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Overview of the Buddha’s Path

October 8, 2013

Q: Is it possible to give a succinct overview of the Buddha’s path that will be helpful to those trying to understand it?

The Arahant: Yes, of course.

Radiant Wheel.009

The process of Dependent Origination is the Flood, and this is covered by the First and Second Noble Truths. The Noble Eightfold Path is the Raft, and this is covered by the Third and Fourth Noble Truths. All being is a process of becoming; however, the Noble Eightfold Path is a special process of becoming that ends further becoming. I don’t think the Buddha’s teaching could be stated more succinctly than that and still remain useful for people today.

There exist numerous interesting and useful relations between and among the stages of Dependent Origination and the Noble Eightfold Path. First of all there is a correspondence between the stages across the wheel from one another. In other words, there is an affinity between the stage of Ignorance in the process of Dependent Origination, and Faith in the Noble Eightfold Path. This is true of the other stages as well.

There is also a horizontal relation between them. For example, if through our practice we are able to arrest the process of Dependent Origination at the stage of Contact, we immediately find ourselves at Wisdom Sight on the Noble Eightfold Path, and can realize the coveted Eye of the Teaching. The earlier we can arrest the progression of Dependent Origination, the higher we find ourselves on the Noble Eightfold Path.

These affinities exist because Dependent Origination and of the Noble Eightfold Path are both processes of becoming. But since Dependent Origination begins from Ignorance, it develops towards Suffering; while the Noble Eightfold Path, beginning from Faith and Right View, delivers us to the cessation of suffering, Nibbana.


From → Q&A

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