Talk:Noble Eightfold Path

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Could someone explain the difference between 'the mind' and 'mental qualities' as described under 'Right Mindfulness'?

It's a very lengthy and in-depth topic, but a very basic distinction to make is that "the mind" is the perceiving/conceiving entity, while "mental qualities" are the perceptions/conceptions.
For instance, see the following site: There, it defines the mind "as a non-physical phenomenon which perceives, thinks, recognises, experiences and reacts to the environment". Later, it points out the so-called "51 Mental Factors", which include such things as intention, concentration, regret, ignorance, etc. These latter are, more or less, what is referred to in the phrase "mental qualities".
Hope this has been of some help. —Saposcat 11:24, 31 October 2005 (GMT +02:00)
Yes, that's wonderful.


Why quote most of the article from a text that is difficult to understand? I couldn't understand any of the points because of the unclear language. Why not explain the points? --MateoP 23:06, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

Strongly agreed. While it is a much longer article, that of the Judeo-Christian Ten Commandments does a better job of describing each item on its "list". My knowledge of the Eightfold Path is somewhat elementary, but I'm sure that there's someone out there that can put a CONCISE description of each item after its corresponding verse from the "Analysis of the Path" 20:12, 9 June 2006 (UTC) JD79 01:39, 23 June 2006 (UTC) (ex post facto signing - this still needs work, though!)
Hope my recent revisions (up to "Right mindfulness" and "Right concentration", whose distinctions are a goddamned doozy to explain in English) have cleared things up ever so little. —Saposcat 17:28, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

Equivelants in Other Religions?[edit]

I'm researching the Eight Fold path, I am wondering what some equivelancies in other religions would be? I don't feel like the 10 commandments are all that analagous to the 8 fold path, I have no idea about Muslim or Jewish equivalncies are, can anyone share some insight? It would probably be a nice thing to add to the page LilDice 19:38, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

AFAIK, There are no such equivalents. - Nearfar 01:13, 1 July 2006 (UTC)
Interesting, that's what I figured :) LilDice 23:31, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

I think there's a certain degree of guilt felt among many in the abrahamic religions today, maybe as a realization that the behaviours of extremists in the present and the mainstream in the past were (and are) pretty horrible. The tendency to look to other religions for equivalents serves a dual purpose: one, it justifies the thing being seen in multiple religions as something that, if not inherently true, must be inherently human; and two, it shows that the religion being compared to other religions can't be all that bad, and that there are redeemable qualities to it, namely, those qualities which resonate with other religions. It's also a tool used by extremists looking for converts. Early christians used to compare their faith to those of their neighbors, sometimes taking the gods of their neighbors religion and claiming that a saint equivalent to that god existed in christianity. Saints are clearly servants of the god, so therefore their neighbor's religion was reduced to the misplaced worship of one of the christian god's servants.

Buddhism eludes this mess, though, because it never focused on worshiping anyone. The christians tried to create a saint that had the qualities of Siddhartha, but they never presented much of a threat to Buddhism itself, since the central focus of Buddhism was never the worship of Siddhartha Guatama, but upon the use of the techniques he described to liberate the mind of the individual. It is impossible to compare the abrahamic religions to Buddhism, simply because they serve two altogether different purposes. One focuses inward (Buddhism's focus on the liberation of the mind), the other outward (the abrahamic religions' focus on staying on good terms with their god).

If you must compare Buddhism to anything, try the other religions from the region it sprang from. Jainism is a good one to use for comparison, as it has the same ultimate goal, but differs vastly from Buddhism in terms of what is seen as the way to get to that goal. Hinduism is also a good one to use, since that is what Buddhism sprang from. Also, consider the religions of China, such as Confucianism and Taoism. Wandering Star 01:53, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

'suffering' or 'stress'?[edit]

re: User:Rentwa's edit

Magga-vibhanga sutta says otherwise. - Nearfar 16:28, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

Do you have any points to make? Is the word you want represented in English as 'stress' the same word that is normally translated as 'suffering'? If so then presumably we should exchange every instance of the word 'suffering' in Buddhist articles to 'stress'.

As I said to the editor who originally made the change, I'm aware that various Buddhist scholars have suggested alternatives for 'suffering'. The current orthodox word in English is 'suffering'. Wikipedia represents orthodox views. It is not a place for debate on matters of orthodoxy.

The translation you cite is the work of an individual translator who chose the word 'stress' in this instance. Unless you can provide compelling evidence that original source meant 'stress' and not 'suffering' it should remain 'suffering'. Rentwa 17:03, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

What if we used Thanissaro's original with the word "stress"—which I, too, don't like as a translation, to be honest—but pointed out clearly in the preceding paragraph that he is using "stress" to mean "suffering" / "dukkha" (in a similar way to that with which I had originally pointed out he was using "view" instead of "understanding")? Apart from a few poor choices of words, Thanissaro's translation is otherwise largely good, I think, and worth using. Any thoughts on this proposal? —Saposcat 07:33, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

I disagree. The meaning is 'suffering', regardless of what the translation is. These matters are of a somewhat academic nature, and the typical reader is looking for a simple explanation, not an insight into the history of translation (regardless of how interesting we may find it). As per my talk page, I suggest that if we cannot find a source with 'dukkha' translated as 'suffering' then we include a looser translation in the body of the text and avoid mention of Thanissaro, or remove the text entirely. Rentwa 07:49, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

I've changed it back to the original version (plus a prefatory explanation about terminology used); now let me explain why.

For one thing, the quote is best as a block quote because it's a long one; that's the orthographical side of things.

