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The Noble Eightfold Path
By Thanissaro Bhikku

And what is the right action that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions? Abstaining from killing, from taking what is not given, & from illicit sex. This is the right action that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions. And what is the right action that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The abstaining, desisting, abstinence, avoidance of the three forms of bodily misconduct in one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is without effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right action that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

One tries to abandon wrong action & to enter into right action: This is one's right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong action & to enter & remain in right action: This is one's right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities right view, right effort, & right mindfulness­run & circle around right action. Of those, right view is the forerunner. And how is right view the forerunner? One discerns wrong livelihood as wrong livelihood, and right livelihood as right livelihood. And what is wrong livelihood? Scheming, persuading, hinting, belittling, & pursuing gain with gain. This is wrong livelihood.

And what is right livelihood? Right livelihood, I tell you, is of two sorts: There is right livelihood with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions; and there is noble right livelihood, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path. And what is the right livelihood that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions? There is the case where a noble disciple abandons wrong livelihood and maintains his life with right livelihood. This is the right livelihood that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions.

And what is the right livelihood that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The abstaining, desisting, abstinence, avoidance of wrong livelihood in one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is without effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right livelihood that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.


One tries to abandon wrong livelihood & to enter into right livelihood:
This is one's right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong livelihood & to enter & remain in right livelihood: This is one's right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities right view, right effort, & right mindfulness run& circle around right livelihood. Of those, right view is the forerunner. And how is right view the forerunner? In one of right view, right resolve comes into being.

In one of right resolve, right speech comes into being. 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 .... In one of right concentration, right knowledge .... In one of right knowledge, right release comes into being. Thus the learner is endowed with eight factors, and the Arahant with ten. Of those, right view is the forerunner. And how is right view the forerunner? In one of right view, wrong view is abolished. The many evil, unskillful qualities that come into play with wrong view as their condition are also abolished, while the many skillful qualities that have right view as their condition go to the culmination of their development. (Similarly with the remaining factors up through:) In one of right release, wrong release is abolished. The many evil, unskillful qualities that come into play with wrong release as their condition are also abolished, while the many skillful qualities that have right release as their condition go to the culmination of their development.

The Buddha: 'The stream, the stream,' it is said. Now what is the stream?
Sariputta: Just this noble eightfold path is the stream: right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.
The Buddha: Well said, Sariputta, well said. Just this noble eightfold path is the stream .... 'Stream winner, stream winner,' it is said. Now what is a stream winner?
Sariputta: Whoever is endowed with this noble eightfold path is called a' stream winner.'
The Buddha: Well said, Sariputta, well said. Whoever is endowed with this noble eightfold path is called a 'stream winner.'

Monks, just as a pot without a stand is easy to tip over, and a pot with a stand is hard to tip over, so too the mind without a stand is easy to tip over, and a mind with a stand is hard to tip over. And what is the mind's stand? Just this noble eightfold path.

It is possible that a well aimed spike of bearded wheat or bearded barley, if pressed by a hand or foot, will cut into the hand or foot and draw blood. Why is that? Because the spike is well aimed. In the same way, it is possible that if one's views are well aimed, one's development of the path is well aimed, they will cut into ignorance, give rise to clear knowing, and lead to the realization of Unbinding. Why is that? Because one's views are well aimed.

And how do well aimed views and a well aimed development of the path cut into ignorance, give rise to clear knowing, and lead to the realization of Unbinding? There is the case where a monk develops right view dependent on seclusion, dependent on dispassion, dependent on cessation, resulting in letting go. He develops right resolve ... right speech ... right action ... right livelihood ... right effort... right mindfulness ... right concentration dependent on seclusion ... dispassion ... cessation, resulting in letting go. This is how well aimed views and a well aimed development of the path cut into ignorance, give rise to clear knowing, and lead to the realization of Unbinding.

Just as many kinds of wind blow in the air: east winds, west winds, north winds, south winds, dusty winds, dustless winds, cold winds, warm winds, gentle winds, & strong winds in the same way, when a monk develops the noble eightfold path, pursues the noble eightfold path, the four frames of reference go to the culmination of their development, the four right exertions ... the four bases of power ... the five faculties ... the five strengths ... the seven factors of Awakening go to the culmination of their development.

Knowing & seeing the eye as it actually is present, knowing & seeing forms ... eye consciousness ... eye contact as they actually are present, knowing & seeing whatever arises conditioned through eye contact experienced as pleasure, pain, or neither pleasure nor pain as it actually is present, one is not infatuated with the eye ... forms ... eye consciousness ... eye contact ... whatever arises condi­tioned by eye contact and is experienced as pleasure, pain, or neither pleasure nor pain.

Knowing & seeing the ear Knowing & seeing the nose .... Knowing & seeing the tongue .... Knowing & seeing the body .... Knowing & seeing the intellect as it actually is present, knowing & seeing ideas ... intellect consciousness ... intellect contact as they actually are present, knowing & seeing whatever arises conditioned through intellect contact experienced as pleasure, pain, or neither pleasure nor pain as it actually is present, one is not infatuated with the intellect ... ideas ... intellect consciousness ... intellect contact ... whatever arises conditioned by intellect contact and is experienced as pleasure, pain, or neither pleasure nor pain. Contd>

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