Many entrepreneurs search for answers from various business gurus, and that’s not a bad thing. But what if all of the answers they need can be found from a different kind of guru? (An ancient one!)
On this quick read, I’ll be talking about how a scripture from Buddhism- The Noble Eightfold Path- can help you overcome almost ALL of your problems! Let’s get started..
The Noble Eightfold Path
Considered “The Guide to The End of Suffering,” The Noble Eightfold Path is a piece of scripture found in the Fourth Noble Truth. It was taught by The Buddha in pretty much all of his discourses, always with practical and clear instructions to all of his followers. To this day, these directions haven’t changed one bit. These eight paths are separated into three fundamental components of Buddhist practice: Wisdom, Moral Conduct, and Mental Discipline.
The Eight Parts:
The path is divided into eight parts, which are:
1. Right Understanding (Samma Ditthi)
2. Right Thought (Samma Sankappa)
3. Right Speech (Samma Vaca)
4. Right Action (Samma Kammanta)
5. Right Livelihood (Samma Ajiva)
6. Right Effort (Samma Vayama)
7. Right Mindfulness (Samma Sati)
8. Right Concentration (Samma Samadhi)
The interesting thing about this path is that pretty much all of the Buddha’s teachings- spanning 45 years- is connected to it, one way or another. A lot of people were taught this path in many different ways during his time, but the countless discourses found in the Buddhist scriptures essentially comes from the Noble Eightfold Path.
The eight parts that the path is divided into shouldn’t necessarily be practiced in the numerical order given in the list above, but they’re actually supposed to be practiced pretty much at the same time to the best of one’s abilities. All 8 parts are connected, each one somehow relevant in developing the other along the way.
The divided parts work towards the perfection of three key aspects in the Buddhist practice: Ethical Conduct (sila), Mental Discipline (samadhi), and Wisdom (panna). When we approach the path through these three key points, it’ll be easier for us to understand the eight different parts.
The first of the three is Ethical Conduct (sila), is built on the idea of universal love and compassion towards all living creatures, which is the general basis for Buddha’s teachings. It’s important to remember that the Buddha’s purpose in giving his teaching was “for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world.”
Among the eight parts, three of them are included in the ethical conduct (sila.) Based on love and compassion, these three parts of the Eightfold Path are:
1. Right Speech – Right speech means steering clear from doing the following things: Telling lies, talk that might bring about hatred or any negativity between you and one or more people. It means avoiding harsh or rude words, and using abusive language. Sometimes it could also mean avoiding foolish talk or gossip. When you use the right speech, this also includes respectful, meaningful, and benevolent words.
2. Right Action – This means that you avoid taking actions that work towards negatively impacting someone’s life, or even actions that could destroy one. This could range from stealing, dishonest work, and other immoral things that one can do. The point of Right Action is to do honorable things with the right and moral kind of mindset.
3. Right Livelihood – With the Right Livelihood, you find yourself an occupation that doesn’t work towards anything destructive to people’s lives. This could mean anything like dealing drugs, capitalizing on immoral sexual thrills, or killing animals.
Another one of the three important aspects, having Mental Discipline means to have a complete grasp of the Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration. These three parts contribute to having complete discipline over one’s mind.
1. Right Effort – Is a form of mental toughness, which promotes the exercise of proactively avoiding evil and unwholesome states of mind from surfacing. Another point of this is that one must actively remove any evil or unwholesome states that have already surfaced in someone. This also means that one must produce good and wholesome states of mind that might not be present yet, and to hone or master all the good qualities and mindsets that a person already has.
2. Right Mindfulness – To have the Right Mindfulness means to have complete awareness of all thoughts, actions, and feelings that dwell within one’s bodies. One should also be completely aware of the actions they take on anything. When you have the Right Mindfulness, you have a completely grasp of how you behave and how you move, and are constantly avoiding taking inefficient or unethical actions and having negative mindsets.
3. Right Concentration – The last among the three parts which fall under Mental Discipline is having the Right Concentration. This leads to the “Four Stages of Dhyana,” called trance or recueillement. During the first stage, unwholesome and negative thoughts are removed, with only the positive feelings remaining and happiness remaining. During the second stage, one’s mind is cleared entirely to achieve a form of tranquility, but with the same positive thoughts and happiness retained. For the third stage, the active feeling of joy is discarded, but the general state of being happy is maintained. Lastly, during the fourth stage, all feelings and sensations are removed- only with pure equanimity and awareness left to dwell in the mind.
The last two of the eight parts fall under Wisdom, which revolves around the concept of having the right thought and right understanding. These two parts establish wisdom within the Noble Eightfold Path.
1. Right Thought – Having the Right Thought means to have thoughts that are selfless, a mindset of detachment, and other non-violent thoughts of love. It must be noted that all these thoughts fall under wisdom. It also establishes that wisdom is a trait that possesses noble qualities, void of all selfishness, negativity, or harmfulness.
2. Right Understanding – When one has Right Understanding, they understand things exactly as they are. In Buddhism, there are two kinds of understanding. One of them is general understanding, which only speaks of intellectual grasp over something based on information acquired. This is referred to as “Knowing Accordingly” (anubodha.) It’s generally a surface-level of understanding and a general form of knowledge. On the other hand, “penetration” or real deep understanding (pativedha) is understanding something in its quintessence. Real deep understanding is only possible when one’s mind is free from negativity, and when it has been completely developed through meditation.
Now the Noble Eightfold Path and its eight parts can be quite a bit to digest, so you don’t have to take it all in one sitting. It’s a practice, after all! It’s better if you slowly eased your way into the eight key parts, getting to understand them one at a time. But with that said, I hope this read helped you find ways that could help improve your mindset.
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Cheers to being the CEO of your life!