More importantly, even though I, too, don't much like the word "stress" to translate dukkha, Thanissaro Bhikkhu perfectly fits the criteria for a reliable source, and so—until a different translation is found, or another quote that could explain as well as the one from the Magga-vibhanga sutta—there's no solid reason to remove it. Using brackets to replace "stress" with "suffering" simply makes the text ugly and severely impedes readability, so that's not a very good option, really.

Let's just keep that part the way it is until something better can be found. I have explained in the article that Thanissaro translates dukkha as "stress" rather than "suffering", so the reader knows what is being referred to. Let's avoid an edit war that leads to versions of the article that are less clear than the one currently in place, and instead work on finding a more à propos translation and improving the rest of the article. Cheers. —Saposcat 05:50, 12 September 2006 (UTC)

The "stress"/"suffering" translation dispute has been taken care of with reference to Rewata Dhamma's translation of the passage in question. —Saposcat 09:39, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

Some points[edit]

  1. 'Mind' and 'mindfulness' need to be distinguished explicitly and clearly in the article, possibly with the help of some basic commentary we can quote. Particularly confusing is the fact that 'mindfulness' has been used in the context of concentration (meditation) (not in this article as far as I can tell, but in the first section of mindfulness) and in the context of mindfulness (memory) (this article). This doesn't even deal with the use of mind in the sense of Buddha mind (original mind) and its use as in deluded mind.
  2. Terminology in general seems to be causing difficulties.
  3. The cognitive psychology may be useful to some readers in making sense of what is a difficult doctrine, but seems to be causing unecessary conflict. There is a strong case to be made for a section on 'Buddhism and/in Cognitive Psych.' or vice versa (if it doesn't exist already), since psychology is something which is familiar to english speakers and westerners generally.
  4. Generally the article seems to be showing the scars of various edit skirmishes (the last started by me :( ).

Rentwa 11:09, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

About those points ...
  1. There is, in this article, a certain amount of explanation as regards the use of the term "mind" in the context of "mindfulness". The notion of mindfulness as "memory" is not really discussed in this article, but rather, "memory" is just given as an alternative translation of the Pāli term sati. The notions of original mind and deluded mind are, admittedly, not discussed; that, however, is simply because the article still needs quite a bit of fleshing-out.
  2. Terminology may indeed be a problem; that's why the article needs, as just pointed out, some fleshing-out and explication.
  3. The cognitive psychology bit is not causing unnecessary conflict. It did for a bit, when it was first put into the article in a position prior to explanation of the Eightfold Path (which was nonsense), but since then it has stabilized and no one argues about it anymore. I think that it's actually quite a useful and interesting addition to the article. But I think the title should stay as is, because it's specifically discussing the Eightfold Path (and not all of Buddhism, which topic would require its own separate article along the lines of Buddhism and science) in relation to cognitive psychology.
  4. Actually, the faultlines in the article are not the result of edit wars (as, since I more or less rewrote the article from scratch, there have been only two of those—one yours, and the other the cognitive psychology one), but rather the result of the article's not really being "finished" and fully explicated yet.
Cheers. —Saposcat 11:09, 12 September 2006 (UTC)
My position is as follows:
1. Your general thrust that 'everything is OK' is wrong - the article's a mess as detailed above.
2. The article needs to be split into smaller seperate articles i) to clean it up ii) to make it simpler for a general readership and iii) to allow controversial teachings / translations / terminology to be dealt with in their proper context.
3. You are either POV pushing wrt Thanissaro or have been unduly influenced by his writings - these views are unorthodox and controversial and do not belong here. I quote from Thanissaro:
Many Westerners, when new to Buddhism, are struck by the uncanny familiarity of what seem to be its central concepts: interconnectedness, wholeness, ego-transcendence. But what they may not realize is that the concepts sound familiar because they are familiar. To a large extent, they come not from the Buddha’s teachings but from the dharma gate of Western psychology, through which the Buddha’s words have been filtered.
We don't need this filter here.
I'm not going to waste any more time arguing - I'm willing to work with you if you're willing to take my points on board, otherwise the article will have to go to arbitration. Rentwa 09:26, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
Unfortunately, you seem to have misunderstood a bit of what I said. I don't think that "everything is OK" with the article per se; however, like most Wikipedia articles, it is still in the process of being built, and this still-under-construction status ought to be taken into account in identifying where the article's problems lie (and if you gave more detail on exactly what you consider those problems to be, preferably quoting the article itself if possible, that would help greatly towards the article's eventual improvement).
When you say that "[t]he article needs to be split into smaller seperate [sic] articles", do you mean actual articles, or do you mean more sections of this article? I would probably agree with the latter, but I think that, if you mean actual separate articles, it would be good for us all to have some general idea of what sort of articles those might be.
As for Thanissaro, I am neither POV-pushing nor have I been unduly influenced (since I've read fairly little by the man). In fact, I have repeatedly stated that I disagree with his translation of dukkha; however, until a preferable translation of the text is found—because I believe the Magga-vibhanga sutta is a very useful addition to the article, as you have also stated that you believe it to be—it is better to keep it, I think. There is, please note, a clear proviso before the quotation about the word "stress" not being a standard translation.
The primary reasoning behind leaving Thanissaro's translation (for the time being, at least) is that, a) we currently have no other translation to go with; and b) he fits the criteria for Wikipedia:Reliable sources, however much you and I both may disagree with his translation.
I have taken your points on board as far as is reasonable within Wikipedia guidelines (the only real disagreement is Thanissaro's translation); I just think that some patience is required in order to deal with the issues that you rightly raise. Good Wikipedia articles, after all, take time to develop, and that is basically what is happening with this article. Cheers. —Saposcat 11:04, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

If you want to keep 'stress' with the note that it's normally translated otherwise that's ok as a temporary solution. You didn't give any justification, btw, that the translation with 'dukkha' was via Thanissaro, but I may have missed something obvious. For the sake of general readers, clarity and simplicity is vital. I counted at least three references to Thanissaro - given the thousands of comentators over the years and hundreds of existing commentaries that's a little disproportionate.

