The Fourth Noble Truth–The Noble Eightfold Path

“The Fourth Noble Truth is the path that leads to refraining from doing the things that cause us to suffer. This is the path we need the most.  The Buddha called it The Noble Eightfold Path. The Chinese translate it as the “Path of Eight Right Practices.” ~~ Thich Nhat Hanh

The Fourth Noble Truth is known as The Noble Eight-fold Path.  The Buddha gave us specific instructions on how to live and how to relate to ourselves and to the world in wise, moral, and mindful ways. The Buddha did not teach that we would have a mystical or magical experience. He said that if we live in this way we can become progressively more awake and aware right now – not in some future life, but in this very life. This path consists of a three-fold training: the wisdom training, ethics training, and concentration training. 

The first training is the wisdom training or prajna.  Prajna is our innate wisdom.  It is what urges us to listen more carefully, to look more deeply, to pause and reflect. It asks the question “Are you sure?” The wisdom training consists of Right View and Right Thinking. 

Next is the ethics training which consists of Right Speech, Right Action, and Right Livelihood. The Buddha taught that if we speak, act, and work in ethical ways, with loving-kindness, compassion and mindfulness our lives and the lives of those we come in contact with will be benefited.

Finally is the training in concentration or mindfulness: Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration – our practice. Meditation practice is the foundation of an enlightened and awakened life. It informs all that we do, allowing us to be with life as it is with honesty and openness.

These three trainings support our way of life with clarity and simplicity.

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