1. Wisdom (panna)
Right Understanding (samma ditthi)
Right Aspiration (samma sankappa)
The first step on the Eightfold path is about understanding and knowledge. After all, if we do not know, we cannot do.
Right view is the beginning and the end of the path, it simply means to see and to understand things as they really are and to realize the Four Noble Truth. As such, right view is the cognitive aspect of wisdom. It means to see things through, to grasp the impermanent and imperfect nature of worldly objects and ideas, and to understand the law of karma and karmic conditioning. Right view is not necessarily an intellectual capacity, just as wisdom is not just a matter of intelligence. Instead, right view is attained, sustained, and enhanced through all capacities of mind. It begins with the intuitive insight that all beings are subject to suffering and it ends with complete understanding of the true nature of all things. Since our view of the world forms our thoughts and our actions, right view yields right thoughts and right actions.
Only through seeing things as they really are, can we start on the path. Only by traveling the path, can we see things as they really are. Basically, if you think everyone is out to get you, then you will act furtively, and people will not trust you. Self fulfilling prophesy. By penetrating the veil of illusion, by seeing through the emotion and seeing what is really happening we can act appropriately. If our vision is clouded by emotion, we will see phantoms and act from fear and confusion.
We must move beyond simple understanding. We can intellectually understand that we have to see things correctly to proceed. We have to move beyond simple intellect however. To barrow a word, we have to grok right understanding. We have to be right understanding. It’s a tall order, and most of us will not reach it all of the time. We can strive for it, and in the striving we become better people. How do we strive?
While right view refers to the cognitive aspect of wisdom, right intention refers to the volitional aspect, i.e. the kind of mental energy that controls our actions. Right intention can be described best as commitment to ethical and mental self-improvement. Buddha distinguishes three types of right intentions: 1. the intention of renunciation, which means resistance to the pull of desire, 2. the intention of good will, meaning resistance to feelings of anger and aversion, and 3. the intention of harmlessness, meaning not to think or act cruelly, violently, or aggressively, and to develop compassion.
Part of understanding right sight is practicing it. This step on the path asks us to practice what we learn as we learn it, enabling us to learn more. By practiceing good intentions, we can learn how to see correctly, and by seeing correctly we can learn how to practice right aspiration.
This is follows the law of Karma: You reap what you sow. If you are a negative person, and treat others badly you will not find much happiness in the world. However if you are a positive person, then you will find that life seems easier.
By practicing Right Aspiration we start our selves down the road towards being more positive people. We start down the road towards peace and happiness.