Sharon Salzberg – Metta Hour – Ep. 05 – The Eightfold Path


The Eightfold Path

Sharon is joined by her longtime friend, Raghu Markus, for a thoughtful and thorough discussion of the principles involved in the Buddhist teaching of the Eightfold Path, as well as how we can apply its core sentiments to our modern landscape. The Path begins with the basic recognition of our seamless connection to the world around us, and an evolving determination to avoid actions that we know will result in suffering. We discover our affinity toward intuitive action, and learn to incorporate that connection in all aspects of our lives.

Episode Outline:

Right Understanding – The beginning, which requires a basic sense of our cause-and-effect relationship to our environment
Right Thought – (Also thought of as Right Intention) – The beginning of the experiment – A determination to not act on thoughts that we know will cause suffering. Involves the witness component, to avoid getting lost. Intuitive action centered on discernment
Right Speech – We often incorporate the cultural tendency to criticize and dismiss others, rather than experimenting with our creative potential. A powerful tool of expression when used appropriately.
Right Livelihood – How does this translate to the myriad of individual circumstances in which we find ourselves? What we do on a daily basis will be consequential to our inner lives. This doesn’t require us to be superheroes but simply asks us to be kind to all those we encounter.
Right Action – Based on an understanding that our lives are seamless, and that our actions directly and profoundly affect our ability to manage our lives. Involves maintaining a balance in what we give and take – Taking action that promotes harmony.
Right Concentration – The way in which we bring these concepts to life – The ability to stabilize our intentions.
Right Effort – How do we know when we are truly putting in the work? We must recognize the difference between effort and method. Effort doesn’t require strain or judgment. Truth is ever present, and our task is to maintain an open and receptive attitude – ‘We have to remember to cup our hands
Right Mindfulness – Our perception, at any moment, can be free of distortion and bias (fears, projections). We learn to recognize the unnecessary ‘add-ons’, and choose to be with what is. When we aren’t constantly fighting our experience, we give ourselves the opportunity to learn and co-create.

Stuff from this episode:

Sharon’s Books:

Other Suggestions:

Photo via marukopum