Further to that, these are comments on the talk page, not by general readers, but by editors, whom we may assume are generally better educated than readers:

'Could someone explain the difference between 'the mind' and 'mental qualities' as described under 'Right Mindfulness'?'
'Why quote most of the article from a text that is difficult to understand? I couldn't understand any of the points because of the unclear language. Why not explain the points?'

If editors are having these difficulties, what are general readers making of the piece? I'm not an advocate of dumbing down, but it's pointless trying to provide so much detail for novices.

I'd like to see a shorter piece, with an introduction mentioning the Four Noble Truths and if necessary a note on 'conditioning ones thoughts' (but from a reliable orthodox source and not overtly psychological) and simple / practical explanations, eg right speech - do not speak ill of others.

Each section could then contain a link to 'Commentary...' - whether these follow or are in seperate articles (my preference, but perhaps too small for wikipedia policy) or a seperate article on commentary is debateable. It depends on the shape of the article as a whole probably. This would be in line with the doctrine of tactfulness, incidentally.

The next problem is cognitive psychology. By all means have a 'see also' to 'cog. psy. and B' or vice versa, but the current subsection is unacceptable. Thanissaro's approach is controversial and does not justify its inclusion. I'll even help research the 'cog psy and B.' if that will appease you. Or a larger 'B and science', whatever.

Finally, an article on translation and terms is needed, starting with original Pali and Sanskrit and discussing meaning, practical application and the various translations into English (and possibly notes on the trends in translation).

So that's:

1 shorter and simpler main section
2 detailed explanations given full and proper treatment (at the end of introductory text or seperate article(s))
3 cognitive psychology moved to a seperate article
4 comprehensive notes on terms etc. in a seperate article

I know you've spent a lot of time on this, but it's trying to be all things to all men and needs an overhaul. Rentwa 13:52, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

I never wanted the note about the more standard translation to be anything but a temporary solution, until another translation—or another à propos text—is found and incorporated.
As for the translation that uses dukkha, if you read to the bottom of the page, there you'll see the following: "From Chanting Discourses and Samyutta Nikaya XLV.8 at the Access to Insight web site". If you follow the link to Samyutta Nikaya XLV.8, you'll see the Thanissaro text under dispute.
There are actually four references to Thanissaro, but they are all only translations (which can, admittedly, become a kind of commentary in itself) of the Magga-vibhanga sutta. While we would doubtlessly do well to find a translation that doesn't use "stress", I think the Magga-vibhanga sutta is an invaluable first reference insofar as it is (at least purported to be) the Buddha's words, and is the only in-depth, step-by-step explanation of the Eightfold Path that I know of in the Tipitaka (though I admit I haven't read the entire thing; it's quite massive, and often quite difficult).
You say that "it's pointless trying to provide so much detail for novices" ... I disagree. The detail is (or rather, can be) a very good thing; the important thing, as you rightly point out, is to try and make it clear to someone who couldn't tell the Buddha from a hole in the ground. While it would perhaps be well to sum up Right Speech as "do not speak ill of others", at the same time, I don't think that the Magga-vibhanga sutta's "Abstaining from lying, abstaining from divisive speech, abstaining from abusive speech, abstaining from idle chatter" is at all difficult to understand, and moreover it clarifies the different types of "ill speech" that should be avoided.
As for cognitive psychology, I admit it does seem a bit out of place (though it's quite interesting). A separate article (like Buddhism and psychology or something) would probably be a valuable addition, and the best way to go about the task. (Incidentally, I know nothing about the subject for the nonce, so I don't know if I could contribute much). By the way, in regards to the cognitive psychology section, you say, "Thanissaro's approach is controversial and does not justify its inclusion" ... but Thanissaro has nothing whatsoever to do with the section. The paper referenced is Gay Watson's.
Finally, I think that terminology could well be built up into separate articles (such as the already-existent article on Mindfulness), but this, of course, would take time.
I hope I've managed to address all the points you raised. If not, let me know, and I'll tackle the untackled ones. Cheers. —Saposcat 05:57, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
Yep, looks about right, you're right on the commentary for right speech, too I think. I'll get started on a seperate article on 'B and psy'. Like you I have RL infringing on WP at the moment, so it may be a week or two before I have time to begin. I could have read the section on right speech before wading in with both feet, too 8) . Rentwa 13:04, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
An article on 'B and psy' would be cool. +1. - Nearfar 07:36, 19 September 2006 (UTC)

Someone who followed the Noble Eightfold Path link, as I did, would find a mostly not-too-bad article about the subject, with a jarring and bizarre snippet at the end about cognitive psychology, as if that had anything to do with it. Who is Gay Watson and why on Earth should we care what he/she/it thinks about the intersection of Buddhism and cognitive psychology? The dozen lines from the Dhammapada aren't clearly part of some comment by Watson and aren't specific to the Noble Eightfold Path, it just looks like random-quoting-to-seem-authoritative. There's no link to Gay Watson -- because there's no Wiki page or author's praise-site or anything to link to. There is also no link to Wikipedia's cognitive psychology page, which of course does not mention Buddhism at all, but which does have a fairly extensive list of "influential cognitive psychologists" that Gay Watson is not on. There is also no link to the Wikipedia page on Buddhism, which not only does not mention Gay Watson, but also does not mention cognitive psychology, not surprisingly, since they are not related. Discussion about this oddity of the Noble Eightfold Path wikipage on the Talk:Noble_Eightfold_Path page has yet to result in removal of the offending blurb about what some obscure psychotherapist/author (it turns out she's female) thinks of the usefulness of Buddhist ideas in cognitive psychology.

