Chapter 4. "The Noble Eightfold Path" by Buddha

Table of Contents
Ideas of Interest from "The Noble Eightfold Path"
The Reading Selection from "The Eightfold Path"
Topics Worth Investigating

Brahmin Reading, Caleb Wright, India and Its Inhabitants

About the author…

Attending the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago was a life-changing event for Paul Carus (1852-1919). Not only did Swami Vivekananda (whose >paper on Hinduism is in this text) present many talks at this congress, but also D. T. Suzuki (whose >chapter on the ox-herding pictures is also here) translated a paper for the event. Carus and Suzuki later worked together on the translation of the Tao te Ching as well as several other works.

About the work…

In his Buddha, The Word,[1] Paul Carus compiles the fundamental teachings of the Buddha: the four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, and Buddha's sermons and advice to his disciples. In this reading, Buddha explains how nirvana can result from the discipline of the Noble Eightfold Path. In his teachings, Buddha did not claim divine authority, instead he emphasizes that each person should trust his own experience.

Ideas of Interest from "The Noble Eightfold Path"

  1. List and briefly describe the central characteristics of each of the steps of the Eightfold Path.

  2. Explain the parable of the poisoned arrow. Do you think metaphysical questions are worth pursuing? What harm does Buddha think attends metaphysical questioning?

  3. Why is the middle path described as "the perfect path"? Why do you think the middle path is given this name?

  4. Explain the basis of self-illusion. Does the quest for happiness perpetuate self-illusion? Does Buddha believe the ego is annihilated at death?

  5. Who is the Sotapan? Describe the fetters from which the Sotapan or "stream-enterer" has freed himself.

  6. How does Buddha describe the Arahat?

  7. What are the arguments Buddha advances to the conclusion that there is no ego?

  8. Explain the teaching of "dependent origination." Is this teaching a metaphysical view of the world?

  9. Describe the four-fold characteristics of wrong speech.

  10. What are the five methods Buddha describes to avoid harmful thoughts?

  11. What are the ten blessings which result from contemplation of the body?

  12. What are the differences between thought or thinking and consciousness?

  13. Which of the steps are reflective of morality? Why is meditation and not moral conduct the most important aspect of the Eightfold path?

  14. What is the difference between mindfulness and non-attachment? What is the true goal of the holy life?



Paul Carus. Buddha, The Word. 1915.