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344 LESSONS 13 08 2011 Maha Assapura Sutta The Greater Discourse at Assapura FREE ONLINE eNālandā Research and Practice UNIVERSITY and BUDDHIST GOOD NEWS letter to VOTE for BSP ELEPHANT to attain Ultimate Bliss-Through http://sarvajan.ambedkar.org- Free Buddhist Studies for Young Students- Lesson 9: The Noble Eightfold Path
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344 LESSONS 13 08 2011 Maha Assapura Sutta The Greater Discourse at Assapura FREE ONLINE eNālandā Research and Practice UNIVERSITY and
BUDDHIST GOOD NEWS letter to VOTE for BSP ELEPHANT to attain Ultimate
Bliss-Through
http://sarvajan.ambedkar.org- Free Buddhist Studies for Young Students- Lesson 9: The Noble
Eightfold Path


MN 39

PTS: M i 271

Maha-Assapura Sutta: The
Greater Discourse at Assapura

translated from the Pali
by

Thanissaro Bhikkhu

© 2008–2011

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying
among the Angas. Now, the Angas have a town named Assapura. There the Blessed One addressed the monks,
“Monks!”

“Yes, lord,” the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, “‘Contemplative, contemplatives’:
That is how people perceive you. And when asked, ‘What are you?’ you claim that
‘We are contemplatives.’ So, with this being your designation and this your
claim, this is how you should train yourselves: ‘We will undertake &
practice those qualities that make one a contemplative, that make one a
brahman, so that our designation will be true and our claim accurate; so that
the services of those whose robes, alms-food, lodging, and medicinal requisites
we use will bring them great fruit & great reward; and so that our going
forth will not be barren, but fruitful & fertile.’[1]

Conscience
& concern

“And what, monks, are the qualities that make one a
contemplative, that make one a brahman? ‘We will be endowed with conscience
& concern (for the consequences of wrong-doing)’: That’s how you should
train yourselves. Now the thought may occur to you, ‘We are endowed with
conscience & concern. That much is enough, that much means we’re done, so that
the goal of our contemplative state has been reached. There’s nothing further
to be done,’ and you may rest content with just that. So I tell you, monks. I
exhort you, monks. Don’t let those of you who seek the contemplative state fall
away from the goal of the contemplative state when there is more to be done.

Purity
of conduct

“And what more is to be done? ‘Our bodily conduct will be
pure, clear & open, unbroken & restrained. We will not exalt ourselves
nor disparage others on account of that pure bodily conduct’: That’s how you
should train yourselves. Now the thought may occur to you, ‘We are endowed with
conscience & concern. Our bodily conduct is pure. That much is enough, that
much means we’re done, so that the goal of our contemplative state has been
reached. There’s nothing further to be done,’ and you may rest content with
just that. So I tell you, monks. I exhort you, monks. Don’t let those of you
who seek the contemplative state fall away from the goal of the contemplative
state when there is more to be done.

“And what more is to be done? ‘Our verbal conduct… our
mental conduct will be pure, clear & open, unbroken & restrained. We
will not exalt ourselves nor disparage others on account of that pure verbal…
mental conduct’: That’s how you should train yourselves. Now the thought may
occur to you, ‘We are endowed with conscience & concern. Our bodily conduct
is pure. Our verbal conduct… our mental conduct is pure. That much is enough,
that much means we’re done, so that the goal of our contemplative state has
been reached. There’s nothing further to be done,’ and you may rest content
with just that. So I tell you, monks. I exhort you, monks. Don’t let those of
you who seek the contemplative state fall away from the goal of the contemplative
state when there is more to be done.

“And what more is to be done? ‘Our livelihood will be pure,
clear & open, unbroken & restrained. We will not exalt ourselves nor
disparage others on account of that pure livelihood’: That’s how you should
train yourselves. Now the thought may occur to you, ‘We are endowed with
conscience & concern. Our bodily conduct is pure. Our verbal conduct… our
mental conduct is pure. Our livelihood is pure. That much is enough, that much
means we’re done, so that the goal of our contemplative state has been reached.
There’s nothing further to be done,’ and you may rest content with just that.
So I tell you, monks. I exhort you, monks. Don’t let those of you who seek the
contemplative state fall away from the goal of the contemplative state when
there is more to be done.

