The Noble Eightfold Path
The Buddhist Noble Eightfold Path is one of the most popular aspects of Buddhism because it’s incredibly practical. In essence, it’s a step-by-step guide to bring happiness to both yourself and others—it’s the self-help lover’s dream.
According to Kozak, the first step along the path, Right View, means “to have a total comprehension of the Four Noble Truths,” and includes the ability to “experience things beyond conditioned experience.” In essence, this step involves you striving to see the world without harmful preconceptions.
Right Resolve, the second step, is all about intentions—this step involves moving away from an “I”-centered life, and toward a more selfless existence defined by compassion for others.
Next, Right Speech is just what you think it is: a commitment to using your power of speech to do good, and not to use it to do harm. This includes avoiding lies, gossip, and even talking too much.
Right Action can be summed up by the old saying, “Do no harm,” and is a commitment to doing good with your actions. This includes actions which affect the environment and yourself, in addition to those around you.
Right Livelihood means “to avoid harm through your work in the world, according to Kozak. Ask yourself one question in order to follow this step: is what you do for a living causing harm to others or yourself?
Right Effort reminds us to put the right amount of effort into following the Eightfold Path—not so much as to harm ourselves, but enough so that we actually accomplish what we set out to do. Be willing to set expend the effort to get yourself back on track when you slip.
Right Mindfulness means that you strive to live your life in the moment, being neither too focused on the past or the future. It also touches on your need to examine how your mind engages with pain and desire—pay attention to yourself and your thoughts so that you can change them as necessary.
Finally, Right Concentration involves practicing your ability to concentrate through exercises like meditation. This lays the foundation for Right Mindfulness and disciplines the mind.
This is a simple introduction to the Eightfold Path—if you'd like deeper insight into the path, try out "Buddhism 101."