Eightfold Path, Eightfold Way: 5 definitions


Eightfold Path means something in Buddhism, Pali. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

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In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

[«previous next»] — Eightfold Path in Theravada glossary
Source: Dhamma Study: Introduction to the Dhamma

The Eightfold Path which is the way leading to the end of suffering is these eight factors:

  1. Right understanding,
  2. Right Thoughts,
  3. Right Speech,
  4. Right Action,
  5. Right livelihood,
  6. Right Effort,
  7. Right Mindfulness,
  8. Right Concentration.

It could be pointed out that the Eightfold Path is often taught as a "path" which one follows by developing each of the factors piece by piece until there are all perfected. In the Abhidhamma it is made clear that the Eightfold Path is in fact only momentary phenomena like everything else.

The Eightfold Path is not a "whole path" which one follows, but at the moment that a wholesome moment of wisdom (the wisdom that understands the true nature of things) arises then it is accompanied by the Eightfold Path factors as mental factors (cetasikas).

Source: Dhamma Study: Cetasikas

The factors of the eightfold Path are:

  1. right understanding
  2. right thinking
  3. right speech
  4. right action
  5. right livelihood
  6. right effort
  7. right mindfulness
  8. right concentration
Source: Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines

s. magga.

context information

Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

Discover the meaning of eightfold path in the context of Theravada from relevant books on Exotic India

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

[«previous next»] — Eightfold Path in Mahayana glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

There are also eightfold paths:

1) noble eightfold path (āryāṣṭāṅgamārga);

2) paths of the eight liberations (vimokṣa).

There are innumerable eightfold paths of this kind.

Mahayana book cover
context information

Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

Discover the meaning of eightfold path in the context of Mahayana from relevant books on Exotic India

General definition (in Buddhism)

[«previous next»] — Eightfold Path in Buddhism glossary
Source: Buddhist Door: Glossary

The eight right ways for the Arhat leading to Nirvana. The eight are:

  1. Right View;
  2. Right Thought;
  3. Right Speech;
  4. Right Action;
  5. Right Livelihood;
  6. Right Effort;
  7. Right Remembrance;
  8. Right Concentration.

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