I love Wikipedia, so I mean this in the nicest way possible, but it's a timesink I don't want to get sucked into. I'm sure as heck not an appropriate person to be officiating about Buddhism, but c'mon, this is common sense. *Please* delete that section. (talk)Leamur —Preceding undated comment added 22:15, 14 March 2009 (UTC).

Gender Neutrality[edit]

I reckon this article could do with some rewording to flow better using more sexually neutral language. Ie change all those (he/she)'s to they's and their's or other gender-neutral pronouns. - 08:09, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

Hi -
Thank you for identifying your changes as a matter of discussion here. I applaud your seeking consensus in this manner.
While I'm very sympathetic to the changes you desire, I have a few concerns about your changing them as you did. FWIW, I'd like to suggest that it might be best to revert back to the prior version (to maintain the article's coherence and intelligibility) and then let's have a discussion that could have a wide-ranging impact on WP's Buddhism articles (and other WP articles containing historical texts).
My concerns and basis for requesting that you revert your current changes is primarily that, in the quoted passage, the Buddha was directly addressing males (bhikkhaves, I suspect) and thus my personal preference would be to not change the words historically attributed to the Buddha. I realize that we all want to see the Buddha's vision presented in a universal way, to be meaningful to all. But there are other ways to go about it than to change his attributed words. For instance, a WP editor's text that surrounds the historical quote should be gender-neutral and promote gender equality. Also, commentaries from contemporary Dharma talks could model the inferred application of the Buddha's words to a gender-neutral audience.
A second matter is that the passage you changed is a direct quote from Thanissaro (1996). Thus, in the least, square brackets should be used when changing words.
Lastly, if I may also suggest, the use of "one" and "ones" might (??) be preferable to a singular "they" and "their" since the singular "they" and "their" is somewhat out-of-fashion (I've been told) although, admittedly, I go back and forth on this myself.
Just some thoughts. Welcome to WikiBuddhism! (And, if I may suggest, it might be helpful to others if you chose a Wikiname and let us know something of your experience, knowledge and interests. Thanks!) - LarryR 17:33, 22 October 2006 (UTC)


I think the punchline of the final section; As such, Buddhism can essentially be seen as mind cultivation and rehabilitation, is superfluous. I also think it is wrong.

Right vs. wrong; sequence[edit]

I'd like to introduce the Avijja Sutta (SN 45.1 or 44.1 [depending on which edition of the Pali Canon you're using] — the first discourse of the Magga-samyutta) into this article. Thanissaro (1997)'s translation can be found at and a Pali version (SLTP, n.d., the very first sutta [1.1.1]) is at The core of this sutta (per Thanissaro's translation) is:

The Blessed One said, "...In an unknowledgeable person, immersed in ignorance, wrong view arises. In one of wrong view, wrong resolve arises. In one of wrong resolve, wrong speech... In one of wrong speech, wrong action... In one of wrong action, wrong livelihood... In one of wrong livelihood, wrong effort... In one of wrong effort, wrong mindfulness... In one of wrong mindfulness, wrong concentration arises.
"...In a knowledgeable person, immersed in clear knowing, right view arises. In one of right view, right resolve arises. In one of right resolve, right speech... In one of right speech, right action... In one of right action, right livelihood... In one of right livelihood, right effort... In one of right effort, right mindfulness... In one of right mindfulness, right concentration arises."

I think this discourse is important for two reasons:

  1. Samma vs. miccha: It juxtaposes the word "right" (samma) with the word "wrong" (miccha) illustrating how, at least in the Pali canon, there is a clear indication of "right" (or "proper" or "perfect," etc.) and "wrong" (or "contrary," etc.) and that, for instance, there are such things as "wrong mindfulness" and "wrong concentration." (A similar clear comparison between samma and miccha can be found in SN 45.21-26 [Bodhi, 2000, pp. 1535-37], as well as AN 10.104.)
  2. Serial causation: It indicates that, at least for this discourse (as well as, e.g., AN 10.103), there is a serial connection between the factors: from right view arises right intent (or resolve, etc.) from which arises right speech, etc. I know many important contemporary interpreters (e.g., as indicated in the article, Rahula, and I seem to recall as well Lama Surya Das, Jack Kornfield and maybe even Joseph Goldstein) seem to reject SN 45.1's apparent notion of serial causality and I deeply respect these contemporary teachers' wisdom and dispensations; but, I also think it would be a service to WP readers to also reflect what the Pali canon itself states.

My inclination is to include this material in one of two ways:

  1. Endnotes: Frankly, this is the easier solution and, frankly, the less likely to cause conflict with other editors.
  2. New sections: For instance, move the existing intro paragraph starting, "Though the path is numbered one through eight..." to a new subsection entitled something like "Factor interdependency,'" then add the two above identified excerpted SN 45.1 paragraphs beside their Pali counterparts followed by the current statement by Rahula (perhaps supplemented by similar statements by Surya Das and Kornfield).

