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가입일: 2015-01-30, (금) 10:13 pm
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Chapter .5. The fourth noble truth: "Magga": The Path

The Fourth Noble Truth is that of the Way leading to the Cessation of
Dukkha. This is known as the 'Middle Path'(majjhima Patipada), because it avoids
two extremes: one extreme being the search for happiness through the pleasures of
the senses, which is 'low, common, unprofitable and the way of the ordinary people';
the other being the search for happiness through self-mortification in different
forms of asceticism, which is 'painful, unworthy and unprofitable'.
Having himself first tried these two extremes, and having found them to be
useless, the Buddha discovered through personal experience the Middle Path
'which gives vision and knowledge, which leads to Calm, Insight, Enlightenment,
Nirvana'.
This Middle Path is generally referred to as the Noble Eightfold Path (Ariya-
Atthangika-Magga), because it is composed of eight categories or divisions: namely,
1. Right Understanding(Samma dittha),
2. Right Thought (Samma sankappa),
3. Right Speech(Samma vaca),
4. Right Action(Samma kammanta),
5. Right Livelihood(Samma ajiva),
6. Right Effort(Samma vayama),
7. Right Mindfulness(Samma sati),
8. Right Concentration(Samma samadhi).
Practically the whole teaching of the Buddha, to which he devoted himself
during 45 years, deals in some way or other with this Path. He explained it in
different ways and in different words to different people, according to the stage of
their development and their capacity to understand and follow him. But the essence
of those many thousand discourse scattered in the Buddhist Scriptures is found in
the Noble Eightfold Path.
It should not be thought that the eight categories or divisions of the Path
should be followed and practiced one after the other in the numerical order as given
in the usual list above. But they are to be developed more or less simultaneously, as
far as possible according to the capacity of each individual. They are all linked
together and each helps the cultivation of the others.
These eight factors aim at promoting and perfecting the three essentials of
Buddhist training and discipline: namely: (a) Ethical Conduct (Sila), (b) Mental
Discipline (Samadhi) and (c) Wisdom (Panna). It will therefore be more helpful for a
coherent and better understanding of the eight divisions of the Path, if we group
them and explain them according to these three heads.
Ethical Conduct (Sila) is built on the vast conception of universal love and
compassion for all living beings, on which the Buddha's teaching is based. It is
regrettable that many scholars forget this great ideal of the Buddha's teaching, and
indulge in only dry philosophical and metaphysical divagations when they talk
and write about Buddhism. The Buddha gave his teaching 'for the good of the many,
for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world'.
According to Buddhism for a man to be perfect there are two qualities that
he should develop equally : compassion(karuna) on one side, and wisdom (panna) on
the other. Here compassion represents love, charity, kindness, tolerance and such
noble qualities on the emotinal side, or qualities of the heart while wisdom would
stand for the intellectual side or the qualities of the mind.
If one develops only the emotional neglecting the intellectual, one may
become a goof-hearted fool ; while to develop only the intellectual side neglecting
the emotional may turn one into a hardhearted intellect without feeling for others.
Therefore, to be perfect one has to develop both equally. That is the aim of the
Buddhist way of life : in it wisdom and compassion are inseparably linked together,
as we shall see later.
Now, in Ethical Conduct (Sila), based on love and compassion, are included
three factors of the Noble Eightfold Path: namely, Right Speech, Right Action and
Right Livelihood. (Nos. 3, 4 and 5 in the list).
Right speech means abstention (1) from telling lies, (2) from backbiting and
slander and talk that may bring about hatred, enmity, disunity and disharmony
among individuals or groups of people, (3) from harsh, rude, impolite, malicious and
abusive language, and (4) from idle, useless and foolish babble and gossip. When
one abstains from these forms these forms of wrong and harmful speech one
naturally has to speak the truth, has to use words that are friendly and benevolent,
pleasant and gentle, meaningful and useful. One should not speak carelessly :
speech should be at the right time and place. If one cannot say something useful, one
should keep 'noble silence'.
Right Action aims at promoting moral, honourable and peaceful conduct. It
admonishes us that we should abstain from destroying life, from stealing, from
dishonest dealings, from illegitimate sexual intercourse, and that we should also
help others to lead a peaceful and honourable life in the right way.
Right Livelihood means that one should abstain from making one's living
through a profession that brings harm to others, such as trading in arms and lethal
weapons, intoxicating drinks, poisons, killing animals, cheating, etc., and should live
by a profession which is honourable, blameless and innocent of harm to others. One
can clearly see here that Buddhism is strongly opposed to any kind of war, when it
lays down that trade in arms and lethal weapons is an evil and unjust means of
livelihood.
These three factors (Right Speech, Right Action and Right Livehood) of the
Eightfold Path constitute Ethical Conduct. It should be realized that the Buddhist
ethical and moral conduct aims at promoting a happy and harmonious life both for
the individual and for society. This moral conduct is considered as the indispensable
foundation for all higher spiritual attainments. No spiritual development is possible
without this moral basis.
Next comes Mental Discipline, in which are included three other factors of
the Eightfold Path : namely, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness(or Attentiveness) and
Right Concentration.(Nos. 6,7 and 8 in the list).
