The Noble Eightfold Path

The Noble Eightfold Path

This is another photograph of the Preah Buddha Rangsey Temple. The repeated 8-spoke wheel patterns represent The Noble Eightfold Path, the fourth of the Four Noble Truths of Buddha.

In most modern societies, a system of meritocracy is implemented, where, ideally, individuals are appointed to positions by their merits; skills, education, talents, etc. Meritocracy has its problems. In these societies, attaining college degrees, professional titles and useful skills, take precedence over the art of living. Figuring out "how to live" is left to ourselves, while colleges, corporations, and workshops educate us with the singular goal of providing us with the necessary skills that our employers require of us. We end up with many highly skilled, but unhappy, emotionally unstable, anxious and even unethical or destructive individuals who are incapable of balancing their lives. This imbalance leads to inner suffering. Many do not understand why they feel the way that they feel. Some attempt to follow their beliefs, others ever-consume to remain happy and many constantly seek entertainment to keep themselves distracted. Only a few, take the journey to know themselves...

Some reading this might be saying: "Here we go again. Another armchair expert, trying to sell us happiness by proselytizing yet another religion". I am not a Buddhist. And I am not in the business of selling happiness! I leave that to Oprah, Dr. Phil, Tony Robbins and Rhonda Byrne. The message, "if you somehow tap into your inner strength, you can achieve whatever you want" is fundamentally flawed. I'm with Buddha on this; That, excessive desire, or craving is the main cause of inner suffering. It also leads to the suffering of others, tyranny, brutality and wars.

In the Four Noble Truths, Buddha taught that, freedom from and non-reliance on excessive desire could cure our inner suffering. He suggested that we follow The Noble Eightfold Path as a way to self awakening; to develop insight into the true nature reality. Irrespective of your background or beliefs, you can find wisdom in Buddha's teaching.

The first two principles of the The Noble Eightfold Path, are "viewing reality as it is, not just as it appears to be" and "having the right intention". These wisdom principles are followed by ethical conduct codes of "right speech","right action" and "right livelihood". And finally, Buddha teaches that to correctly compose the mind, we need to show the "right effort", "right mindfulness" and the "right concentration". These teachings should be a part of every college curriculum.

Beware of people who confirm the superiority of their respective religion, ideology or teaching, while refuting or belittling other ideas. Ooops! That's nearly everyone, isn't it!

Update: This post got some reaction. Basically, the question was, "how could there be progress if we eliminate craving?" Most of us are preconditioned to relate progress to obsessive desire. Movies and stories of athletes and artists portray that success is only attainable through a combination of natural talent, compulsion and obsessive focus. It can be, but obsession and compulsion have their toll on the human mind. I'll return to this topic in a later post.

Song of the Day: Gecenin Tam Ucunde - Fikret Kizilok (1990)
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