The Eightfold Path
I don't like a lot of the traditional translations of Buddhist texts into English. This is because a lot of them were done in the 50s by Christians. They use this sort of King James vocabulary which makes them rather obtuse. They also come from a sense of Christian morality, which is very much different than Buddhist morality. For example, the Eightfold Path is usually broken down into Right Understanding, Right Intention, and so on; as if there was a Wrong Understanding. I think the right/wrong dichotomy doesn't really fit with Buddhism. I read an article about that translation, and it talked about the possible meanings of the word usually translated as "right." Of the ones they listed, I thought "pure" captured it best, as in pure from attachment, pure from karma. Of course, you still run into the dichotomy problem, but that's a hazard no matter what you say about Buddhism.
- We are not satisfied with our lives.
- We are not satisfied because we cling to desire.
- We can be satisfied if we let go.
- The Eightfold Path will help us let go.
- Renounce clinging.
- Renounce ill-will.
- Renounce harm.
- Abstain from false speech.
- Abstain from divisive speech.
- Abstain from harsh speech.
- Abstain from idle speech.
- Abstain from killing.
- Abstain from stealing.
- Abstain from abusing sexuality.
- Abstain from deception.
- Abstain from intoxicating the mind.
- Do not violate pure speech to earn your living.
- Do not violate pure conduct to earn your living.
- Abstain from dealing in weapons, people, meat, intoxicants, and poison.
- Prevent unskillful qualities from arising in yourself.
- Abandon unskillful qualities that have arisen in yourself.
- Encourage skillful qualities to arise in yourself.
- Maintain skillful qualities that have arisen in yourself.
Present, open, and calm attention to body, feelings, mind, and hindrances.
The five hindrances are sensual desire, ill-will, sloth/fatigue, restlessness/anxiety, and uncertainty.