Bhutans religion | Buddha Shakyamuni | The teachings of Buddha | The Noble Eightfold Path

The Noble Eightfold Path

The Fourth Truth found expression in the »Noble Eightfold Path«.

The eight points of the path are not intended as commandments because the Buddha never set out any commandments. They should rather be seen as guides to enlightenment.


The sections of the path teach:


The right insight

This refers to the insight of the Four Noble Truths and the Four Wrong Views. Wrong views are those when someone looks for continuity in the changeable, for happiness in misery, for the being in non-being and for beauty in the ugly.

The right aspirations

Right aspirations lead to the renouncement of worldly involvements, to appreciation of all beings and to the non-damaging of all phenomena.

The right speech

The right speech should refrain from lying, gossiping, reviling and prattling. The value of language lies in leading people to good deeds.

The right conduct

Right conduct prohibits the killing of all beings, the taking of ungiven objects and excesses.

The right livelihood

Right livelihood can only be attained by people who have professions that do not harm anyone else. That prohibits dealing in weapons, living beings, meat, intoxicating drinks and poison. Butchers, hunters, fishermen, hangmen or jailers cannot follow the fifth path.

The right effort

The right effort leads to the repulsion of non-salutary and to the creation of salutary ideas. Keeping control of one's senses prevents one from clinging to the phenomena of the physical world. The one who follows this path does not show any emotional reactions to physical stimuli.

The right mindfulness

The right mindfulness renders all actions, including such subconscious ones like breathing or lying, into conscious ones. Such an awareness, also when thinking or sensing, controls the mind and preserves discipline.

The right meditational attainment

The right meditational attainment consists of four levels:
On the first level there is pondering and considerations of peace,
on the second level joy and happiness develop,
on the third level joy and happiness dissolve and give way to vigilance, equanimity and the persistence of happiness,
on the fourth level, finally, happiness and unhappiness disappear and pure equanimity and vigilance develop.

On this last level the insight of release becomes possible. It cannot be experienced by discursive reasoning, but must be attained intuitively. The one who meditates realises that the idea of the self is a deception. Through this insight he frees himself from the fetters of the self and thus also from the striving of being. He is free and released.

The Buddha taught this, for more than 40 years, to a rapidly growing group of followers in all of northern India, until his leaving into nirvana.

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Statue, bronze with painting; 17th century; H: 24 cm.; loan from the National Museum, Paro
The 16 Arhats* were the Buddha's first disciples who attained Buddhahood. Arhat Hashang is often represented with laughing children.

Statue, bronze with painting; 17th century; H: 24,5 cm.; loan from the National Museum, Paro
Arhat means »The one who defeated his (inner) enemies«. The Arhat* form the ideal examples for those who walk the path of enlightenment.