wisdom as explained in the Noble Eightfold Path leading to happiness and liberation.