The Discourse giving the Analysis of the Topics


19. The Noble Eightfold Path

Herein, monastics, what is the noble eightfold path?

It is as follows:

  1. Right view,
  2. right thought,
  3. right speech,
  4. right action,
  5. right livelihood,
  6. right endeavour,
  7. right mindfulness,
  8. right concentration.

19.1 Right View

Herein, monastics, right view is what?

There is this world, there is the next world, there is (an obligation towards) mother, there is (an obligation towards) father, there is a gift, there is an offering, there is the fruit and result of deeds well done and badly done, in this world and the next, there are in the world those who have practiced and attained correctly.

This, monastics, is right view, the opposite of wrong view.

19.2 Right Thought

Herein, monastics, right thought is what?

It is virtue and generosity that ripen in Buddhahood and so on, not (those) that ripen in Universal Monarchy and so on.

[This, monastics, is right thought.]

19.3 Right Speech

Herein, monastics, right speech is what?

Here, monastics, it is the avoidance of rough, lying, malicious and frivolous speech.

This, monastics, is said to be right speech.

19.4 Right Action

Herein, monastics, right action is what?

It is the performance of ten types of wholesome deeds by way of body, speech and mind.

  1. Herein, bodily it is threefold: refraining from killing a living creature, from taking what has not been given, from sexual misconduct.

  2. Verbally it is fourfold: refraining from lying, malicious, rough and frivolous speech.

  3. Mentally it is threefold: refraining from coveting, ill-will and wrong view.

    1. Herein, killing a living creature is what?

      There is a living being, a sentient being, and a murderous thought arises, and he makes an approach and takes its life. This, monastics, is said to be killing a living creature. Except it is not killing a living creature when done through heedlessness or without perception.

      This is said to be killing a living creature.

    2. Herein, taking what has not been given is what?

      Having a thieving mind he takes what has not been given and makes another’s property his own. Except it is not taking what has not been given when one procures a small amount, that presents no obstacle, from mother, father, brother, kin or friend’s property.

      This is said to be taking what has not been given is what.

    3. Herein sexual misconduct is what?

      Enjoying others’ women, whether under the protection of lord, king, mother, father, it is (also) bad practice after going to the wrong place, or at the wrong time.

      This is said to be sexual misconduct.

    Bodily it is threefold.

    1. Lying is what?

      When asked to bear witness as it really is he speaks an untrue word, a lie, such as when not an Arhat one says one is an Arhat, except in jest.

      This is said to be lying.

    2. Malicious (speech) is what?

      Breaking up (others) with a word that is true or false, that is malicious (speech).

      This is said to be malicious (speech).

    3. Herein rough (speech) is what?

      Pronouncing a word that is unfavourable with the intention to cause suffering for another is rough (speech). With the understanding that there is misfortune and suffering for him, making pronouncement of a word that is unfavourable, that is rough (speech).

      This is said to be rough (speech).

    4. (iv) Frivolous (speech) is what?

      It is as follows: Talk about kings, talk about thieves, talk about wars, talk about drink, talk about gambling, talk about women, or talk that is talk about stories.

      This is said to be frivolous (speech).

    Verbally it is fourfold.

    1. Herein, coveting is what?

      Coveting and desiring another’s property for his own, (thinking:) may whatever property there is be mine.

      This is said to be coveting.

    2. Herein, ill-will is what?

      Thinking of pressurising, cutting off or taking the life of another.

      This is said to be ill-will.

    3. Herein wrong view is what?

      There is no this world, there is no other world, and so on as before.

      This is said to be wrong view.

    [Mentally is threefold].

This, monastics, is right action.

19.5 Right Livelihood

Herein, monastics, right livelihood is what?

A monastic is (1) scheming, (2) ingratiating, (3) hinting, (4) extorting, and (5) longing for gain upon gain.

  1. Herein scheming is what?

    A monastic, having seen a benefactor, after crossing his legs, sits down in an empty place along the path: (thinking:) There will be gain and respect for me (if they think:) This meditating monastic is an Arhat.

    This and so forth is said to be scheming.

  2. Herein ingratiation is what?

    Here a monk in order to get gains and respect (says): You are my mother, you are my father, you are my sister, you are my daughter, and speaks these and other loving words.

    This and so forth is said to be ingratiation.

  3. Herein hinting is what?

    A monastic, having eaten his almsfood, repeatedly says: Almsfood like this is not found in other devotees’ houses. If spoken with a mind free from (wanting) gains or respect, it is not a fault.

    This is said to be hinting.

  4. Herein extorting is what?

    A monastic, who does not receive almsfood at a house, desiring that it be given, says this in that place: Those who don’t give go to the underworld, you are certainly one of those who don’t give, and will reappear in the underworld. Out of fear and fright of the underworld they present almsfood, and he receives and enjoys it.

    This is said to be extorting.

  5. Herein longing for gain through gain is what?

    A monastic, from his own wealth purchases beautiful robes and shows them to devotees (saying): We receive such woven garments. They, being shamed, present such garments and he enjoys them.

    This, monastics, is said to be longing for gain through gain.

This is the monastics’ wrong livelihood, [refraining from it is called right livelihood.]

Here, monastics, is wrong livelihood for a devotee:

Selling poison, selling weapons, selling living beings, selling alcohol, selling meat, and, without having inspected (first), pounding sesame and mustard seed (and so on) is wrong livelihood, abstaining from it is right livelihood.

This, monastics, is right livelihood.

19.6 Right Endeavour

Herein, monastics, right endeavour is what?

Here, monastics, correctly performing one’s duties such as worship, homage, rising and respectful salutation.

This, monastics, is said to be right endeavour.

19.7 Right Mindfulness

Herein, monastics, right mindfulness is what?

Here, monastics, [a monastic] having seen a woman, and passion having arisen, sees as it really is the unattractive nature of the body on the outside and the inside (reflecting), there are in this body:

Hairs of the head, body hairs, nails, teeth, filth, skin,
flesh, bones, sinews, nerves, kidneys,
heart, spleen, pleura, upper stomach, food,
intestines, mesentery, stomach, liver, excrement,
tears, sweat, spit, mucus, grease, synovial fluid,
marrow, fat, bile, phlegm, suppuration,
blood, skull, brain, excrement, urine (and that it is) full of manifold impurities.

This, monastics, is right mindfulness.

19.8 Right Concentration

Herein, monastics, right concentration is what?

The four absorptions.

  1. Here, [monastics,] a monastic quite secluded from sense desires, secluded from unwholesome things, having thinking, reflection, and the happiness and rapture born of seclusion, dwells having attained the first absorption.

  2. With the stilling of thinking and reflection, with internal clarity, and one-pointedness of mind, being without thinking, without reflection, having the happiness and rapture born of concentration, he dwells having attained the second absorption.

  3. With the fading away of rapture he dwells equanimous, mindful, clearly knowing, experiencing happiness through the body, about which the Noble Ones declare: He lives pleasantly, mindful, and equanimous, he dwells having attained the third absorption.

  4. Having given up pleasure, given up pain, and with the previous disappearance of mental well-being and sorrow, without pain, without pleasure, and with complete purity of mindfulness owing to equanimity, he dwells having attained the fourth absorption.

These, monastics, are the four absorptions.

This, monastics, is right concentration.

This, monastics, is the noble eightfold path.