The Beginner's Guide to Walking the Buddha's Eightfold Path
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“Writing a ‘nuts and bolts’ guide that is genuinely wise, charmingly conversational, and a pleasure to read requires a particular talent, and Jean Smith has proved once again that she has it.”—Sylvia Boorstein, author of Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There
The third of Jean Smith’s Beginner’s Guides focuses on the Buddha’s Eightfold Path—the concepts central to practicing the Buddha’s teachings in daily life. The eight steps on the path are: right understanding, thought, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and concentration. Smith explains exactly what the Buddha had in mind, using translations of his own words and then elucidating them for us. Throughout the book are wonderful quotes from a broad range of Buddhist teachers, giving a taste of the very best each of them has to offer. The Beginner’s Guide to Walking the Buddha’s Eightfold Path is a prescription for happiness, not just for overcoming suffering, which is how many people think of Buddhism. Here is a book for Buddhists of every tradition.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
universal. We all seek happiness, but whenever we become attached to things we believe will bring us happiness, suffering eventually arises because those things are impermanent. When some people first encounter this teaching, they assume that Buddhism must be quite gloomy—but only if they have never seen the infectious smile of the Dalai Lama, who observed in Compassion and the Individual: Now, when you recognize that all beings are equal in both their desire for happiness and their right to
things separately. The friend may want company to go to a movie or concert but does not want to ask and risk being rejected. In any case, when we are subjected to angry speech, we can usually end the situation by listening—really listening—rather than reacting. Listening can be a compassionate, loving form of right speech. But there are also other ways in which “silence is golden.” Silence May Be Golden— or Silence May Be Yellow The Buddha described a number of conditions—truthfulness and
into the room and put one chair in the center. Take the seat in the center of the room, open the doors and the windows, and see who comes to visit. You will witness all kinds of scenes and actors, all kinds of temptations and stories, everything imaginable. Your only job is to stay in your seat. You will see it all arise and pass, and out of this, wisdom and understanding will come.” IN PRACTICE People begin meditating for many reasons—to lower their blood pressure, relieve stress, make them
until it goes away—or moves somewhere else. If you absolutely cannot stand it, stay with it a moment longer—and then make a small bow to the pain or itch and change your position with clear intentionality, rather than just reacting immediately to the aversive stimulus. (If you are doing Zen meditation, you should check with your teacher to see if this response is all right, because the basic Zen approach is to sit without moving through anything that arises.) Sloth and Torpor The state of
Pali; the central documents in Theravada (“Teaching of the Elders”) Buddhism perfections (paramitas in Sanskrit) ten accumulated forces of purity within the mind: generosity, morality, renunciation, wisdom, energy, patience, truthfulness, resolution, lovingkindness, and equanimity. Siddhartha Gautama spent thousands of years, lifetime after lifetime, perfecting these qualities until he came to buddhahood. precepts Buddhist guidelines for living a life of nonharming. For laypeople, the Five