The Eightfold Path

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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.

Pure Understanding

  1. We are not satisfied with our lives.
  2. We are not satisfied because we cling to desire.
  3. We can be satisfied if we let go.
  4. The Eightfold Path will help us let go.

Pure Intention

  1. Renounce clinging.
  2. Renounce ill-will.
  3. Renounce harm.

Pure Speech

  1. Abstain from false speech.
  2. Abstain from divisive speech.
  3. Abstain from harsh speech.
  4. Abstain from idle speech.

Pure Conduct

  1. Abstain from killing.
  2. Abstain from stealing.
  3. Abstain from abusing sexuality.
  4. Abstain from deception.
  5. Abstain from intoxicating the mind.

Pure Livelihood

  1. Do not violate pure speech to earn your living.
  2. Do not violate pure conduct to earn your living.
  3. Abstain from dealing in weapons, people, meat, intoxicants, and poison.

Pure Effort

  1. Prevent unskillful qualities from arising in yourself.
  2. Abandon unskillful qualities that have arisen in yourself.
  3. Encourage skillful qualities to arise in yourself.
  4. Maintain skillful qualities that have arisen in yourself.

Pure Awareness

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.

Pure Concentration

  1. Detachment
  2. Tranquillity
  3. Equanimity
  4. Awareness