Bhikkhu Bodhi - The Noble Eightfold Path

Reach a proper understanding of the Noble Eightfold Path, the way to the end of suffering.

Source: https://buddhanet.net/pdf_file/noble8path6.pdf


The Buddha teaches that there is one defilement which gives rise to all the others, one root which holds them all in place. This root is ignorance.

– page 8

The training directly opposed to ignorance; This is the training in wisdom, designed to awaken the faculty of penetrative understanding which sees things “as they really are.”

– page 12

There is no single factor so responsible for the suffering of living beings as wrong view, and no factor so potent in promoting the good of living beings as right view.

– page 15

For Buddhism the relevant kind of action is volitional action, deeds expressive of morally determinate volition, since it is volition that gives the action ethical significance. [...] Volition comes into being through any of three channels - body, speech, or mind.

– page 16

Actions are distinguished as wholesome and unwholesome on the basis of their underlying motives, called “roots”. [...] The unwholesome roots are the three defilements we already mentioned - greed, aversion, and delusion.

– page 18

The law connecting actions with their fruits works on the simple principle that unwholesome actions ripen in suffering, wholesome actions in happiness.

– page 19

Some of the implications of the Buddha’s teaching on the right view [...] run counter to popular trends in present-day thought. [...] The teaching on right view [...] transcends conventional opinions about what is good and bad, what is right and wrong.

– page 20

An entire society may be predicated upon a confusion of correct moral values, and even though everyone within that society may applaud one particular kind of action as right and condemn another kind as wrong, this does not make them validly right and wrong.

– page 20b

For the Buddha moral standards are objective and invariable.

– page 20c

The third noble truth simply reverses this relationship of origination. If craving is the cause of dukkha, then to be free from dukkha we have to eliminate craving.

– page 23

To acquire the right view that accords with the truths requires a clear understanding of their meaning and significance in our lives. Such an understanding arises first by learning the truths and studying them.

– page 24

Subsequently it is deepened by reflecting upon them in the light of experience until one gains a strong conviction as to their veracity.

– page 24b

Actions always point back to the thoughts from which they spring. Thought is the forerunner of action. [...] Our intentions, in turn point back a further step to the prevailing views.

– page 27

When wrong views prevail, the outcome is wrong intention giving rise to unwholesome actions. [...] The result is the tremendous suffering of individuals, social groups, and nations.

– page 27b

Desire ultimately breeds fear and sorrow, but renunciation gives fearlessness and joy. It promotes the accomplishment of all three stages of the threefold training: it purifies conduct, aids concentration, and nourishes the seed of wisdom.

– page 33

Nibbana [...] the ultimate stage of relinquishment, “the relinquishing of all foundations of existence”. [...] Attachments are shed like the leaves of a tree, naturally and spontaneously.

– page 33b

The capacity for verbal expression, oral and written, has often been regarded as the distinguishing mark of the human species. From this we can appreciate the need to make this capacity the means to human excellence rather than, as too often has been the case, the sign of human degradation.

– page 43

Though the deceptive intention is common to all cases of false speech, lies can appear in different guises depending on the motivating root, whether greed, hatred, or delusion.

– page 44

Truth is not just a verbal proposition but the nature of things as they are.

– page 45

Right action: abstaining from [...] taking what is not given

– page 49

The “taking of life” that is to be avoided is _intentional_ killing, the deliberate destruction of life of a being endowed with consciousness.

– page 50

The principle is grounded in the consideration that all beings love life and fear death, that all seek happiness and are averse to pain.

– page 50b

The first side of right effort aims at overcoming [...] states of mind tainted by defilements: [...] Sensual desire, ill will, dullness and drowsiness, restlessness and worry, and doubt. They receive the name “hindrances” because they block the path to liberation;

– page 60

Wealth should be gained in accordance with certain standards. [...] peacefully, without coercion or violence; [...] honestly, not by trickery or deceit; [...] in ways which do not entail harm and suffering for others.

– page 62

For desire a remedy of general application is the meditation on impermanence, which knocks away the underlying prop of clinging, the implicit assumption that the objects clung to are stable and durable.

– page 64

Ill will meets its proper remedy in the meditation on loving-kindness, which banishes all traces of hatred and anger through the methodical radiation of the altruistic wish that all beings be well and happy.

– page 64b

In the case of doubt the special remedy is investigation: to make inquiries, ask questions, and study the teachings until the obscure points become clear.

– page 65

Thus he develops the factors of enlightenment: [...] mindfulness, investigation of phenomena, energy, rupture, tranquility, concentration, equanimity.

– page 66

The ultimate truth [...] is not something mysterious and remote, but the truth of our own experience.

– page 70

Clear comprehension is explained as fourfold: (1) understanding the purpose of the action [...] (2) understanding suitability, [...] (3) keeping the mind constantly in a meditative frame even when engaged in action; and (4) understanding without delusion.

– page 77

Understanding without delusion: [...] seeing the action as an impersonal process devoid of a controlling ego-entity.

– page 77b

The contemplation of feeling involves attending to the arisen feelings, noting their distinctive qualities: pleasant, painful, neutral. The feeling is noted without identifying with it, without taking it to be “I” or “mine” or something happening “to me.”

– page 81

Wisdom alone can cut off the latent tendencies at their root because the most fundamental member of the set, the one which nurtures the others and holds them in place, is ignorance.

– page 99

Ignorance infiltrates our perceptions, thoughts, and views, so that we come to misconstrue our experience, overlaying it with [...] delusions: [...] seeing permanence in the impermanent, [...] satisfaction in the unsatisfactory, [...] self in the selfless.

– page 99b

Inspection reveals that the aggregates exist solely in dependence on conditions.

– page 102

Deliverance can not be won through rigid moralism or ceremonial observances.

– page 107

The only requirements for reaching the final goal are two: to start and to continue.

– page 110