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The Eightfold Path

The Eightfold Path

The Eightfold Path

The Wheel of Dharma

1. Right View -

I view things from what appears to me outwardly.

Man attains this kind of knowledge about the world when he acquires a right view of things, a view that has nothing to do with sympathy or antipathy or preference of any sort. He must strive as best he can to acquire the right view of each thing, purely according to what presents itself to him outwardly. That is the first principle: the Right View of things.

Lotus
2. Right Intent -

I judge in accordance with my right view.

Secondly, man must become independent of what has remained from earlier incarnations; he must also endeavor to judge in accordance with his right view of a thing and not be swayed by any other influences. Thus Right Judgment is the second principle.

Lotus
3. Right Speech -

I give true expression of my right view and judgment.

The third is that he must strive to give true expression to what he desires to communicate to the world, having first acquired the right view and right judgment of it; not only his words but every manifestation of his being must express his own right view, that and that alone. This is Right Speech.

Lotus
4. Right Focus -

I let my right view, judgment, and speech become deed.

The fourth principle is that man must strive to act, not according to his sympathies and antipathies, not according to the dark forces of Samskara within him, but in such a way that he lets his right view, right judgment and right speech become deed. This is Right Action.

Lotus
5. Right Alertness -

I act in my highest and best line of work.

The fifth principle, enabling a man to liberate himself from what is within him, is that he should acquire the right vocation and station in the world. We may best understand what Buddha meant by this, if we remember how many people are dissatisfied with the tasks devolving upon them, believing that some other position would be more advantageous. But a man should be able to derive from the situation into which he is born or into which fate has placed him, the best that is possible, i.e. to acquire the right `occupation’ or `vocation’. Whoever finds no satisfaction in the situation in which he is placed, will not be able to derive from it the power to unfold right activity in the world. This is what Buddha called Right Vocation.

Lotus
6. Right Purpose -

I work steadily till right action becomes a habit in me.

The sixth principle is that a man should make increasing efforts to ensure that what he acquires through right views, right judgment and so forth, shall become habit in him. He is born into the world with certain habits. A child gives evidence of this or that inclination or habit. But man’s endeavors should be directed, not towards retaining the habits, proceeding from Samskara but towards acquiring those that gradually become his own as the result of right views, right judgment, right speech, and so on. These are the Right Habits.

Lotus
7. Right Effort -

I link the present with the past and thus account for what I have already learned in previous lives.

The seventh principle is that a man should bring order into his life through not invariably forgetting yesterday when he has to act to-day. He would never accomplish anything if he had to learn his skills anew each time. He must strive to develop recollectedness, mindfulness, regarding everything in his life. He must always turn to account what he has already learned, he must link the present with the past. Thus along the Eightfold Path man must acquire Right Mindfulness in the sense of Buddha’s teaching.

Lotus
8. Right Motivation -

I let the things of the world speak directly to me without partiality to views of other humans or my former incarnations.

The eighth quality is acquired when, without partiality for one view or another and without being influenced by any element remaining in him from former incarnations, he surrenders himself with pure devotion to the things of the world, immerses himself in them and lets them alone speak to him. This is Right Contemplation.

Buddha - Mercury, by Jane Adams.Buddha – Mercury

This is the Eightfold Path, of which Buddha said to his disciples that if followed it would gradually lead to the extinction of the thirst for existence with its attendant suffering, and impart to the soul something that brings liberation from elements enslaving it from past lives.

lotusflower1x2

Throat Chakra, the Sixteen Petaled Lotus

The Eightfold Path is connected to the Vishuddha, the throat Chakra or the Sixteen Petaled Lotus as Rudolf Steiner Calls the astral organ.

In “Knowledge of the Higher Worlds And Its Attainment” Rudolf Steiner goes more in depth with the Eightfold Path. The Initial words from the text about the Sixteen Petaled Lotus:

The organ in the vicinity of the larynx has sixteen petals or spokes; the one in the region of the heart twelve, and the one in the pit of the stomach ten.

Now certain activities of the soul are connected with the development of these organs, and anyone devoting himself to them in a certain definite way contributes something to the development of the corresponding organs. In the sixteen-petaled lotus, eight of its sixteen petals were developed in the remote past during an earlier stage of human evolution. Man himself contributed nothing to this development; he received them as a gift from nature, at a time when his consciousness was in a dull, dreamy condition. At that stage of human evolution they were in active use, but the manner of their activity was only compatible with that dull state of consciousness. As consciousness became clearer and brighter, the petals became obscured and ceased their activity. Man himself can now develop the remaining eight petals by means of conscious exercises, and thereby the whole lotus flower becomes luminous and mobile. The acquisition of certain faculties depends on the development of each one of the sixteen petals. Yet, as already shown, only eight can be consciously developed; the remainder then appear of their own accord.

The development proceeds in the following manner. The student must first apply himself with care and attention to certain functions of the soul hitherto exercised by him in a careless and inattentive manner.   There are eight such functions

Throat Chakra

[In Danish: "Hvordan når man til erkendelse af de højere verdener?" af Rudolf Steiner.]

References

I have made the presentation of Buddhas Eightfold Path from Rudolf Steiners lectures on The Gospel of Luke.

The goal was to make a short and simple description of the path, followed with references for deeper understanding of the why.

Se also the Twelf Petaled Lotus, Ahanhata, The Heart Chakra:

Heart Chakra

And the Six Petaled Lotus, Svadhistana, The Sacral Chakra:

Sakral Chakra

Kristina Kaine has elaborated over the theme in “Eightfold Path of Buddha in the Gospel of St John“.

A meditation for modern man: Meditation as contemplative inquiry : when knowing becomes love / Arthur Zajonc

See also The Noble Eightfold Path at Wikipedia.

The Path

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