Monday, November 3, 2008

Noble 8 foldpath - By Yin Hong

Hi guys.

I attended the talk by Sister Sylvia bay last Sunday at PKS regarding the “Cessation of suffering through the Noble 8 Fold Path”. Sister Sylvia bay is a wonderful speaker; her talk was enriching and very comprehensive as well. She explained the concepts of the noble 8 fold path using many real live examples which we were able to relate to, as well as apply in our daily lives. I’ve got info of the 4 Noble truths and the 8 Fold-path from but I will add on some examples in which she used that I felt was helpful to the explanations below ;D

The Four Noble Truths are
1. The Noble Truth of the reality of Dukkha as part of conditioned existence.
2. The Noble Truth that Dukkha has a causal arising.
3. The Noble Truth of the end of Dukkha.
4. The Noble Truth of the Path that leads to Awakening.

Basically, it all begins with the realisation of Dukkha, which is commonly translated into “suffering” in English. However, Sister Bay defines Dukkha as “any form of dis-ease”, ranging from the mildest forms of discomfort and discontent to the extreme forms of hatred. And craving is the cause of Dukkha. Craving again encompasses meanings such as preferences or desires. “The amount of craving is proportionate to the amount of suffering one experiences”, take for example, when plan to take a bus home and you WANT to go home in the shortest time possible. However, the bus only has one seat left, and someone snatches that seat, and you didn’t manage to get on. Hence you feel unhappy and disappointed. However, in another case in which you are in no hurry home, there is no burning desire for that last seat in the bus, hence when someone snatches the last seat, no harsh negative feelings will arise as it does not affect you. The next step would be to cease the feeling of Dukkha and the only method will be through the 8 Fold-path.
The Path
1. * Samma-Ditthi — Right Understanding. Vision of the nature of reality and the path of transformation.
It simply means to understand and see the BIG PICTURE, to see the cause and effect of every action. By understanding all the possible consequences of that action, one is ready to accept them and hence will not feel suffering when the outcome is undesirable.
2. Samma-Sankappa — Right thought. Also translated as right thought or attitude. Liberating emotional intelligence in your life and acting from love and compassion. An informed heart and feeling mind that are free to practice letting go.

Yes, its all about learning to let go. Human’s natural instinct is to desire, to possess, while a practitioner to learn to give, to let go of cravings and emotions. Without cravings, our ife will be a whole lot happier, as I have explained using the bus example just now.

3. Samma-Vaca — Right Speech. Clear, truthful, uplifting and non-harmful communication.
This aspect can be broken down into 3 parts.

* False speech = saying something that is factually inaccurate regardless of the intent, (with intent its called LYING) therefore it requires the mind to constantly be clear about wahts right or wrong.
*Harsh speech = scandals, speech that hurt people
* Frivolous talk= mindless conversation about the weather, gossip etc etc. This is because Buddhism practices involve the DESTRCUTION on thoughts, like freeing your mind, while frivolous talk requires the CONSTRUCTION of thoughts, hence it should be avoided.

4. Samma-Kammanta — Right Action. An ethical foundation for life based on the principle of non-exploitation of oneself and others. The five precepts.

We should not take life away from a living thing.
We should not take what is not given to us
We should not have the intent to mislead or hurt others (sexual misconduct).
With these measures in place, the mind is free from distractions thus is better able to calm down.

5. Samma-Ajiva — Right Livelihood. This is a livelihood based on correct action the ethical principal of non-exploitation. The basis of an Ideal society.

Basically it means we should not benefit (e.g money) from one’s suffering.

6. Samma-Vayama — Right Effort. Consciously directing our life energy to the transformative path of creative and healing action that fosters wholeness. Conscious evolution.

Not only requires one to get rid of negative thoughts that arise in your mind, but also requires one to PREVENT these negative thoughts from arising.

7. Samma-Sati — Right mindfulness. Developing awareness, "if you hold yourself dear watch yourself well". Levels of Awareness and mindfulness - of things, oneself, feelings, thought, people and Reality.

Mind is focused on the particular activity one is engaged in at that instant by objectively observing the process.

8. Samma-Samadhi — Right Concentration. None of these translations is adequate. Samadhi literally means to be fixed, absorbed in or established at one point, thus the first level of meaning is concentration when the mind is fixed on a single object. The second level of meaning goes further and represents the establishment, not just of the mind, but also of the whole being in various levels or modes of consciousness and awareness. This is Samadhi in the sense of enlightenment or Buddhahood.

When our mind is fully calmed down, and devoid of cravings, we are still far from gaining enlightenment. The key to that is wisdom.
* The word Samma means 'proper', 'whole', 'thorough', 'integral', 'complete', and 'perfect' - related to English 'summit' - It does not necessarily mean 'right', as opposed to 'wrong'. However it is often translated as "right" which can send a less than accurate message. For instance the opposite of 'Right Awareness' is not necessarily 'Wrong Awareness'. It may simply be incomplete. Use of the word 'right' may make for a neat or consistent list of qualities in translations. The down side is that it can give the impression that the Path is a narrow and moralistic approach to the spiritual life. I use variant interpretations so you consider the depth of meanings. What do these things mean in your life right now?

I hope this little sharing of the insights I’ve gained from the talk allows you guys to gain a clearer perspective of the Noble 8 Fold-path : D

Yin Hong

= insights from talk

No comments: