[Reference: The Fourth Noble Truth: Magga]
The path to Nirvana is neither through the pleasures of the senses, nor through self-mortification in different forms of asceticism. The path to Nirvana is through, the following actions.
1. Right Understanding (seeing a thing in its true nature, without name and label)
2. Right Thought (extended to all beings)
(a) Thoughts of selfless renunciation or detachment
(b) Thoughts of love
(c) Thoughts of non-violence
(B) Ethical Conduct
3. Right Speech
(a) Abstain from telling lies
(b) Abstain from backbiting and slander and talk that may bring about hatred, enmity, disunity, and disharmony among individuals or groups of people.
(c) Abstain from harsh, rude, impolite, malicious and abusive language.
(d) Abstain from idle, useless and foolish babble and gossip.
(e) Do not speak carelessly: speech should be at the right time and place.
(f) If one cannot say something useful, one should keep ‘noble silence’.
4. Right Action
(a) Abstain from destroying life, from stealing, from dishonest dealings, and from illegitimate sexual intercourse.
(b) Always aim at promoting moral, honorable and peaceful product.
(c) Help others to lead a peaceful and honorable life in the right way.
5. Right Livelihood
(a) Abstain from making living through a profession that brings harm to others, such as
Trading in arms and lethal weapons,
(b) Live by a profession which is honorable, blameless and innocent of harm to others.
(C) Mental Discipline
6. Right Effort (energetic will)
(a) To prevent evil and unwholesome states of mind from arising
(b) To get rid of such evil and unwholesome states that have already arisen within a man
(c) To produce, to cause to arise, good and wholesome states of mind not yet arisen
(d) To develop and bring to perfection the good and wholesome states of mind already present in a man.
7. Right Mindfulness (to be diligently aware, mindful and attentive with regard to)
(a) The activities of the body.
Be clearly aware of breathing
Whether it is deep or shallow
Of how it appears and disappears within the body
(b) Sensations or feelings.
Be clearly aware of all forms of feelings and sensations
Whether pleasant, unpleasant and neutral
Of how they appear and disappear within oneself
(c) The activities of the mind
Whether one’s mind is lustful or not, given to hatred or not, deluded or not, distracted or concentrated, etc.
All movements of mind, how they arise and disappear.
(d) Ideas, thoughts, conceptions and things
8. Right Concentration
One should know their nature
How they appear and disappear
How they are developed
How they are suppressed, and destroyed, and so on
(a) First Stage
Passionate desires and certain unwholesome thoughts like sensuous lust, ill-will, languor, worry, restlessness, and skeptical doubt are discarded
Feelings of joy and happiness are maintained, along with certain mental activities.
(b) Second Stage
All intellectual activities are suppressed
Tranquility and ‘one-pointedness’ of mind is developed
The feelings of joy and happiness are still retained.
(c) Third Stage
The feeling of joy, which is an active sensation, also disappears
The disposition of happiness still remains
Mindful equanimity remains
(d) Fourth Stage
All sensations, even of happiness and unhappiness, of joy and sorrow, disappear
Only pure equanimity and awareness remains
This path needs to be explained in different ways in different words to different people, according to the stage of their development and their capacity to understand and follow it. These eight categories or divisions of the Path are to be developed more or less simultaneously, as far as possible according to the capacity of each individual.
THE EIGHT-FOLD PATH TO NIRVANA