Right Effort is the energetic will (1) to prevent evil and unwholesome states of
mind from arising, and (2) to get rid of such evil and unwholesome states that have
already arisen within a man, and also (3) to produce, to cause to arise, good and
wholesome states of mind not yet arisen, and (4) to develop and bring to perfection
the good and wholesome states of mind already present in man.
Right Mindfulness(or Attentiveness) is to be diligently aware, mindful and
attentive with regard to (1) the activities of the body (kaya), (2) sensations or feelings
(vedana), (3) the activities of the mind (citta) and (4) ideas, thoughts, conception and
things (dhamma).
The practice of concentration on breathing (anapanasati) is one of the wellknown
exercise, connected with the body, for mental development. There are
several other ways of developing attentiveness in relation to the body - as modes of
meditation.
With regard to sensations and feelings, one should be clearly aware of all
forms of feelings and sensations, pleasant, unpleasant and neutral, of how they
appear and disappear within oneself.
Concerning the activities of mind, one should be aware whether one's mind is
lustful or not, given to hatred or not, deluded or not, distracted or concentrated, etc.
In this way one should be aware of all movements of mind, how they arise and
disappear.
As regards ideas, thoughts, conceptions and things, one should know their
nature, how they appear and disappear, how they are developed, how they are
suppressed, and destroyed, and so on. These four forms of mental culture or
meditation are treated in detail in the Satipatthana-sutta(Setting-up of
Mindfulness).
The third and last factor of Mental Discipline is Right Concentration leading
to the four stages of Dhyana, generally called trance or recueillement.
In the first stage of Dhyana, passionate desires and certain unwholesome
thoughts like sensuous lust, ill-will, languor, worry, restlessness, and sceptical doubt
are discarded, and feeling of joy and happiness are maintained, along with certain
mental activities.
In the second stage, all intellectual activities are suppressed, tranquility and
'one-pointedness' of mind developed, and the feelings of joy and happiness are still
retained. In the third stage, the feeling of joy, which is an active sensation, also
disappears, while the disposition of happiness still remains in addition to mindful
equanimity. In the fourth stage of Dhyana, all sensations, even of happiness and
unhappiness, of joy and sorrow, disappear, only pure equanimity and awareness
remaining.
Thus the mind is trained and disciplined and developed through Right Effort,
Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration.
The remaining two factors, namely Right Thought and Right Understanding
go to constitute Wisdom.
Right Thought denotes the thoughts of selfless renunciation or detachment,
thoughts of love and thoughts of non-violence, which are extended to all being. It is
very interesting and important to note here that thoughts of selfless detachments,
love and non-violence are grouped on the side of wisdom. This clearly shows that
true wisdom is endowed with these noble qualities, and that all thoughts of selfish
desire, ill-will, hatred and violence are the result of a lack of wisdom - in all spheres
of life whether individual, social, or political.
Right Understanding is the understanding of things as they are, and it is the
Four Noble Truths that explain things as they really are. Right Understanding
therefore is ultimately reduced to the understanding of the Four Noble Truths. This
understanding is the highest wisdom which sees the Ultimate Reality.
According to Buddhism there are two sorts of understanding: What we
generally call understanding is knowledge, an accumulated memory, an
intellectual grasping of a subject according to certain given data. This is called
'knowing accordingly' (anubodha). It is not very deep. Real deep understanding is
called 'penetration' (pativedha), seeing a thing in its true nature, without name and
label. This penetration is possible only when the mind is free from all impurities and
is fully developed though meditation.
From this brief account of the Path, one may see that it is a way of life to be
followed, practised and developed by each individual. It is selfdisciple in body,
word and mind, self-development and selfpurification. It has nothing to do with
belief, prayer, worship or ceremony. In that sense, it has nothing which may
popularly be called 'religious'. It is a Path leading to the realization of Ultimate
Reality, to complete freedom, happiness and peace through moral, spiritual and
intellectual perfection.
In Buddhist countries there are simple and beautiful customs and ceremonies
on religious occasions. They have little to do with the real Path. But they have their
value in satisfying certain religious emotions and the needs of those who are less
advanced, and helping them gradually along the Path.
With regard to the Four Noble Truths we have four functions to perform: The
First Noble Truth is Dukkha, the nature of life, its suffering, its sorrows and joys, its
imperfection and unsatisfactoriness, its impermanence and insubstantiality. With
regard to this, our function is to understand it as a fact, clearly and completely
(parinneyya).
The Second Noble Truth is the Origin of Dukkha, which is desire, 'thirst',
accompanied by all other passions, defilements and impurities. A mere
understanding of this fact is not sufficient. Here our function is to discard it, to
eliminate, to destroy and eradicate it (pahatabba).
The Third Noble Truth is the Cessation of Dukkha, Nirvana, the Absolute
Truth, the Ultimate Reality. Here our function is to realize it (sacchikatabba).
The Fourth Noble Truth is the Path leading to the realization of Nirvana. A
mere knowledge of the Path, however complete, will not do. In this case, our function
is to follow it and keep to it (bhavetabba).


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