The Way Home: The Eightfold Path
The following is an except from Lama Tsomo’s book, Why is the Dalai Lama Always Smiling?
We now know that, since we’re made of Buddha Nature, we too can reach the end of all suffering, permanently. We can finally end our wandering and go back Home. For good.
The Buddha laid out the actual methods for us to achieve this goal. He taught thousands and thousands of verses, including the sutras and tantras. In their various ways they outlined and explained the knowledge and methods that lead to enlightenment. The whole of his teachings is what is meant by the word Dharma, the “path” for the followers of the Buddha. In Sanskrit, the word Dharma means “truth.” It also means “phenomena.” The homonym for the Tibetan word for Dharma—chö— means “to adjust” or “to correct.”
To give us more clarity about how to tread this path of liberation, the Buddha laid out eight aspects in his first teachings, like eight strands woven together to make a very strong rope. He called them the Eightfold Noble Path: Right View, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Conduct, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration.
If you’d like to explore this more, I highly recommend the piece “The Eightfold Noble Path” that a Western monk, Bhikkhu Bodhi, has written; he has written about the Noble Eightfold Path in a short online piece and as a more detailed book.
The Eightfold Noble Path is so foundational that I highly recommend that you read and contemplate it further. In general, these are all aspects of conduct that help us to tread the path of liberation from suffering, to perfect happiness that never ends. This, then, is the fourth Noble Truth—the Truth of the Path.