Restraint
of the senses

“And what more is to be done? ‘We will guard the doors to
our sense faculties. On seeing a form with the eye, we will not grasp at any
theme or variations by which — if we were to dwell without restraint over the
faculty of the eye — evil, unskillful qualities such as greed or distress might
assail us. We will practice for its restraint. We will protect the faculty of
the eye. We will achieve restraint with regard to the faculty of the eye. On
hearing a sound with the ear… On smelling an aroma with the nose… On
tasting a flavor with the tongue… On feeling a tactile sensation with the
body… On cognizing an idea with the intellect, we will not grasp at any theme
or variations by which — if we were to dwell without restraint over the faculty
of the intellect — evil, unskillful qualities such as greed or distress might
assail us. We will practice for its restraint. We will protect the faculty of
the intellect. We will achieve restraint with regard to the faculty of the
intellect’: That’s how you should train yourselves. Now the thought may occur
to you, ‘We are endowed with conscience & concern. Our bodily conduct is
pure. Our verbal conduct… our mental conduct is pure. Our livelihood is pure.
We guard the doors to our sense faculties. That much is enough, that much means
we’re done, so that the goal of our contemplative state has been reached.
There’s nothing further to be done,’ and you may rest content with just that.
So I tell you, monks. I exhort you, monks. Don’t let those of you who seek the
contemplative state fall away from the goal of the contemplative state when
there is more to be done.

Moderation in eating

“And what more is to be done? ‘We will have a sense of
moderation in eating. Considering it appropriately, we will take food not
playfully, nor for intoxication, nor for putting on bulk, nor for
beautification, but simply for the survival & continuance of this body, for
ending its afflictions, for the support of the holy life, thinking, “I
will destroy old feelings [of hunger] & not create new feelings [from
overeating]. Thus I will maintain myself, be blameless, & live in
comfort”‘: That’s how you should train yourselves. Now the thought may
occur to you, ‘We are endowed with conscience & concern. Our bodily conduct
is pure. Our verbal conduct… our mental conduct is pure. Our livelihood is
pure. We guard the doors to our sense faculties. We have a sense of moderation
in eating. That much is enough, that much means we’re done, so that the goal of
our contemplative state has been reached. There’s nothing further to be done,’
and you may rest content with just that. So I tell you, monks. I exhort you,
monks. Don’t let those of you who seek the contemplative state fall away from the
goal of the contemplative state when there is more to be done.

Wakefulness

“And what more is to be done? ‘We will be devoted to
wakefulness. During the day, sitting & pacing back & forth, we will
cleanse the mind of any qualities that would hold it in check. During the first
watch of the night,[2]

sitting & pacing back & forth, we will cleanse the mind of any
qualities that would hold it in check. During the second watch of the night[3]
reclining on his right side, we will take up the lion’s posture, one foot
placed on top of the other, mindful, alert, with the mind set on getting up
[either as soon as we awaken or at a particular time]. During the last watch of
the night,[4]
sitting & pacing back & forth, we will cleanse the mind of any
qualities that would hold it in check’: That’s how you should train yourselves.
Now the thought may occur to you, ‘We are endowed with conscience &
concern. Our bodily conduct is pure. Our verbal conduct… our mental conduct
is pure. Our livelihood is pure. We guard the doors to our sense faculties. We
have a sense of moderation in eating. We are devoted to wakefulness. That much
is enough, that much means we’re done, so that the goal of our contemplative
state has been reached. There’s nothing further to be done,’ and you may rest
content with just that. So I tell you, monks. I exhort you, monks. Don’t let
those of you who seek the contemplative state fall away from the goal of the
contemplative state when there is more to be done.

Mindfulness & alertness

“And what more is to be done? We will be possessed of
mindfulness & alertness. When going forward and returning, we will act with
alertness. When looking toward and looking away… when bending and extending
our limbs… when carrying our outer cloak, upper robe, & bowl… when
eating, drinking, chewing, & tasting… when urinating & defecating…
when walking, standing, sitting, falling asleep, waking up, talking, &
remaining silent, we will act with alertness’: That’s how you should train
yourselves. Now the thought may occur to you, ‘We are endowed with conscience
& concern. Our bodily conduct is pure. Our verbal conduct… our mental
conduct is pure. Our livelihood is pure. We guard the doors to our sense
faculties. We have a sense of moderation in eating. We are devoted to
wakefulness. We are possessed of mindfulness & alertness. That much is
enough, that much means we’re done, so that the goal of our contemplative state
has been reached. There’s nothing further to be done,’ and you may rest content
with just that. So I tell you, monks. I exhort you, monks. Don’t let those of
you who seek the contemplative state fall away from the goal of the
contemplative state when there is more to be done.

