The Buddhist Morality

by Jim Eubanks

The Buddha’s enlightenment empowered him with insight into four basic human truths about human unsatisfactoriness known as the Four Noble Truths.  They are:

1) Unsatisfactoriness exists for human beings;
2) the cause of unsatisfactoriness is craving and unnatural attachments of the mind that neglect an understanding of impermanence and primordial oneness;
3) there is a path that leads to the cessation of craving and unnatural attachments of the mind, and thus there is a way to positively transform unsatisfactoriness;
4) this path is Eightfold.

The Eightfold Path:

1) Right View
2) Right Intention
3) Right Speech
4) Right Action
5) Right Livelihood
6) Right Effort
7) Right Mindfulness
8) Right Concentration

A breakdown of the Eightfold Path, found in David Kalupahana’s text Buddhist Philosophy: A Historical Analysis, groups (1) Right View and (2) Right Intention as “Intellectual Understanding,” and (3) Right Speech, (4) Right, Action, (5) Right Livelihood, and (6) Right Effort as “Moral Understanding.”  The final two parts of the Eightfold Path, 7) Right Mindfulness and 8) Right Concentration, are considered “Meditative Understanding,” and are the result of regular and wholehearted Buddhist practice.  All of the components of the Eightfold Path are intended to aid the Buddhist practitioner by actually implementing the conclusions of Buddhist thought as described in the above sections, so that his or her personal thoughts, words and actions eventually emerge as unmediated reflections of a genuine understanding and insight.  Following the Eightfold Path simultaneously places the Buddhist practitioner on the enlightenment path; observing the Eightfold Path is enlightenment itself.