At Sāvatthī.

“Practitioners, I will teach and analyze for you the noble eightfold path. Listen and pay close attention, I will speak.”

“Yes, sir,” they replied. The Fortunate One said this:

“And what is the noble eightfold path? It is right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right samadhi.

And what is right view? Knowing about misfortune, the origin of misfortune, the cessation of misfortune, and the practice that leads to the cessation of misfortune. This is called right view.

And what is right intention? It is the intention of renunciation, good will, and harmlessness. This is called right intention.

And what is right speech? Avoiding speech that’s false, divisive, harsh, or nonsensical. This is called right speech.

And what is right action? Avoiding killing living creatures, stealing, and sexual activity. This is called right action.

And what is right livelihood? It’s when a noble disciple gives up wrong livelihood and earns a living by right livelihood. This is called right livelihood.

And what is right effort? It’s when a practitioner generates enthusiasm, tries, makes an effort, exerts the mind, and strives so that bad, unwholesome qualities don’t arise. They generate enthusiasm, try, make an effort, exert the mind, and strive so that bad, unwholesome qualities that have arisen are given up. They generate enthusiasm, try, make an effort, exert the mind, and strive so that wholesome qualities that have not arisen do arise. They generate enthusiasm, try, make an effort, exert the mind, and strive so that wholesome qualities that have arisen remain, are not lost, but increase, mature, and are fulfilled by development. This is called right effort.

And what is right mindfulness? It’s when a practitioner abides observing an aspect of the body—keen, aware, and mindful, rid of desire and aversion for the world. They abide observing an aspect of feelings—keen, aware, and mindful, rid of desire and aversion for the world. They abide observing an aspect of the mind—keen, aware, and mindful, rid of desire and aversion for the world. They abide observing an aspect of experience—keen, aware, and mindful, rid of desire and aversion for the world. This is called right mindfulness.

And what is right samadhi? It’s when a practitioner, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome qualities, enters and remains in the first absorption, which has the rapture and bliss born of seclusion, which is accompanied by thought and investigation. As thought and investigation are stilled, they enter and remain in the second absorption, which has the rapture and bliss born of samadhi, with internal clarity and confidence, and unified mind, without thought and investigation. And with the fading away of rapture, they enter and remain in the third absorption, where they abide with equanimity, mindful and aware, personally experiencing the bliss of which the noble ones declare, ‘Equanimous and mindful, one abides in bliss.’ Giving up pleasure and pain, and ending former happiness and sadness, they enter and remain in the fourth absorption, without pleasure or pain, with pure equanimity and mindfulness. This is called right samadhi.”


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This work by Bhikkhu Sujato, revised by Jay Forrest is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Based on a public domain work at https://suttacentral.net/. Please reference it as: R-Sujato.

For more information: https://jayforrest.org/r-sujato-translation-explained/