Abandoning the hindrances

“And what more is to be done? There is the case where a
monk seeks out a secluded dwelling: a forest, the shade of a tree, a mountain,
a glen, a hillside cave, a charnel ground, a jungle grove, the open air, a heap
of straw. After his meal, returning from his alms round, he sits down, crosses
his legs, holds his body erect, and brings mindfulness to the fore.

“Abandoning covetousness with regard to the world, he
dwells with an awareness devoid of covetousness. He cleanses his mind of
covetousness. Abandoning ill will and anger, he dwells with an awareness devoid
of ill will, sympathetic with the welfare of all living beings. He cleanses his
mind of ill will and anger. Abandoning sloth and drowsiness, he dwells with an
awareness devoid of sloth and drowsiness, mindful, alert, percipient of light.
He cleanses his mind of sloth and drowsiness. Abandoning restlessness and
anxiety, he dwells undisturbed, his mind inwardly stilled. He cleanses his mind
of restlessness and anxiety. Abandoning uncertainty, he dwells having crossed
over uncertainty, with no perplexity with regard to skillful mental qualities.
He cleanses his mind of uncertainty.

“Suppose that a man,
taking a loan, invests it in his business affairs. His business affairs
succeed. He repays his old debts and has extra left over for maintaining his
wife. The thought would occur to him, ‘Before, taking a loan, I invested it in
my business affairs. Now my business affairs have succeeded. I have repaid my
old debts and have extra left over for maintaining my wife.’ Because of that he
would gain joy & experience happiness.

“Now suppose that a man
falls sick — in pain & seriously ill. He does not enjoy his meals and has
no measure of strength in his body. At a later time he is released from that
sickness. He enjoys his meals and has a measure of strength in his body. The
thought would occur to him, ‘Before, I was sick….Now I am released from that
sickness. I enjoy my meals and have a measure of strength in my body.’ Because
of that he would gain joy & experience happiness.

“Now suppose that a man
is bound in prison. At a later time he is released from that bondage, safe
& sound, with no loss of property. The thought would occur to him, ‘Before,
I was bound in prison. Now I am released from that bondage, safe & sound,
with no loss of my property.’ Because of that he would gain joy &
experience happiness.

Now suppose that a man, subject to
others, not subject to himself, unable to go where he likes. At a later time he
is released from that slavery, subject to himself, not subject to others,
freed, able to go where he likes. The thought would occur to him, ‘Before, I
was a slave….Now I am released from that slavery, subject to myself, not
subject to others, freed, able to go where I like.’ Because of that he would
gain joy & experience happiness.

“Now suppose that a man,
carrying money & goods, is traveling by a road through
desolate country
. At a later time he emerges from that desolate country,
safe & sound, with no loss of property. The thought would occur to him,
‘Before, carrying money & goods, I was traveling by a road through desolate
country. Now I have emerged from that desolate country, safe & sound, with
no loss of my property.’ Because of that he would gain joy & experience
happiness.

In the same way, when these five hindrances are not abandoned in
himself, the monk regards it as a debt, a sickness, a prison, slavery, a road
through desolate country. But when these five hindrances are abandoned in
himself, he regards it as unindebtedness, good health, release from prison,
freedom, a place of security. Seeing that they have been abandoned within him,
he becomes glad. Glad, he becomes enraptured. Enraptured, his body grows
tranquil. His body tranquil, he is sensitive to pleasure. Feeling pleasure, his
mind becomes concentrated.

The four
jhanas

“Quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful
mental qualities, he enters and remains in the first jhana: rapture and
pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought and evaluation.
He permeates and pervades, suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture
and pleasure born from withdrawal. Just as if a skilled bathman
or bathman’s apprentice would pour bath powder into a brass basin and knead it
together, sprinkling it again and again with water, so that his ball of bath
powder — saturated, moisture-laden, permeated within and without — would
nevertheless not drip; even so, the monk permeates… this very body with the
rapture and pleasure born of withdrawal. There’s nothing of his entire body
unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal.

