“Disciples, I will teach you the Noble Eightfold Path and analyze it for you. Listen and attend closely as I speak.” “Yes, venerable sir,” they replied. The Buddha then said:
“And what, disciples, is the Noble Eightfold Path? Right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.
I. “What is right view? Knowledge of disappointment, knowledge of its origin, knowledge of its cessation, knowledge of the path leading to its cessation. This is right view.
II. “What is right intention? Intentions of renunciation, non-ill will, and harmlessness [These are antidotes for two of the Three Poisons, namely, greed, hatred, and delusion. The instant antidote to delusion is mindfulness, which does not involve thinking, judging, or evaluating but unelaborated awareness]: This is called right intention.
III. “What is right speech? Abstaining from false speech* [bearing false witness, perjury, bias favoritism], abstaining from malicious speech, abstaining from harsh speech, abstaining from useless speech. This is called right speech.
IV. “What is right action? Abstaining from the depriving beings of life, abstaining from taking what is not given, abstaining from sexual-misconduct**: This is called right action.
V. “What is right livelihood? Here a noble disciple, having abandoned a wrong mode of livelihood, earns a living by some honest means. [At a minimum this involves abstaining from five kinds of business: trade in weapons, human trafficking, butchering or transporting animals for slaughter, drugs, or poisons. It also means avoiding any profit making activity that means breaking any of the Five Precepts.] This is called right livelihood.
VI. “What is right effort? Here [in this Dharma] one generates zeal for the non-arising of unarisen unwholesome states; one makes effort, rouses energy, applies mind/heart, and strives. One generates zeal for abandoning unwholesome states that have arisen....generates zeal for the arising of wholesome states that have not yet arisen.... One generates zeal for the continuation of arisen wholesome states, for their non-decline, increase, expansion, and fulfillment by development. One makes an effort, rouses energy, applies mind/heart, and strives. This is called right effort.
VII. “What is right mindfulness? Here, one dwells examining [not "thinking" about or evaluating] the body in the body, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed longing and dejection with regard to the world. One dwells examining sensations in sensations [pleasant, neutral, or unpleasant], ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed longing and dejection with regard to the world. One dwells examining mind in mind: clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed longing and dejection with regard to the world. One dwells contemplating phenomena in phenomena [defined specifically in the discourse on setting up the Four Foundations of Mindfulness], ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed longing and dejection with regard to the world. This is called right mindfulness.
VIII. “What is right concentration [samadhi]? Here, secluded [withdrawn, aloof, apart] from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states of mind, a meditator enters into and dwells in the first absorption, which is accompanied by applied and sustained attention, with rapture and happiness born of seclusion [turning the mind/heart inward]. With the subsiding of applied and sustained attention, one enters and dwells in the second absorption, which has internal confidence and unification of mind, is without [the continuous effort of] applied and sustained attention, and has rapture born of concentration. With the fading away as well of rapture, one dwells equanimous and, mindful and clearly comprehending, one experiences happiness with the body; one enters and dwells in the third absorption of which the Noble Ones [those who have achieved any of the stages of enlightenment] declare: ‘One is equanimous who dwells happily.’ With the abandoning of pleasure and pain, and with the previous passing away of joy and dejection, one enters and dwells in the fourth absorption, which is neither painful nor pleasant and includes the purification of mindfulness by equanimity. This is called right concentration” (SN 45:8; V 8-10).
**SEXUAL MISCONDUCT: "Sexual intercourse with those protected by mother, father, parents, brother, sister, relatives, spouse, the law, or with those engaged, or promised in youth. The same applies to encouraging others to engage in misconduct" (AN X.206).