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The Noble Eightfold Path
By Thanissaro Bhikku

Clear knowing is the leader in the attainment of skillful qualities, followed by conscience & concern. In a knowledgeable person, immersed in clear knowing, right view arises. In one of right view, right resolve arises. In one of right resolve, right speech ... .In one of right speech, right action .... In one of right action, right livelihood .... In one of right livelihood, right effort .... In one of right effort, right mindfulness .... In one of right mindfulness, right concentration arises.

Analysis of the Path. Monks, what is the noble eightfold path? Right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.

And what is right view? Knowledge with regard to stress, knowledge with regard to the origination of stress, knowledge with regard to the cessation of stress, knowledge with regard to the way of practice leading to the cessation of stress: This is called right view.

And what is right resolve? Being resolved on renunciation, on free­dom from ill will, on harmlessness: This is called right resolve.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
And what is right action? Abstaining from taking life, from stealing, & from sexual intercourse: This is called right action.

And what is right livelihood? There is the case where a noble disciple, having abandoned dishonest livelihood, keeps his life going with right livelihood. This is called right livelihood.

And what is right effort? There is the case where a monk generates' desire, endeavors, arouses persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the non-arising of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen .. .for the sake of the abandoning of evil, unskillful qualities that have arisen .. .for the sake of the arising of skillful qualities that have not yet arisen ... (and) for the maintenance, non­confusion, increase, plenitude, development, & culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen. This is called right effort.

And what is right mindfulness? There is the case where a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself-ardent, alert, & mindful­putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. He remains focused on feelings in & of themselves ... the mind in & of itself ... mental qualities in & of themselves-ardent, alert, & mindful-putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. This is called right mindfulness.

And what is right concentration? There is the case where a monk­quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities-enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. With the stilling of directed thought & evaluation, he enters & remains in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation-internal assurance. With the fading of rapture he remains in equnimity, mindful & alert, and physically sensitive of pleasure. He enters & remains in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, 'Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasurable abiding.' With the abandoning of pleasure & pain-as with the earlier disap­pearance of elation & distress-he enters & remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain. This is called right concentration.

More on Right Action & Right Speech
Having thus gone forth, following the training & way of life of the monks, abandoning the taking of life, he abstains from the taking of life. He dwells with his rod laid down, his knife laid down, scrupulous, merciful, com­passionate for the welfare of all living beings. Abandoning the taking of what is not given, he abstains from taking what is not given. He takes only what is given, accepts only what is given, lives not by stealth but by means of a self that has become pure. Abandoning uncelibacy, he lives a celibate life, aloof, refraining from the sexual act that is the villager's way. Abandoning false speech, he abstains from false speech. He speaks the truth. holds to the truth. is firm, reliable, no deceiver of the world.

Abandoning divisive speech he abstains from divisive speech. What he has heard here he does not tell there to break those people apart from these people here. What he has heard there he does not tell here to break these people apart from those people there. Thus rec­onciling those who have broken apart or cementing those who are united, he loves concord, delights in concord, enjoys concord, speaks things that create concord. Abandoning abusive speech, he abstains from abusive speech. He speaks words that are soothing to the ear, that are affectionate, that go to the heart, that are polite, appealing & pleasing to people at large. Abandoning idle chatter, he abstains from idle chatter. He speaks in season, speaks what is factual, what is in accordance with the goal, the Dhamma, & the Vinaya. He speaks words worth treasuring, seasonable, reasonable, circumscribed, connected with the goal. Contd>

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