“Furthermore, with the stilling of directed thoughts &
evaluations, he enters and remains in the second jhana: rapture and pleasure
born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought and
evaluation — internal assurance. He permeates and pervades, suffuses and fills
this very body with the rapture and pleasure born of composure. Just
like a lake
with spring-water welling up from within, having no inflow from
the east, west, north, or south, and with the skies supplying abundant showers
time and again, so that the cool fount of water welling up from within the lake
would permeate and pervade, suffuse and fill it with cool waters, there being
no part of the lake unpervaded by the cool waters; even so, the monk
permeates… this very body with the rapture and pleasure born of composure.
There’s nothing of his entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born of
composure.

“And furthermore, with the fading of rapture, he remains
equanimous, mindful, & alert, and senses pleasure with the body. He enters
& remains in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, ‘Equanimous
& mindful, he has a pleasant abiding.’ He permeates and pervades, suffuses
and fills this very body with the pleasure divested of rapture. Just
as in a lotus pond
, some of the lotuses, born and growing in the water,
stay immersed in the water and flourish without standing up out of the water,
so that they are permeated and pervaded, suffused and filled with cool water
from their roots to their tips, and nothing of those lotuses would be
unpervaded with cool water; even so, the monk permeates… this very body with
the pleasure divested of rapture. There’s nothing of his entire body unpervaded
with pleasure divested of rapture.

“And furthermore, with the abandoning of pleasure and
stress — as with the earlier disappearance of elation and distress — he enters
and remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity and mindfulness,
neither-pleasure nor stress. He sits, permeating the body with a pure, bright
awareness. Just as if a man were sitting covered from head to
foot with a white cloth so that there would be no part of his body to which the
white cloth did not extend; even so, the monk sits, permeating the body with a
pure, bright awareness. There’s nothing of his entire body unpervaded by pure,
bright awareness.

The three
knowledges

“With his mind thus concentrated, purified, and bright,
unblemished, free from defects, pliant, malleable, steady, and attained to
imperturbability, he directs and inclines it to knowledge of the recollection
of past lives.[5]

He recollects his manifold past lives, i.e., one birth, two births, three
births, four, five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, one hundred, one
thousand, one hundred thousand, many aeons of cosmic contraction, many aeons of
cosmic expansion, many aeons of cosmic contraction and expansion,
[recollecting], ‘There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an
appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such the
end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose there. There too I had
such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food,
such my experience of pleasure and pain, such the end of my life. Passing away
from that state, I re-arose here.’ Thus he recollects his manifold past lives
in their modes and details. Just as if a man were to go
from his home village to another village, and then from that village to yet
another village, and then from that village back to his home village. The
thought would occur to him, ‘I went from my home village to that village over
there. There I stood in such a way, sat in such a way, talked in such a way,
and remained silent in such a way. From that village I went to that village
over there, and there I stood in such a way, sat in such a way, talked in such
a way, and remained silent in such a way. From that village I came back home.’
In the same way — with his mind thus concentrated, purified, and bright,
unblemished, free from defects, pliant, malleable, steady, and attained to
imperturbability — the monk directs and inclines it to knowledge of the
recollection of past lives. He recollects his manifold past lives… in their
modes and details.

