The Noble Eightfold Path is a vital part of Buddhism. This is the journey that one must take to rid themselves of dukkha, or suffering. It is also necessary to achieve self-awakening. Buddhists use the Noble Eightfold Path as a way of gaining insight into the true nature of reality and to remove themselves from hatred and greed. The path is also one of the Four Noble Truths and is sometimes referred to as the Middle Way or Middle Path. This concept is separated into three divisions.
Wisdom of the Eightfold Path
Wisdom, or Prajñā, is believed to be accessible through meditation. This concept can also be referred to as Right View. This step is very important because it relates to viewing the world in its truest form rather than how the individual wants it to be. Wisdom provides a better understanding of all things as they really are which prepares the Buddhist for the journey ahead.
Ethical Conduct of the Eightfold Path
Ethical conduct, or Śīla, describes how a person following the Eightfold Path should conduct themselves. This part of the path embraces a commitment to self-restraint, harmony, wholesomeness and a life of non-violence. It is often described as moral discipline, virtue and Right Conduct. Śīla is more internal than external, meaning that it serves as a moral compass within the individual and their relationships rather than a sense of obligation to external constraints.
Concentration of the Eightfold Path
Concentration, or Samādhi, is considered a higher level of meditation achieved by focusing on a single object. In this state, the mind is still and can observe without becoming one with the object of its focus. This allows the individual to gain valuable insight into the changing experience. Some schools teach of kammaṭṭhāna or the 40 objects of meditation. These include meditations on kindness, breath, earth, fire and various colors.
Achieving higher meditative states are an important part of Buddhism. These states are sometimes referred to as the four Dhyāna or Right Concentration. Once achieved, a practitioner will be free of unwholesome thoughts and desires and can obtain inner tranquility and unification of the mind.