Week 6: More of the Eightfold Path

Ethical Conduct:
3. Right Speech
4. Right Action
5. Right Livelihood

The first part of the path was knowing. It was looking inwards. Now we look outwards. We watch how we interact with the world, and we strive to spread peace rather then unrest.

Speech is one of the most powerful tools that we have at our disposal. Speech can start wars, or heal years of hate. I was watching a show on Discovery Channel yesterday about the evolution of man from Homo Erectus to Agriculture. One of the most amazing things is the ablity to think in concepts and communicate them. When we were able to reach that level of thinking, things took off. Communication is essential to our culture, our species and our advancement.

Right speech is to tell the truth, to speak friendly, warm, and gently and to talk only when necessary.

Right Action ties directly into Right Speech. After all, what is talk with out the walk? We must act kindly and compassionately, be honest, respect the belongings of others, and keep sexual relationships harmless to others.

At it’s core, buddhism is really quite simple and straighforward. Treat others well. Speak with others feelings in your mind. Make your livelihood in accordance with these guidances.

Right Livelihood is the hard one. Especially in this global economy. You never really know what effects your actions are having across the world. Web Software you develop could be used to assist with weapons transactions across the globe.

This is where intent comes in. Your actions need to be targeted at spreading good. If you write some code for ‘bad’ means, then that is bad. If you write some code for good, and it ends up being used for bad, then that’s good – not good how it got used, but not your fault some one else brought negitave karma down on themselves by using your code for bad.
(according to Thich Nath Hanh)

Four of the Five Mindfulness Trainings:

First Training

Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I am committed to cultivating compassion and learning ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to condone any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, and in my way of life.

Second Training

Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, I am committed to cultivate loving kindness and learn ways to work for the well-being of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am committed to practice generosity by sharing my time, energy, and material resources with those who are in real need. I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others. I will respect the property of others, but I will prevent others from profiting from human suffering or the suffering of other species on Earth.

Third Training

Aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct, I am committed to cultivate responsibility and learn ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families, and society. I am determined not to engage in sexual relations without love and a long-term commitment. To preserve the happiness of myself and others, I am determined to respect my commitments and the commitments of others. I will do everything in my power to protect children from sexual abuse and to prevent couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct.

Fourth Training

Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I am committed to cultivate loving speech and deep listening in order to bring joy and happiness to others and relieve others of their suffering. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I am committed to learn to speak truthfully, with words that inspire self-confidence, joy, and hope. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to criticize or condemn things of which I am not sure. I will refrain from uttering words that can cause division or discord, or that can cause the family or the community to break. I will make all efforts to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.

The Big View

Mindfulness is definded as

The practice whereby a person is intentionally aware of his or her thoughts and actions in the present moment, non-judgmentally.

Wikipedia

Mindfulness is a very important part of Buddhism. By becoming reflexively introspective, you reach a point where you can make choices based not on fleeting feelings, but rather on what is best for you and the others that your choice will effect.

Using these tools, Buddhists should strive to bring more peace and harmony into the world. They should leave the world better then they found it – like the Boy Scouts who are admonished to ‘leave the camp site cleaner then they found it’.

We are all camping in this world, sharing it’s fire. We should leave it cleaner then we found it, more advanced in sciences and humanities, and an all around better place for those who follow us.

2 thoughts on “Week 6: More of the Eightfold Path”

  1. I really do not know. That portion puzzled me as well.

    The only thing that I could come up with is to interpet it as talking about the entire Earth – being concerned about the wellbeing of the Earth, and the entire Universe. Not taking actions that will harm the Earth. Using the American Indian thought, and looking at the issues caused by an action for 7 generations before taking that action.

    While I do not totally agree with that (after all, I am a proponent of Nuclear Power), I think that it’s a good target to aim for.

    When we take the time and dollars to develop really green power generation (be it solar, fusion, geothermal, wind or what have you) we will leave the Earth in better shape, and that will help generations further down the line.

    Oh wow. That was quite the rant.

    :)

Comments are closed.