“With his mind thus concentrated, purified, and bright,
unblemished, free from defects, pliant, malleable, steady, and attained to
imperturbability, he directs and inclines it to knowledge of the passing away
and re-appearance of beings. He sees — by means of the divine eye, purified and
surpassing the human — beings passing away and re-appearing, and he discerns
how they are inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, fortunate and
unfortunate in accordance with their kamma: ‘These beings — who were endowed
with bad conduct of body, speech, and mind, who reviled the noble ones, held
wrong views and undertook actions under the influence of wrong views — with the
break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the plane of
deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. But these beings —
who were endowed with good conduct of body, speech, and mind, who did not
revile the noble ones, who held right views and undertook actions under the
influence of right views — with the break-up of the body, after death, have
re-appeared in the good destinations, in the heavenly world.’ Thus — by means
of the divine eye, purified and surpassing the human — he sees beings passing
away and re-appearing, and he discerns how they are inferior and superior,
beautiful and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate in accordance with their kamma. Just as if there were a tall building in the central square
[of a town], and a man with good eyesight standing on top of it were to see
people entering a house, leaving it, walking along the street, and sitting in
the central square. The thought would occur to him, ‘These people are entering
a house, leaving it, walking along the streets, and sitting in the central
square.’ In the same way — with his mind thus concentrated, purified, and
bright, unblemished, free from defects, pliant, malleable, steady, and attained
to imperturbability — the monk directs and inclines it to knowledge of the
passing away and re-appearance of beings. He sees — by means of the divine eye,
purified and surpassing the human — beings passing away and re-appearing, and
he discerns how they are inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, fortunate
and unfortunate in accordance with their kamma…

“With his mind thus concentrated, purified, and bright,
unblemished, free from defects, pliant, malleable, steady, and attained to
imperturbability, the monk directs and inclines it to the knowledge of the
ending of the mental fermentations. He discerns, as it has come to be, that
‘This is stress… This is the origination of stress… This is the cessation
of stress… This is the way leading to the cessation of stress… These are
mental fermentations… This is the origination of fermentations… This is the
cessation of fermentations… This is the way leading to the cessation of
fermentations.’ His heart, thus knowing, thus seeing, is released from the
fermentation of sensuality, the fermentation of becoming, the fermentation of
ignorance. With release, there is the knowledge, ‘Released.’ He discerns that
‘Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There’s nothing
further for this world.’ Just as if there were a pool of water
in a mountain glen — clear, limpid, and unsullied — where a man with good
eyesight standing on the bank could see shells, gravel, and pebbles, and also
shoals of fish swimming about and resting, and it would occur to him, ‘This
pool of water is clear, limpid, and unsullied. Here are these shells, gravel,
and pebbles, and also these shoals of fish swimming about and resting.’ In the
same way — with his mind thus concentrated, purified, and bright, unblemished,
free from defects, pliant, malleable, steady, and attained to imperturbability
— the monk directs and inclines it to the knowledge of the ending of the mental
fermentations. He discerns, as it has come to be, that ‘This is stress… This
is the origination of stress… This is the cessation of stress… This is the
way leading to the cessation of stress… These are mental fermentations…
This is the origination of fermentations… This is the cessation of
fermentations… This is the way leading to the cessation of fermentations.’
His heart, thus knowing, thus seeing, is released from the fermentation of
sensuality, the fermentation of becoming, the fermentation of ignorance. With
release, there is the knowledge, ‘Released.’ He discerns that ‘Birth is ended,
the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There’s nothing further for this
world.’

“This, monks, is called a monk who is a contemplative, a
brahman, washed, a master, learned, noble, an arahant.[6]

“And how is a monk a contemplative?[7]
His evil, unskillful qualities that are defiled, that lead to further becoming,
create trouble, ripen in stress, and lead to future birth, aging, & death
have been calmed.[8]
This is how a monk is a contemplative.

“And how is a monk a brahman? His evil, unskillful
qualities that are defiled, that lead to further becoming, create trouble,
ripen in stress, and lead to future birth, aging, & death have been
expelled.[9]

This is how a monk is a brahman.

“And how is a monk washed? His evil, unskillful qualities
that are defiled, that lead to further becoming, create trouble, ripen in
stress, and lead to future birth, aging, & death have been washed away.
This is how a monk is washed.

“And how is a monk a master? His evil, unskillful qualities
that are defiled, that lead to further becoming, create trouble, ripen in
stress, and lead to future birth, aging, & death have been mastered. This
is how a monk is a master.

“And how is a monk learned?[10]
His evil, unskillful qualities that are defiled, that lead to further becoming,
create trouble, ripen in stress, and lead to future birth, aging, & death
have streamed away.[11]
This is how a monk is learned.

“And how is a monk noble?[12]
His evil, unskillful qualities that are defiled, that lead to further becoming,
create trouble, ripen in stress, and lead to future birth, aging, & death
have gone far away.[13]
This is how a monk is noble.

