Modern Application of Buddhism's Noble Eightfold Path

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The goal of Buddhism is to reach Nirvana and extinguish one’s flame. [1]The Noble Eightfold Path is the method of reaching Nirvana, thereby ending suffering caused by Samsara, the world of rebirth. An average person that does not have the goal of cessation can still benefit by taking the Noble Eightfold Path. The eight items discussed in the Noble Path can be interpreted in a non-Buddhist context simply as a means to improve one’s wellbeing. An individual can become a better all around person through proper wisdom, right conduct, and good concentration.

The first two items of the Noble Path are right views and right intention. Buddhist texts describe these items as the wisdom required to attain cessation.[2] This involves acquiring the mind set necessary to be a good person, and discovering unwholesome thoughts that do the opposite. An unwholesome thought that several people have is that wealth brings happiness. Money cannot buy happiness and this is why some of the richest people in the world are also some of the loneliest. Sakyamuni, the famous Buddha, was one of the first people to discover this. He was unhappy with his life of luxury and upper class and he decided to turn to poverty. Poverty does bring misery as Sakyamuni discovered, thus causing him to accept the middle way[3]. Sakyamuni made a very important discovery and it is important for people in modern society to make that same discovery. A person would improve their life by accepting the middle way and realizing that money is not everything. Other examples of right views and intention are having good underlying thoughts. This would involve uncovering any ill thoughts towards others, and avoid having them. Avoiding hatred towards others makes better people of everyone. Individuals would be better off spending less time hating others and choosing to see the good in others instead. Right views and right intention can be summarized as the knowledge required for making ethical...
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