Might anyone else support or have concerns about these or alternate ways of introducing SN 45.1 into this article? Thanks for any feedback, Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 20:12, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

Upon further thought, I realized that there is no dissonance between the aforementioned canonical discourse's assertion that there is a linear causal sequence between path factors and contemporary writers/teachers advocacy that the path factors be (or can be) developed simultaneously. Simply because there is a linear relationship between factors does not mean that they have to be developed serially. (For me, an intuitive analogy is that a baseball player does not have to be a proficient hitter before practicing running the bases; otherwise, when one gets their first hit, they might not make it to first base :-) .)
At this time, after I've explored this topic a wee more in my own reading of the suttas, if no one objects then I'll likely do the following:
  • Wrong eightfold path: if I can't find any specifics beyond what's mentioned above, I'll likely stick this in a foot note; otherwise, if there is some further explanation about such (beyond what is already mentioned in the individual sections on samma factors), I might stick this in a subsection.
  • Serial arising: I'll likely stick this in a new subsection with the caveat (mentioned above) that serial causation does not necessarily suggest serial development (although there is the traditional view I've heard frequently mentioned that in Asian countries householders will first develop virtue before proceding to mental development....) Also, if it doesn't blatantly flaunt WP standards, I may toss in a sentence on how intuitively there can be a feedback mechanism where, for instance, right mindfulness can enhance right speech, etc.
It'll probably still be a week or so before I pursue this further. As always, any feedback is welcomed. Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 16:43, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
FWIW, I was reminded today during talks by Metta Foundation's Gregory Kramer and Gary Steinberg about the Maha-cattarisaka Sutta's (MN 117) (Thanissaro, 1997) identifying the manner in which "right view, right effort, & right mindfulness ... run & circle" the other path factors. This would thus provided at least one canonical basis for what I above simplistically referred to as a "feedback mechanism" involving mindfulness. (Perhaps as well someone will come across a sutta identifying, e.g., how right livelihood supports right speech and right action, etc.?) Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 04:00, 23 July 2007 (UTC)
Half a year later and no one's objected so I simply added a few lines indicating the above in the sections on "right view" and "right concentration." Cheers, Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 20:03, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

Proposed External Link Eightfold-L Yahoo Group[edit]

Eightfold-L Yahoo Group with over 1,000 researched posts on the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path Dhammapal 05:44, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

Right effort[edit]

I believe that the words good and evil in the simple English section should be changed to wholesome and unwholesome. After a bit of research I see it's translated either way, both in some. My problem is with the word evil since it has a much larger connotation in the west than simply being unwholesome. To illustrate my point, most people believe alcoholism to be unwholesome but I doubt many would call it evil. Calibas 00:31, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

One factor to consider might be to determine what the source scripture states. If you can identify what the source scripture is for the term being translated as "evil" or "wholesome" and if the scripture is part of the Pali literature, we can find the associated Pali text at La Trobe's on-line Pai Canon ( or at, etc., and then look at various traditional translations for the actual scriptural terms. Just a thought, Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 18:25, 19 September 2007 (UTC)
Hi Calibas (again!) - I'd just like to be a bit more explicit in my thoughts: both the words "unwholesome" and "evil" come up in the Pali Canon. Traditionally, the Pali term kusala is translated as "wholesome" or "skillful" (e.g., as suggested in part at this entry in the PTS Pali-English Dictionary [PED]: and akusala as its opposite ("unwholesome," "unskillful"); and, e.g., the Pali term pāpa is translated as "evil" or "wicked" (e.g., PTS PED entry: My very limited experience has been that the term akusala shows up more often -- at least as a so-called Buddhist "technical term" -- than pāpa; so, statistically speaking, I think you're on good ground to make the substitution (although, if I may, I wonder if the words "wholesome" and "unwholesome" are acceptable "simple English"?).
In addition, having taken a peek at the Simple English article on the Noble Eightfold Path, I see the word "evil" is used in the context of "Right Seeing" (as it says, or, as it is better known in English, "Right View" sammā-diṭṭhi). Again, while my knowledge on this topic is far from exhaustive, when I think of Right View and the terms "unwholesome" or "evil," I immediately think of the Sammādiṭṭhi Sutta (MN 9) in which the notion of akusala ("unskillful" or "unwholesome") (not pāpa, "evil") plays a central part. (See for example these translations by Thanissaro, 2005, and Nanamoli & Bodhi, 1991.)
So, in short, I think you might be on good ground for making the substitution you identify, but it would certainly make me feel better if I knew the source from which the original WP editor was drawing their word choice.
Hope this might help. With metta, Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 01:42, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

Buddhism & cognitive dissonance[edit]

It seems to me that the idea that "...the Noble Eightfold Path can be seen as rooted in what is called cognitive dissonance..." (seemingly added by an anonymous IP address) is, at best, "original research" (see WP:OR). For instance, based on a search for the words "cognitive" and "dissonance," the referenced Gay Watson article appears to make no mention of this or a synonymous term. (Did I miss something?)

Personally, I'm very sympathetic to and often delight in individuals finding meaningful resonance between Buddhism and Western psychology. However, to identify such theories in WP articles without sufficient justification in the literature can of course be misleading and, in my opinion, make WP somewhat laughable. Thus, unless someone can provide a citation for this association of Buddhism and cognitive dissonance, I would like to change the following current statement:

From the standpoint of modern cognitive psychology, the Noble Eightfold Path can be seen as rooted in what is called cognitive dissonance, which is the perception of incompatibility between two cognitions. In the essay "Buddhism Meets Western Science", Gay Watson explains this dissonance as it relates to Buddhist teaching:

to simply:

In the essay "Buddhism Meets Western Science", Gay Watson explains:

Any objections? (If so, thank you for educating me further!) Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 22:24, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