“And how is a monk an arahant? His evil, unskillful
qualities that are defiled, that lead to further becoming, create trouble,
ripen in stress, and lead to future birth, aging, & death have gone far
away.[14]

This is how a monk is an arahant.”

That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, the monks
delighted in the Blessed One’s words.

Notes

1.

Given the
widespread misperception that arahantship is a selfish goal, it’s important to
take note of this statement — that part of the motivation to become an arahant
is how it will benefit other people.

2.

First
watch: Dusk to 10 p.m.

3.

Second
watch: 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

4.

Third
watch: 2 a.m. to dawn.

5.

Lit.:
“previous homes”.

6.

The
following passages are all based on word play in the Pali.

7.

Samana.

8.

Samita.

9.

Bahita.

10.

Sotthiya.

11.

Nissuta.

12.

Ariya.

13, 14 Araka.

Lesson 9: The Noble Eightfold Path

 

1. Review the life story of
the Buddha.

a) Describe how Siddhattha
lived, and how he treated others before he

became the Buddha. Was he
following a spiritual path – did he live by

the precepts, and cultivate
understanding and love?

b) Describe how the Buddha
lived and treated others. Was he

practicing what he taught,
was he teaching by his personal example as

well as by words?

c) What was the Buddha’s
daily routine and what meditations did he

practice?

2. Describe lives of some of
the Buddha’s students. How did they treat

others?

3. Review the Buddha’s First
Discourse and Analysis of the 4 Noble

Truths, and read the 10
precepts in the Appendix. Then use them to

discuss the spiritual path,
in this lesson.

The Noble Eightfold Path

Right understanding (right
view,
samma ditthi)

Samma ditthi has
been commonly translated as ‘right understanding’

or ‘right view’. In this book
we shall use the first term, meaning both

right view and clear
comprehension. In the context of the spiritual

training and realisation of
the
Nibbana,
right understanding means

understanding of the 4 Noble
Truths. This does not mean that we

should not learn about life
around us, as we do at school or work. But

our understanding is never
complete, or full (
samma), without

understanding these 4 Noble
Truths. Like ecology students, whose

understanding of an ecosystem
is never complete without including

themselves and other people
in the picture.

Right thought (right
intention,
samma sankappa)

Samma sankappa has
been commonly translated as right thought or

right intention. In this book
we shall use the term ‘right thought’,

meaning truthful and kind
thought (true, of renunciation, good-will

and not harming). We know
from the history and our own lives that

while right intentions or
good-will are the basis, or essential, for right

thinking, they do not save us
from wrong beliefs and suffering. Only

when our thoughts are also
true (match, or are in alignment with, what

really is) our thinking is
really right.

Right speech (samma vacca)

Right speech means no false
speech (no lying, harsh speech, or taking

too much), but rather
truthful and kind speech, or silence.

Right action (samma kammantha)

Right action means not to
intentionally harm others or ourselves

(hence not to break the 5
precepts), but rather do what is good for us

and others as well. The
Buddha gave monks and nuns 5 additional

precepts, to live in the way
beneficial to them and others as well. In a

less strict form, they are
helpful for everyone.

Right livelihood (samma ajiva)

Right livelihood does not
harm others, and is beneficial to both

ourselves and others as well.
This means it doesn’t go against the 5

precepts. It also means no
trading in weapons, endangered animals,

illegal drugs and unhealthy
food. For students like you, going to

school and doing your
schoolwork is the right livelihood. It is a

preparation for your adult
life of independence and self-reliance. Your

learning at school and your
activities outside of school all contribute

to your future.

Right effort (samma vayama)

In the context of the N8FP
training, right effort means an effort to

keep away (detached) from all
bad things and develop good things,

and especially to keep
detached from all bad thoughts and develop

good thoughts.

􀁄 Right mindfulness (samma sati)

Right mindfulness, in the
context of the N8FP training, means

mindfulness or observation of
our body and mind and those of others.

However, this does not mean
we should not be mindful of other

things, rather it means that
we must be especially mindful of ourselves

and other living beings.
Mindfulness is never complete without that.

Right concentration (samma samadhi)

Right concentration means a
more focused mindfulness or observation

of a meditation subject. Its
practice leads to experience of

progressively more refined or
peaceful states of mind and to deeper

insight into the meditation
subject. We progressively train ourselves to

let go of thinking, emotions
and physical sensations at will, and

experience equanimity (inner
calm, peace). This is necessary not only

to relax and restore balance,
but also to see clearly reality as it is.

