Philosophy 312: Oriental Philosophy
Buddhism: The Eightfold Path
Abstract: A rigorous system of habit formation as a course of practice in life is explained as part of the Buddhist Eightfold Path.Preliminary Step to the Eightfold Path often mentioned by Buddha is right association. Training for a life of the spirit is made less arduous if you can be with others who seek the same things. As Huston Smith points out, health is as contagious as disease, virtue as contagious as vice, and cheerfulness as contagious as moroseness.
I. Right Knowledge: some convictions are necessary to achieve a good life.
B. The use of reason as restriction--the middle way, the doctrine of the mean to avoid harmful things.
C. Intellectual knowledge is conditioned by concepts and principles of a system. The intellect is inferior to the understanding, and direct insight results from seeing things just as they are without interpretation..
2. Wisdom is the direct apprehension of a thing--not propositional knowledge of labels or categories in standard form.
B. We should seek enlightenment with the intensity and single-mindedness to overcome life's dislocation.
C. Cf., biographies of persons you find significant.
B. Our speech acts affect how we think.
2. In truth, we should not fear revealing to others what we really are--use authentic speech.
3. Cf., below the Noble Silence.
"I deserve better."
"He/she doesn't really care what I think."
"He/she should be made to do it."
"Why should I do that for you? You would never do that for me."
"What you ought to do is ..."
"I don't want to."
"I hate it."
B. Self-analysis: examine your motives. In all behavior you inquire as to who, what, where, when, and why.
C. Ultimately, one can practice according to the doctrine of non-effort --this is the heart of Buddhism.
B. Your choice of livelihood should be wherever you can experience support for your personal program.
C. Specifically, avoid being a tax collector, a brewer, and arms dealer, or a caravan trader.
b. Tao Te Ching (pronounced roughly like "dow day jhing"): "He who takes the longest stride does not walk the fastest."
c. Cf., Karma yoga for other aspects.
2. The story of the ferryman carrying an old man and boy carrying books: "You can make it though the gates of the city before they close, if you do not hurry." Unfortunately, they hurried, stumbled, spilled the books ...
B. Watch your emotions come and go. What is it that you just "have to" have? We need not crave or cling to any thing.
C. Dhammapada: "All we are is a result of what we have thought." (The beginning verse of the most accessed Buddhist writing.)
2. If we fully understand ourselves and life itself, neither would be a problem.
3. Awareness is truth; see things as they are, not what you fear or want them to be. (How does a small child view dogs after that child is bitten by one?)
2. Everything we experience (esp., moods and emotions) should be traced to its cause. (Cf., psychoanalysis.)
3. Relate your actions through the overself or "second-self": that who thinks of that who reads this sentence.
4. E.g., "Why do I feel as I do now? Did someone say something?, am I attempting to repress something?, am I covering up something? ..."
2. Mediate on fearful and disgusting sights until you overcome your aversions. Seek acceptance of "what is."
3. Picture vividly your goal (not all desire is mistaken).
4. Set aside a special time of the day for undistracted self-analysis--occasionally withdraw from life for several days.
B. Raja yoga is the royal road to re-integration by psychological experiment with prescribed mental exercises. One observes their effects with respect to getting beyond the pitter-patter of daily existence (Samsara).
C. The main steps:
2. completely shut out the external world
3. mastery of concentration
4. mastery of meditation
5. union with God (yet, there is no "self")
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