A quick check at Google Book Search reveals a book called Religious Motivation and the Origins of Buddhism: A Social-Psychological ...b y Torkel Brekke. There's a section about cognitive dissonance and Buddhism in there. It uses the example of the young prince leaving the walls of the palace and coming to the realization of suffering by seeing sickness, old age and death. It certainly could be argued that this cognitive dissonance (his previous life of privilege versus the suffering outside) is the beginning of his Enlightenment. Contrariwise, I can't find anything linking cognitive dissonance directly to the Noble Eightfold Path. Calibas 00:08, 20 September 2007 (UTC)
Calibas -- thanks for the quick, thoughtful and informative reply. Nice find! Perhaps one can even extrapolate from the archetypical example you cite (of the Buddha's first steps toward awakening) that most Buddhist converts probably convert due to "cognitive dissonance" between their belief system and their current reality (e.g., a death or other significant loss) ...? Like you indicate though, the citation you identified does not appear to readily support the article's current linkage. Kudos to you for your thoughtful search. Best regards, Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 01:19, 20 September 2007 (UTC)
It's been nearly three weeks and no one has raised any objection to the above suggested change; thus, I just implemented it. If anyone disagrees, please let's discuss it here first. Thanks so much, Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 17:18, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

Crossed out text[edit]

Why is the whole of Right Concentration, the eighth of the Eightfold Path crossed out? And some additional text below that as well? At least it is on my computer.

I've been visiting this page repeatedly for the past week. Am in the midst of a research project. There was no crossed out text on my last visit.

Kind regards, Morley Chalmers (talk) 21:43, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Vandalism — or, perhaps, the display of a quirky sense of humor by one who does not value this article as much as we do :-) It's been reverted. Best wishes, Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 23:28, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
This is why it's not a good idea to do real formal reasearch on wikipedia. It's vandalized too much. (talk) 19:05, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm well aware of the volatility of Wikipedia. Nevertheless I'm finding Wikipedia's Buddhism pages an excellent jumping off point for further research. For the most part the pages are free of sectarianism and special interests (freer than most). On that note, I notice someone has once again crossed out other sections on the Eightfold path. I suspect it's time to identify who the vandal is and take steps to bar them from this page. Morley Chalmers (talk) 19:41, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

Right Concentration on the Eightfold Path page[edit]

The quotation from the canon for Right Concentration is excellent, however I cannot find who the translator is. I'm asking because I want to quote it in a publication and need its exact source for attribution. Footnote 22 seems to suggest it's from Bhikkhu Bodhi, but I'm not so sure. It's definitely not from Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Where's it from? Someone's rewrite for Wikipedia?

For convenience, I'm quoting what's currently on Wikipedia's Eightfold Path page:

And what, monks, is right concentration?
(i) Quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unwholesome states, a monk enters in the first jhāna: rapture and pleasure born from detachment, accompanied by movement of the mind onto the object and retention of the mind on the object.
(ii) With the stilling of directed thought and evaluation, (he/she) enters and remains in the second jhāna: rapture and pleasure born of concentration; fixed single-pointed awareness free from movement of the mind onto the object and retention of the mind on the object; assurance.
(iii) With the fading of rapture, (he/she) remains in equanimity, mindful and fully aware, and physically sensitive of pleasure. (He/She) enters and remains in the third jhāna which the Noble Ones declare to be "Equanimous and mindful, (he/she) has a pleasurable abiding."
(iv) With the abandoning of pleasure and with the earlier disappearance of elation and distress...(he/she) enters and remains in the fourth jhāna: purity of equanimity and mindfulness, neither in pleasure nor in pain.
This, monks, is called right concentration[22].

Most likely it's from the Samyutta Nikaya 45.8. From Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation of the Samyutta Nikaya, page 1529, here's a taste of Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation of that segment.

...secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, a bhikkhu enters and dwells in the first jhana, which is accompanied by thought and examination, with rapture and happiness born of seclusion. With the subsiding of thought and examination, he enters and dwells in the second jhana, which has internal confidence and unification of mind, is without thought and examination, and has rapture and happiness born of concentration.

There are similarities and differences. A follow up on this would be appreciated.

Kind regards, Morley Chalmers (talk) 19:36, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

Hi Morley -
Based on this article's history page entries, it appears that the block quote in question is originally from Thanissaro's 1996 translation of SN 45.8 (found here at "Access to Insight": and was subsequently modified in an uneducated fashion.
The basis for this deduction is:
So, it appears that the current quote is simply inaccurate.
Hope this helps, Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 02:47, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
Hi Larry -
Much thanks, that does indeed help. Question: What can be done to keep the goofs off sensitive pages such as this without freezing out good edits. Tonight as I read about Google Knol I've stumbled on some commentary from former Wikipedia volunteer editors who have found the task of riding herd on their favourite Wikipedia pages requires increasing levels of time to improve the signal to noise ratio. I rarely do edits, haven't got into the habit. It strikes me frustrated Wikipedia editors will tend to migrate, which would be a shame. Just some thoughts. Morley Chalmers (talk) 00:42, 16 December 2007 (UTC)


On Feb. 25th[1], an anon user added text taken verbatim from a Buddhanet article. Here's the added text and associated Buddhanet text side by side:

The word Samma means 'proper', 'whole', 'thorough', 'integral', 'complete', and 'perfect' - related to English 'summit' - It does not necessarily mean 'right', as opposed to 'wrong'. However it is often translated as "right" which can send a less than accurate message. For instance the opposite of 'Right Awareness' is not necessarily 'Wrong Awareness'. It may simply be incomplete. Use of the word 'right' may make for a neat or consistent list of qualities in translations. The down side is that it can give the impression that the Path is a narrow and moralistic approach to the spiritual life [2]

The word Samma means 'proper', 'whole', 'thorough', 'integral', 'complete', and 'perfect' - related to English 'summit' - It does not necessarily mean 'right', as opposed to 'wrong'. However it is often translated as "right" which can send a less than accurate message. For instance the opposite of 'Right Awareness' is not necessarily 'Wrong Awareness'. It may simply be incomplete. Use of the word 'right' may make for a neat or consistent list of qualities in translations. The down side is that it can give the impression that the Path is a narrow and moralistic approach to the spiritual life.