When the mind is cluttered
and restless, there are too many things

happening to see the inner or
outer phenomena clearly as they are.

Like water or air that is
full of sediments, and agitated or restless, so is

the impure and untrained
mind.

1. Use the discourse Analysis
of the 4 Noble Truths, and other

Buddha’s teachings to briefly
discuss each factor of the N8FP, what it

means to you, and how it
relates to your life.

2. Describe what you do and
what factors of the path you are

developing naturally when:

a) playing a sport, playing
music, drawing, reading.

b) studying science,
exploring nature.

3. Discuss concentration and
peaceful meditation states:

a) Describe what mental
states you experience when studying,

drawing, observing nature, or
resting in bed.

b) Why is it very important
to develop equanimity? Give examples of

some critical situations,
when equanimity is very important. How do

we develop equanimity?

4. Reflect on your life:

a) Are your actions, speech
and thinking always good for you and

others? Discuss how you may
improve them.

b) Describe your daily
routine during the weekdays and weekends.

How do you spend your free
time, what are you hobbies and why do

you like them?

c) Do you like science, and
observing and thinking about life around

you? If so, what do you like
best and why?

1 Discuss how you and others
can benefit at home, at school or at

work from practicing the
N8FP.

2. Describe what this world
would be like if all people practiced the

Noble Eight-fold Path:

a) What things, activities
and production systems would disappear?

b) What could the money and
resources, now spent on weapons,

fighting crime and violence,
combating pollution and diseases due to

wrong lifestyle, be used for
instead?

c) What occupations could
people have instead, that would be more

beneficial for everyone?

d) What would the cities and
countryside look like?

e) How would people spend
their weekends and holidays?

The Buddhist Middle Way of
life is part of our global cultural

heritage. If practiced
world-wide, can it bring about a healthier and

more peaceful world for
everyone? Write an essay on that.

Meditation

Buddhist meditation most
commonly means just practice of

mindfulness and
concentration, or observation (for example,

mindfulness of breathing).
Less commonly it also means

contemplation, or both
observation and thinking (for example, lovingkindness

meditation and contemplation
on the Buddha). It is practiced

to experience inner calm or
peace, and to gain insight into and

understanding of life.

Meditation done primarily to
experience inner calm is called a calm

meditation (samatha). Meditation done primarily to gain insight into

life is called an insight
meditation (v
ipassana).
However, no lasting

inner peace is possible
without developing insight into reality, and

giving up the causes of
suffering. And deep insight into reality

requires a calm mind.

The most well known calm
meditation is mindfulness of breathing

(anapana sati). It helps us to maintain inner peace in our
daily life,

and hence it also helps us in
our studies and any difficult situation.

The insight meditation
subjects vary from our body and mind, to

various life phenomena (dhammas), such as the 4 Noble Truths and

love.

To progress in meditation, it
is important that we begin with the

observation and contemplation
of the most obvious – our body, and

that we practice regularly.
Just as the precepts and loving-kindness are

an absolute foundation for
any spiritual practice, so meditation on the

body is an essential
foundation for any deeper meditation practice.

1. Try the meditations
described in the Appendix. You may ask your

parents or a Buddhist teacher
to help you. After you have finished,

review your experience and
share it with others. What did you

experience, and where did it
lead to?

2. Try meditating in daily
life:

a) Mindfulness of eating - At
breakfast, or other mealtime, sit down,

and do not talk or do any
other activities, like listening to music or

watching TV. Now reflect on
and silently give thanks to all who

created (or contributed to)
your food. Then let go of all thinking, and

just eat slowly, chewing
properly every mouthful. When you have

finished, slowly get up and
put away your dishes.

b) Mindfulness of walking -
when you are walking to school, in a park

or along a beach, let go of
all thinking and just walk and observe.

3. Establish your meditation
practice, and try to do it every day, or at

least on the weekends:

a) in the morning, do a short
loving-kindness meditation or a

meditation on breathing, and
then a few yoga asanas or other gentle

exercises.

b) in the evening, sit down
and reflect on your day, what you have

done and learnt, and what to
improve in the future. Write some of

these things down in your
diary.


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