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The Uniqueness of the Eight Fold Step

Buddhism is a religion that is based on the Eastern Philosophical faiths with their origins being traced in South Asia. Buddhism is against the Vedas authority and built independent textual traditions that are based on the teachings of the founders of the religion that later led to the development of a new method of interacting with the lay society (Mary 14). Buddhism religion was founded in the year 528 BC in India by Siddhartha Gautama or ‘enlightened one’ or the ‘Buddha’, ‘Bhagara’ or Lord (Mary, 17). One of the legends of Buddha which are commonly applied in our daily living is that of ‘dhyana’ or first meditation and the eight-fold steps. This essay will show how the Eight-fold step and its applicability to our lives today make it very unique teaching.

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The four noble truths include: living means suffering. The imperfect nature of human nature makes us vulnerable to suffering which can be due to diseases and other natural calamities. The second truth is that this suffering has its basis embedded in attachment to things that are transient due to man’s ignorance. The reason for suffering is clinging and craving for worldly possessions like wealth. The third truth is that the end in suffering is attainable through ending the cause of suffering which is attachment. The last noble truth is that the way to stop suffering is to follow the eight-fold path.

The Noble Eightfold Path has often been used as a way of ending suffering in life (Mary, 133). The first one is wisdom which is composed of the right view and right intention. Right intention refers to mental energy which enables us to control our actions while the right view is the cognitive feature of wisdom that helps us to see the temporary and non-perfect nature of the world’s ideas and objects and at the same time help us to understand karma, its laws, and conditions (Thich 20).

The other principle is that of ethical conduct. This is made up of a combination of Right speech, right action, and right livelihood. In the Right speech, words are very powerful tools because they can make friends or enemies, create peace or war, save lives or kill. The principle of the right livelihood states that one should earn a living legally and peacefully.

The third main virtue is that of mental conduct which is made up of the right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration (Thich 45). The principle of right effort entails the use of our mental energy to exert the right force. The effort is considered as a will without which man can do nothing without it

In the virtue of the right action, it involves how one uses his body for expression. The seventh principle is that one of exercising right mindfulness where one is supposed to have the mental ability to look at things and see them as they are while they maintain a clear consciousness. The last virtue of right concentration dictates that one should put his mind fully and direct it to a single object at one time.

The eight-fold path is unique teaching because it is in a middle way between the two extremes in life. These are hedonism (indulging oneself excessively) and asceticism (highly mortifying oneself)(Steve 72, Thich 63). As one follows those steps, they undergo a rebirth and this is subject to the karma conditions. Eventually, delusions, craving, clinging and their associated effects finally disappear as one tread on this path.

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Treading on this path enables human beings to avoid hindrances of their mind. These hindrances include having a state of mind that is of low energy, being restless and averted due to anger, and negative thoughts. The other one is it helps people to avoid being lustful which can only be controlled by restraint (Dalai and Paul 58). It also helps in making one self-confident since it blocks the sabotage of faith and trust.

The other major aspect of the eightfold step is that it provides us with a basis of the experiences that one is set to meet in life and loads us with the skills to cope. This makes human beings to be fully aware of what entails life. By doing so they can sum up life to be a cycle of changes that people undergo as they search for comfort, nothing can last forever and life is an endless sea of experience.

When people follow this eight-fold path, they get a place to break and recharge their entire beings (soul, mind, body, and spirit). This helps them to get the divine abodes which include compassion by feeling the pain of others, having sympathetic joy through sharing the happiness of the good fortune that other people get, equanimity which involves looking at all things in a balanced manner, and being loving and kind to all beings. This will enable everyone to be of great service to the cause of humanity because they possess unbiased love and more so compassion (Dalai 81). This will enable people to have the strength to overcome pain and suffering, get a way of going beyond suffering and pain and finally support each other and give an example to others.

These steps will help human nature to abstain from doing evil and do well unto every creature. Although these steps will not end man’s misery, they somehow provide a guide to the way a man can live usefully without conflicting with each other. These teachings can also be used to create world peace where everything will be somehow balanced because we will have succeeded in avoiding extremities.

Works Cited

Mary, P. F. Living Religions. 7th ed. NJ: New Jersey, Prentice Hall, 2007.

Dalai L. How to Expand Love:Widening the Circle of Loving Relationships. NY: New York Atria, 2005.

Dalai L. and Paul E. Emotional Awareness: Overcoming the Obstacles to Emotional Balance Compassion. NY: New York Times Books Int.2008

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Mary, P. F. Living Religions. 7th ed. NJ: New Jersey, Prentice Hall, 2007.

Steve, H. Buddhism Plain and Simple. NY: New York, Broadway 1998.

Thich, N. H. The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching. NY: New York, Broadway, 1999

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