I see a few problems:

  1. plagiarism - though the copied text has an appropriate in-line link to the Buddhanet article, the verbatim copied text is not in quotes giving the impression that the newly edit text is a summary of the referenced article, not a direct copy.
  2. possible copyright infringement - e.g., see WP:COPYVIO as well as GFDL-related material
  3. uncertain source - the article is written by a "John Allan" -- who is this person? what are his credentials? might he be asserting an unidentified POV?

Given these concerns, unless someone reasonably argues otherwise, I plan to integrate the above-identified information with information from the PTS Pali-English Dictionary's entry on sammā[3] and perhaps contrast it with micchā[4], as is done in a number of canonical discourses. Anyone have any concerns about my doing such? Thanks, Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 05:34, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

For the sake of expediency, to remove a possible WP:COPYVIO ASAP and given the sentence which currently precedes the above identified plagiarized text, I'll simply reduced the above text to an end note on the preceding sentence which currently reads:
In all of the elements of the Noble Eightfold Path, the word "right" is a translation of the word samyañc (Sanskrit) or sammā (Pāli), which denotes completion, togetherness, and coherence, and which can also carry the sense of "perfect" or "ideal".
The end note will read something like:
See, for instance, Allan (2008).
I'll then create an appropriate citation for Allan (2008) (that is, the plagiarized Buddhanet page) in the References section. If anyone disagrees, please note here. If anyone would like to incorporate the above referenced PTS PED or sutral material, please do so. Best, Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 14:51, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

Addition of personal blog to "External links" section[edit]

On 17:23, 21 March 2008, an anon user (User: added the following text to the "External links" section of this article:

  • The Buddha's Eightfold urgings to help us:
1. Restore our original authenticity of self-expression,
2. Restore the harmonious togetherness between all human beings,
3. Restore harmony and unity at all levels and in all aspects of existence:

One minute later, this self-promotional blog text was reverted by User:XLinkBot and the bot added a message to User talk: stating the reason for the revert including the following recommendation: "Please read Wikipedia's external links guideline for more information...."

On 21:09, 22 March 2008, User:Wim Borsboom then added the exact same text to this article. It should be noted that according to the blog whose link is inserted with this edit, Mr. Borsboom is the originator of the blog. His sole additions to WP thusfar has been his repeated insertion of this blog's link into this article. A scan of his blog (including its own end note) suggests that it is largely Mr. Borsboom's own re-hashing of information from this article. There is nothing authoritative about Mr. Borsboom's text. His on-line bio[5] (which one would hope might speak to his authority on this topic) simply states to whom he is married and where they live.

On 23:47, 22 March 2008, regular WP Buddhism editor User:Tdudkowski reverted the second inappropriate addition of this unsubstantial, unauthoritative, idiosyncratic blog material and link to his article.

On 01:38, 23 March 2008, User:Wim Borsboom "undid" (per the Edit Summary) User:Tdudkowski's reversion and left simply a link to his own blog as follows:

  • The Buddha's Eightfold Urgings - A contemporary specualive treatment?:

On 20:18, 23 March 2008, I deleted Mr. Borsboom's third attempt to add his blog to this WP page. I left the following Edit Summary:

/* External links: */ - per WP:ELNO #11, remove EL to blog (which appears to essentially idiosyncratically rehash this page's very own content))

One minute later, User:RyRy5 reverted my deletion of the blog link without identifying any reason for doing so in the Edit Summary or elsewhere. Given evidence of User:RyRy5's on-going contributions to WP (e.g., numerous edits, significant user page), I posted a query on his talk page asking that he help me understand the basis for his reverting my deletion of this blog material, in light of WP:ELNO #11 and User:Tdudkowski's prior reversion of similar information. While User:RyRy5 has made a variety of edits since my query, he has not responded to the query. Thus, I've brought this matter here.

Personally, besides the waste of time this is incurring, it frankly gives me little pleasure to enforce WP policy on this matter. Mr. Borsboom's apparently feeling inspired by the Dhamma is a wonderful thing and I applaud his desire to incorporate and disseminate Buddhism's teachings. But, as indicated by WP:ELNO #11 and common sense, WP is not the venue for such. If we were to add a link to every blog about every spiritual teaching, whether Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Sufi, etc., WP would quickly become overwhelmed by such links. For one to think that their blog "insights" are more worthy than all others seems grossly egocentric or perhaps naive. Thus, consistent with WP:EL, I am presently going to revert for a fourth time Mr. Borsboom's self-promotion of his own non-authoritative blog comments. Consistent with WP:CONSENSUS, if anyone disagrees with this, please discuss it here.

