Buddha’s Eightfold Path to the Cessation of Suffering

Buddhism addresses human suffering as a consequence of excessive desire, aversion, and delusion. Buddhist practice suggests a path to the cessation of suffering by developing wisdom, compassion, and kindness.
The path is depicted by the DHARMA wheel with its eight spokes:
- Right SPEECH, right ACTION, and right LIVELIHOOD - The genuine intention to be a decent person AKA “Do no harm.” Ethical conduct relieves disturbing and delusional thinking, too.
- Right UNDERSTANDING and right THOUGHT This is about seeking the truth and gaining insight into the true nature of things, such as the law of cause & effect, or Karma – Meanwhile, one has the chance to develop wisdom.
- Right CONCENTRATION and right MINDFULNESS Practice meditation regularly and develop the mind – seeking compassion and loving kindness. Remember, there’s A Higher Power and another reality beyond the physical.
- The eighth category is EFFORT to dedicate your life to the formula LOVE-SERVE-REMEMBER.
This is it, the path to awakening and liberation … and it may not look too desirable if you’re in search for a quick fix for a chaotic life… suffering from depression & anxiety, and self-medicating with alcohol & drugs.
However, we find that the pursuit of happiness breeds suffering, while the spiritual path leads out of the labyrinth of self-obsessed misery.
We may over-identify with memories and think that past events and past actions define us, but who we are and what we are is an extension of a Higher Power, which created us. An untamed mind produces a delusional view of reality – we perceive threats, and try to conquer demons, which only exist in our minds. Based on imaginary drama, we create continuous suffering for ourselves and others. Then we reduce our life to seeking pleasure and trying to avoid the vicious cycle of pain we brought about. This is how we create consequences to our own thoughts in the form of destructive behaviors such as procrastination, defiance, aggression, addiction, and other ways of acting out, such as the all-time favorite, blaming others for everything that doesn’t go our way.
As long as we annihilate ourselves and obliterate reality in the frantic pursuit of fun and delusion – our life has no meaning. Let us not forget that we are free to change and learn and make new choices as long as we live. Even though we have memories, we don’t have to succumb to the momentum of habit – at least not all the time. A life worth living requires the courage to endure discomfort, implement positive change whenever possible – and offer compassion and kindness. When we seek the truth and make ourselves useful, we develop some self-esteem in the process and we get to experience some contentment, too. That is THE MIDDLE PATH of enlightenment – to create inner balance and serenity.
“Happiness is a by-product of living the right kind of life, of doing the right thing. Do not search for happiness, search for right living and happiness will be your reward.” – Richmond Walker, Twenty-Four Hours a Day