by K.G. Justin de Silva

Noble Eight fold Path

While all beings of the earth animals as well as human beings are an inescapable part of this earths system, there is a way to escape this earth and reach higher spheres. Only human beings can experience this path known as “The eight fold Path” (Arya Ashatangika Margaya)

Lord Buddha during his first sermon to his five companions who set forth to find the truth of the world together with him, explained that:

There is Dukka and the reason for Dukka is the impermanence of the world.

And that This Dukka ( impermanence) can be overcome by following the Eight fold path which will lead one to Nibbana.

Eightfold path leads one to self awakening through:

Right view (Samma Ditti), right resolve (Samma sankappa), right speech (Samma Vacha), right action (Samma vaya), light livelihood (Samma Ajiva), right effort (Samma Virya), right mindfulness (Samma Sathi), to right concentration (Samma Samadhi).

The word samma is very important in the eightfold path and needs an effort to understand. Samma means rightful and wholesome.

Samma ditthi in Dhamma is explained as the perfect knowledge of the four noble truths explained by lord Buddha. In short –it is Dukka (suffering), Causes of suffering, eradiacation of suffering , and the way to eradicate suffering which is the eightfold path.

Lord Budha pointed out five ways of developing samma ditthi;

By virtue (Silanugahiti)
By learning or listening ((sutanugahiti)
By discussion (sakaccanugahiti)
By tranquility (samathanugahiti)
By insight vision (vipassananugahiti)
By disciplining ones actions (sila) one can achieve samma ditthi.
By listening and discussing our deeds, words, and thoughts (views) with knowledgeable noble ones, we can achieve samma ditthi.

The next and a most important method is by meditation of ana pana sathi and maithri bhavana. Both these methods tranquil the mind.

The last method of the five is the insight meditation (Vipassana Bhavana). Vipassana which means as they really and truly are is a method of ones own realization of the link of the mind and body. By insight observations in to three marks of existence 1) THE IMPERMANENCE 2) THE UNSATISFACTORINESS 3) NON SELF

one can achieve the right view of Dhamma (samma Ditthi) As Vipassana meditation is a long and deep subject one may look in to or any related web or many other books on this subject.

.If one achieves samma ditthi , then there is no difficulty in achieving the the other seven steps of the eight noble Path.

Yet one can also achieve following the eight fold path by right deeds in disciplining oneself with “sila”. (moral conduct) which is also the basis of eightfold path. As I am writing for the Buddhists , materialists or any other person of another faith, I wish to be very simple on this fact.

The simplest in moral conducts in Buddhism is laid in the Pancha Sila. (Five precepts of Buddhism)

  1. Refraining from harassing or taking others lives or refraining from killing any form of life,
  2. Refraining from stealing or or forcibly grabbing others statute or non statute properties or foods etc.
  3. Refraining from sexual misconduct . (sex is only meant for producing the bings on the earth) or procreation and must be realized that sex is not a mere pleasure. Hence lesbianism and homosexuality too can be sexual misconducts.
  4. Refraining from abusive or misleading verbal communication. Words are only meant to communicate to assist others in living peaceful lives.
  5. Refraining from taking in to our system any form of harmful and toxic matters which will harm the nutritional effect of our physiological system.

Added in to noble moral practices are another three precepts as “Ashtangasila” which adds not to eat high nutritional foods after sun set, not to wear dresses or beautifying objects as necklesses, earrings etc. materials which does not serve as basic essential of living and not listening to sensual music. Thirdly sitting or sleeping on higher (comfortable) seats too is a moral observance. One may contemplate on these to find out how valuable these precepts are.

A layman living with the five precepts, will see that the nature is protected. In a community the protector of five precepts will be a blessing to the ecology as he protects fauna and flora. Once the ecology is looked after the natural forests will be left for the animals and insects. The plants and trees being fertilized by the natural excreta and decay of beings, will help the formation of clouds, and there will be seasonal rains which will in turn help the food supplies for all animals and human beings.

On the other hand it had been proved in the history and even now, the so called improved societies plan many projects for easy (sensually pleasured) living. Out of which are planned cities, planned roads, planned houses. All planning needs cutting down of trees and digging the earth for building materials and at times changing water courses. Such activities often do not consider the living of microbes and the natural water flows under the ground as well as the loss of many plants which are necessary for bacterial activities.

Today under our very nose we experience , agricultural projects along with changes of natural irrigation with building of many artificial tanks. Along with the building of artificial tanks , and planned colonies more weight is given to colonies for the people. Such projects have affected lesser rain and lesser flows of natural water streams turning out areas with less and lesser rain from season to season. People today have even forcibly cut down forest reserves while hunting in sanctuaries are often heard of as the people do not care about the moral principles. All these immoral activities hinder ecological disasters while affecting rain and creating drought prone areas.

In Chakkavatisihanada sutra as explained by Lord Buddha to emphasizes on the importance of the five precepts to protect the earth and generations while improving long life.

Lord Buddha states:

Be an island unto yourselves, Be a refuge unto yourselves with no other refuge, Let the dhamma be your island Let the Dhamma be your refuge with no other refuge

And Lord Buddha explains the value of Dharma in order to protect the earth and long life while keeping nature alive. Lord Buddha stresses the fact of following Dhamma by kings within their justified rule and regime to protect the people from nature. (see

All what it explains is that the good Karma or good intentions by people will bring happy lives in to others and the doer of good karma himself. The mind with Loving kindness is the basis of good Karma . Noble Eightfold path (Arya ashatangika margaya) develops the mind in to the path of loving kindness (maithri) and tranquility.

The first step of the Noble eightfold path on realizing the truth is the five precepts (panchasila) as observed by Buddhists.

One need not be a Buddhist to observe the five precepts as it is well laid down in the ten commandments with regard to the bible.

Krishna consciousness for the Hindus develops an insight similar to loving kindness (maithri). Those who try to attain Krishna consciousness also follow the five precepts of Buddhism.

Though there may be certain differences in the explanation of Karma and re birth Hinduism too believe that it is the people and the population who can maintain the earth and nature with seasonal rains and lush of vegetation as is necessary while looking after the living organisms on the earth. All deities , beings in the upper realms, such as Varuna, Vishnu, Shiva (Ishwara), Kali Amma , Durga are deities who look after nature and wind and rain. The stories and legends of all these deities are protectors of people who have developed or who make an effort to develop Krishna Consciousness.

All tribal communities too believe in noble minds which protect nature and the earth,.

We can therefore conclude with satisfaction, that noble eightfold path is the only way to train a self in performing good Karma and Good Karma is the only factor that protects the earth and hence the universe.

Those who follow the noble eight fold path with disciplined minds will reach the worlds , with lesser suffering while finally reaching Nirvana, the abode of no desires.

Those who do not follow the noble eight fold path will remain on this earth as slaves of desire, undergoing suffering.

Buddhism further explains that owing to the impermanence of thoughts and mind , the human emotions pass through emotions and feelings as Profit, Loss, grace, disgrace, health, sickness, praise and blame.These emotions as of the impermanent nature of the mind changes from moment to moment.

However, properly following the noble eight fold path rids people of the sorrowful nature in emotions. Profit, health, praise, grace is maintained. The greatest asset of Health and happiness is well maintained by following the noble eight fold path properly.

The noble one Arhat is rid of all emotions, as the nature of impermanance of the mind and mental thoughts are overcome.

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