With metta,
Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 18:41, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

link to prior useful endnotes[edit]

In case others, in addition to myself, might be looking for useful endnotes that previously existed in this article and that have been inexplicably deleted without discussion, here's a link to a prior instantiation of this article that contained such: Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 20:54, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

is samadhi[edit]

"meditation", "mental discipline", "training of the mind" or "concentration"?--Esteban Barahona (talk) 21:22, 31 August 2008 (UTC)

The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary
Samādhi [fr. saŋ+ā+dhā] 1. concentration; a concen- trated, self -- collected, intent state of mind and meditation, which, concomitant with right living, is a necessary condition to the attainment of higher wisdom and emancipation.
Cologne Digital Sanskrit Lexicon: Search Results
samAdhi m. putting together , joining or combining with (instr.) La1t2y. ; a joint or a partic. position of the neck Kir. ; union , a whole , aggregate , set R. Hariv. Ragh. ; completion , accomplishment , conclusion Kum. ; setting to rights , adjustment , settlement MBh. ; justification of a statement , proof Sarvad. ; bringing into harmony , agreement , assent W. RPra1t. ; intense application or fixing the mind on , intentness , attention (%{-dhiM-kR} , `" to attend "') MBh. R. &c. ; concentration of the thoughts , profound or abstract meditation , intense contemplation of any particular object (so as to identify the contemplator with the object meditated upon ; this is the eighth and last stage of Yoga [lW. 93] ;
Sawadeekrap (talk) 06:59, 11 September 2008 (UTC)


Thank you to the many contributers and editors who have kept this page looking good.

I added "right conception" to the list of alternatives to the Right Intentions subcategory today. This definition is supported by a citation I left in the edit page. Please make any comment or change you intend, and i felt that this was an important shading of the derivation from the original Tibetan. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:15, 20 November 2008 (UTC)

Right Speech[edit]

Right Speech in the article refers to:

The Samaññaphala Sutta, Kevatta Sutta and Cunda Kammaraputta Sutta
The Abhaya Sutta

Maybe there are some other suttas to be mentioned.

Austerlitz -- (talk) 10:28, 3 May 2009 (UTC)

[6] "Let me quote from the Buddhist text the discourse on wholesome speech (subhasita sutta) in addressing a group of monks." For sure there is a connection between "right speech" and "wholesome speech".

Austerlitz -- (talk) 11:00, 3 May 2009 (UTC)


Three years later and the same problems remain - dukkha translated as 'stress' and still an note on Cognitive Psychology.

Regardless of byzantine academic rules on translation and wikipedia guidelines, I do not believe that the Buddha meant what we understand as 'stress' when he spoke about dukkha. I believe that he meant what we understand as 'suffering'. It is for this reason that 'stress' is wrong - it's not what the Buddha meant.

'Stress' as we understand it means a general low-level lack of well-being, generally understood to be caused by the hectic conditions of modern life - demanding jobs, long commutes, less nurturing family lives etc.

'Suffering', on the other hand encompasses all and every bad and unpleasant condition associated with being a sentient (ie unenlightened) being.

This is why I object to 'stress'. I don't think it's what the Buddha meant. And this is why it's wrong - it's not Buddhism.

And I object to the prominence of the note on Cognitive Psychology - to suggest (or even seem to suggest) that Buddhism is some early or primitive attempt at a theory of Cognitive Psychology is grossly insulting (to this Buddhist at least). It isn't - it's a practice to turn an ordinary sentient being into:

the Tathāgata, an Arhat, perfectly enlightened, perfected in knowledge and conduct, well gone, unsurpassed, knower of the world, leader, teacher of gods and men, the blessed or fortunate one (the ten epithets of a Buddha);

not someone who's visited a psychologist and is a little less miserable.

(the former Rentwa) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:15, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

I highly agree about the section on cognitive psychology. It simply does not belong here and its deletion is clearly long, long overdue. I would like to know why the primary editors of this page are allowing it to continue. What gives? Slarti42 (talk) 05:12, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

I just removed "stress" wherever I found it, leaving "suffering." The English word "stress" has more to do with actual or figurative tension or pressure, in my view, and does not correctly render "suffering" as used in Buddhist teaching.
While the article gives a source for the use of "stress," it appears that dukkha is translated far more often as "suffering." (see Dukkha#Meaning for a more complete discussion.) My own view, not backed up by any particular Buddhist scholarship, is that, in English, one may be subject to stress without necessarily suffering, and that it is suffering, not stress, which properly is at the core of the meaning of the Four Noble Truths. (p.s. added 18:54, 7 March 2010 (UTC))
I disagree that cognitive psychology is irrelevant here. What are the skandhas, anyway? Psychology does not merely have to do with "someone who's visited a psychologist and is a little less miserable" but is actually the study of the mind. See the connection? __ Just plain Bill (talk) 15:54, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

Magga or Marga[edit]

I think the words magga and/or marga should be mentioned in this article.

Magga is linked to this article. Marga is linked to the Four Noble Truths. Some consistency should be brought to those redirects as well.--1000Faces (talk) 15:55, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

How come the article did not include an exact translation?[edit]

Though "Noble Eightfold Path" is the popularly accepted translation, it actually translates to "Aryan Eightfold Path". The use of the word Aryan is significant to scholars of early India and the Vedas, so I've added the literal translation to the article.

Ariyo aṭṭhaṅgiko maggo // Ariyo = "Aryan" not "Noble"

Flygongengar (talk) 00:48, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

Great Aryan Myth[edit]

The first reference which I now delete is to "Great Aryan Myth" This can be found behind a paywall at JSTORE [7]. I have checked it. It nothing to do with the eightfold path and so a hoax.

buddhism and cognitive psychology[edit]

The section "Cognitive psychology" seems to be all from/about one person's point of view. Further, it seems to be referring to cognitive therapy rather than cognitive psychology (see: The study of mental processes as presented in the Abhidhamma would make a better comparison to/with Cognitive Psychology. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:36, 6 July 2014 (UTC)

Is it possible to somehow do both, to consider both perspectives? MaynardClark (talk) 18:38, 6 July 2014 (UTC)