The Eightfold Path

The way to find happiness is like a road or pathway. In fact, it is called “the Noble Eightfold Path.” Everyone knows a road or pathway is meant to be used for traveling on. A path that cannot be used is of no value to us. Lord Buddha’s Noble Path is for our use every day of our lives. It is called the “Eightfold Path” because we must always remember eight things as we walk on this road of life.

Everyone who is trying to follow Lord Buddha’s teaching ought to know these eight points by heart. They are not hard to memorize and if we begin young, we find that traveling on Lord Buddha’s Noble Path is ever so much easier than it will be if we wait until we are old. The Eight points are:

  1. Right Understanding
  2. Right Aims
  3. Right Speech
  4. Right Actions
  5. Right Livelihood
  6. Right Effort
  7. Right Mindfulness
  8. Right Meditation

Once a long time ago, there was a caravan route over a large desert. By day the sands were so hot that they were burning charcoal. There was no water to drink and there were sharp stones and thorns to hurt the feet of those who strayed off the right path. Wise travelers carried with them plenty of water and food and always employed a very experienced guide who knew the right path and could lead the caravans safely through all the many dangers of the desert.

But a certain foolish traveler decided to cross the dangerous desert without a guide. Soon he strayed off the right path. The sharp stones cut his feet, the thorns scratched his body and him and his camels soon drank up all their water. Just when they were almost dead from thirst, heat, and injury, they were rescued by wise travelers who had followed a good guide.

The desert is this world; the dangers are the troubles and sorrows that come to all of us. The good guide is the Lord Buddha, and the safe road across the desert is the Noble Eightfold Path.

  • This is based on a book called Buddhist Sunday School Lessons by The Venerable Sumangalo.