By Francisco, GGY 2019. See the full blog at https://mollyshaefox.wixsite.com/buddhism
My initial intention for this project was to explore lightly multiple aspects of Buddhism, but the Eightfold Path (EP) drew my attention far too much to just take a glance at the icing, I wanted as much of the cake as I could get. In the Eightfold Path (EP) I stumbled upon something I was looking for but didn’t expect to find while working on my Media Project. Before this adventure started (TBB) I knew one of my goals was to learn more about myself. The “why” to the ways I said and did things, the “how” to the changes I wanted and needed to see in myself before starting college, and the “where” do I want to see myself in the future. I consider Buddhism and the EP not as a religion and as rules to follow, but rather as a way of living and a guide to a deeper introspection in order to practice continuous self improvement. So let me share with you how my stumble allowed me to understand myself better and see who I wanted to be more clearly.
None goes above nor in front of the others. There is no order to be followed nor
instructions included. They must all be regarded as different parts of a single whole. It is for this reason that the symbol for Buddhism is a wheel with eight identical spokes, each which represents a part of the Eightfold Path. Furthermore, the eight facets are divided into three distinct sections; Wisdom, Ethical Conduct, and Concentration. Wisdom, Right View and Right Intention, could be considered as the pillar which causes introspection regarding the “Why”. It is from this specific section, from which I believe the modern day society has the most to learn from.
1) Right View
2) Right Intention
II. Ethical Conduct
3) Right Speech
4) Right Action
5) Right Livelihood
6) Right Effort
7) Right Mindfulness
8) Right Concentration
Buddhism incentivizes people to be reflective upon their ethics and morals, the principals of right and wrong that guide our actions, in order to be closer to the idea of living a good life and being a good person. As perfectly described in the book Buddhism for Beginners “Morality in the Buddhist sense is and expression of your willingness to give up your ego and its complicated games so you can be kind and noble towards others – not because you want something in return, or because it is the right thing to do, no. Its because acting that way is your true nature” So if Wisdom is the foundation of which morality is built, wisdom may therefore be thought of as the constitution which provides the guiding principles of which we can base our actions.
Right View, for me, is an invitation to judge everything. To see with a critical eye not only to everything I see, hear, and learn but also my own thoughts, feelings, and emotions (basically introspection). This means being aware of how the place where I grew up, the people who I surround myself and the experiences I’ve lived through, shape me and my judgment. This has been particularly challenging because realizing that comments passed of as “jokes” that I herd from close relatives and friends, have in fact negatively altered the way In which I view certain minorities makes me see people under a different light.
An extract from Buddhism for Beginners (BB)
” Right view means understanding that you are not your nationality, culture, political ideology, others’ expectations, nor what you think you want out of your life. If you define yourself in that way, then you will always be other from what you truly are. As such you become a victim of both yourself and others, as well as ever-changing circumstances.”
Well fuck. Throughout all my life, in multiple group and individual activities of “describe yourself” Ive been doing it wrong. This is where the introspection and strong will to not fall into the existential crisis must kick in. Once I’m striped of all this things what am I left with? Nothing came to mind. What if I am truly just a bunch of labels given for which I made no effort to earn? Keep it cool. I believe I have found a small part of who I TRULY am, but I wont share this with you know for I want you to do this activity and have no external influence in your path to figuring it out.
“As you question yourself, your thoughts, your feelings and motivations, however, there should be one guiding principle by which you should live your life until you get to the bottom of who you and what you really are – harm none, including yourself” – BB
Right Intention, requires personal thorough analysis of your thoughts and judging yourself. According to The Buddha there are three criteria in order for an intention to be a right intention.
1) The intention of renunciation
2) The intention of goodwill
3) The intention of harmlessness
In all three cases it is very easy and frequent to fool ourselves in order to claim that our intentions are right, but only you can truly know what is the motivator of your actions. The intention of renunciation is particularly interesting in modern day context, specially politically and socially. Renunciation refers to the noble action of doing something without expecting anything back. It is common to hear people doing good for the wrong reason, gaining power, gaining followers, or portraying themselves to the world as someone they are not. Im guilty of this and I admit it. Realizing is half part of the process, the other half is doing something about it.
Wisdom is here to help you understand yourself better. Understanding what motivates you and what happens in your head is fundamental while on the path to a healthy lifestyle. Thoughts lead to words which lead to actions. If you understand your thought better, words and actions will follow. As perfectly described in the book Buddhism for Beginners “Wisdom is the foundation for Ethical Conduct, Ethical Conduct is Wisdom in action, while concentration is what keeps the whole thing going.” Highly recommend this book, its free on kindle.