Discuss the importance of the 8 Fold Path as a means to Enlightenment. -Covers the three divisions as well as briefley Enlightenment and Nirvana

Essay by polster1A-, October 2002

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To begin we will first explore what Enlightenment actually is. It is the ultimate goal in the life of a Buddhist; it is the end of suffering and the cycle of samsara. When you have attained enlightenment you still live but with an awareness of the cause of suffering (Dukkha) so that you do not experience it, an example is that an enlightened Buddhist can still enjoy good food and drink, but without the craving that causes it to become a cause if suffering to another un-enlightened individual. There is no time limit on becoming enlightened you can have as long (or as short) as you need. Everybody needs help and guidance to follow the path to enlightenment and this is where the 8-fold path comes in. The eight-fold path is rather like a set of friendly directions. It isn't a set of orders or directions but rather a suggestion to make the path easier to follow.

The Eight-fold path is all part of the Buddha's teaching, as are 4 Noble Truths. The 4 Noble Truths are the products of following the Middle way, which is neither the life of an ascetic or a hedonist, but rather a sensible lifestyle. The First Truth is that there is something fundamentally wrong with life (as suffering is constant), the Second Truth deals with the cause of this dissatisfaction, which is our own craving (tanha). The Third Truth is the Buddha's message that we can eliminate the suffering by cutting out the craving. The Fourth Truth is a practical guide to help us bring about the Third Truth and end our cravings. It is also known as the Eight fold Path. This Eight fold Path of the Middle Way is a blue print for a Buddhist seeking enlightenment to follow in order to...