The Noble Eightfold Path has eight parts or factors:
1. Right understanding means to know and understand the Four Noble
2. Right attitude means to have three kinds of thoughts or attitudes:
(i) Thoughts of renunciation or an attitude of “learning go”.
(ii) Thoughts of goodwill to others, which are opposed to ill will.
(iii) Thoughts of harmlessness, as opposed to cruelty.
3. Right speech deals with refraining from falsehood, such as telling
lies or not telling the truth; tale-bearing or saying bad things about other people; harsh words and frivolous talk such as gossiping.
4. Right action deals with refraining from killing, stealing and sexual
5. Right livelihood deals with the five kinds of trade which should be
avoided in order to lead a noble life. They are: trading in arms (weapons),
living beings (breeding animals for slaughter), intoxicating drinks and
6. Right effort has four parts using meditation:
(i) To try to stop unwholesome thoughts that have arisen
(ii) To prevent unwholesome thoughts from arising.
(iii) To try to develop good thoughts
(iv) To try to maintain good thoughts that have arisen
7. Right mindfulness is also fourfold. It is mindfulness of the body,
mindfulness of feelings/sensations, mindfulness of thoughts passing
through the mind and mindfulness of Dharma.
8. Right concentration is one-pointedness of mind as developed in meditation.
These eight factors can be grouped into three smaller groups, as
a). Sila (morality)
right speech, right action, right livelihood.
b). Samadhi (concentrated mind in meditation)
right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.
c). Panna (wisdom)
right attitude, right understanding.
These three—morality, concentration and wisdom—are the three stages
on the path to mental purity whose object is nirvana. These stages are
described in a beautiful verse:
To cease from evil,
To do what is good.
To cleanse one’s mind:
This is the advice of all the Buddhas.