The Noble Eightfold path ( Ariya atthangika magga )
The best way to learn about the Noble Eightfold path is to read carefully the discourse Mahaacattaariisakasutta in Middle Length sayings. The following is a short description of the above eight extracted from Mahaasatipatthaana Sutta.
1) Right View
Right view is the knowledge of suffering, the knowledge of the origin of suffering, the knowledge of the cessation of suffering, and the knowledge of the way of practice leading to the cessation of suffering. That is, understanding the Four Noble Truths.
2) Right Thougtht
The thought of renunciation, the thought of non-malevolence, the thought of non-harming. This is called Right Thought.
3) Right Speech
Refraining from lying, refraining from slander, refraining from harsh speech, refraining from frivolous speech. This is called Right Speech.
4) Right Action
Refraining from taking life, refraining from taking what is not given, refraining from sexual misconduct. This is called right action.
5) Right Livelihood
The Ariyan disciple, having given up wrong livelihood, keeps himself by right livelihood.
6) Right Effort
Here a monk rouses his will, makes an effort, stirs up energy, exerts his mind and strives to prevent the arising of unarisen evil unwholesome mental states. He rouses his will ... and strives to overcome evil unwholesome mental states that have arisen. He rouses his will ... and strives to produce unarisen wholesome mental states. He rouses his will, makes an effort, stirs up energy, exerts his mind and strives to maintain wholesome mental states that have arisen, not to let them fade away, to bring them to greater growth, to the full perfection of development. This is called Right Effort.
7) Right Mindfulness
Here, a monk abides contemplating body as body, ardent, clearly aware and mindful, having put aside covetousness and dejection for the world; he abides contemplating feelings as feelings ... ; he abides contemplating mind as mind ... .; he abides contemplating mind objects as mind objects, ardent, dearly aware and mindful, having put aside covetousness and dejection for the world. This is called Right Mindfulness.
8) Right Concentration
Here, a monk, detached from sense desires, detached from unwholesome mental
states, enters and remains in the first jhana, which is with thinking and pondering,
born of detachment, filled with delight and joy. And with the subsiding of thinking
and pondering, by gaining inner tranquillity and oneness of mind, he enters
and remains in the second jhana, which is without thinking and pondering, born
of concentration, filled with delight and joy. And with the fading away of delight,
remaining imperturbable, mindful and clearly aware, he experiences in himself
the joy of which the Noble Ones say: "Happy is he who dwells with equanimity
and mindfulness", he enters the third jhana. And, having given up pleasure
and pain, and with the disappearance of former gladness and sadness, he enters
and remains in the fourth jhana which is of purity of equanimity & mindfulness
and he experiances neither pleasure nor pain. This is called Right Concentration.