Walking the middle path

After his awakening, which we celebrate on Buddha Purnima (May 25), the Buddha remained silent for some time, perhaps meditating on his insights and deepening in them. Then, seven weeks later, he made his way to the Deer Park at Sarnath, near Banaras, where for the first time he spoke about his realisation to five of his former ascetic companions. With this, according to Buddhist scriptures, the Buddha set the “wheel of dharma” in motion.
Part of that first sermon consisted of the “four noble truths”. These pithy statements contain the distilled essence of the Buddha’s understanding of the human condition. The first noble truth is the recognition of the inherent unsatisfactoriness of life, which causes us to suffer. This is not something to entertain oneself away from but to recognise it for what it is. What causes this unsatisfactoriness? According to the second noble truth, it is desire, or more appropriately, craving.
The more we crave pleasure and avoid unpleasantness, the more dissatisfied we are likely to be. Accordingly, the third noble truth says that a wholeness of being can be achieved through the cessation of craving and grasping. But how? By following the eight-fold path, says the fourth noble truth.
The eight-fold path might be considered the Buddha’s advice for “right” living. It includes having the right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. While it has become common to use “right” while describing the eight-fold path in English, the Pali word used by the Buddha was samma, which translates better as “balanced”.
So in effect, what he was asking us to do was bring various aspects of life in harmony with one another. This could be done by living in awareness, where every act was done consciously and therefore, “rightly”.
The eight-fold path to balanced living emanates from the attitude that has come to be known as Buddhism’s “middle way” approach to spiritual seeking and indeed, to life. It was probably inspired by the Buddha’s own experience of two extremes — indulgence in pleasure as a young nobleman, and self-inflicted hardship as an ascetic.
He is quoted in the Samyutta Nikaya, “Giving oneself up to indulgence in sensual pleasure; this is base, common, vulgar, unholy, unprofitable. Giving oneself up to self-torment; this is painful, unholy, unprofitable. Both these extremes the Perfected One has avoided, having found that it is the Middle Way which causes one to see and to know, and which leads to peace, to knowledge, to enlightenment.”
Walking the middle path, then, means spending every moment in awareness, with an open, at ease mind. Pain and pleasure, laughter and tears, all are to be imbued with the quality of mindfulness. Actions are to be skilful, expressive of a mind anchored in equanimity, in turn brought about by contemplation.

Post new comment

<form action="/comment/reply/234041" accept-charset="UTF-8" method="post" id="comment-form"> <div><div class="form-item" id="edit-name-wrapper"> <label for="edit-name">Your name: <span class="form-required" title="This field is required.">*</span></label> <input type="text" maxlength="60" name="name" id="edit-name" size="30" value="Reader" class="form-text required" /> </div> <div class="form-item" id="edit-mail-wrapper"> <label for="edit-mail">E-Mail Address: <span class="form-required" title="This field is required.">*</span></label> <input type="text" maxlength="64" name="mail" id="edit-mail" size="30" value="" class="form-text required" /> <div class="description">The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.</div> </div> <div class="form-item" id="edit-comment-wrapper"> <label for="edit-comment">Comment: <span class="form-required" title="This field is required.">*</span></label> <textarea cols="60" rows="15" name="comment" id="edit-comment" class="form-textarea resizable required"></textarea> </div> <fieldset class=" collapsible collapsed"><legend>Input format</legend><div class="form-item" id="edit-format-1-wrapper"> <label class="option" for="edit-format-1"><input type="radio" id="edit-format-1" name="format" value="1" class="form-radio" /> Filtered HTML</label> <div class="description"><ul class="tips"><li>Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.</li><li>Allowed HTML tags: &lt;a&gt; &lt;em&gt; &lt;strong&gt; &lt;cite&gt; &lt;code&gt; &lt;ul&gt; &lt;ol&gt; &lt;li&gt; &lt;dl&gt; &lt;dt&gt; &lt;dd&gt;</li><li>Lines and paragraphs break automatically.</li></ul></div> </div> <div class="form-item" id="edit-format-2-wrapper"> <label class="option" for="edit-format-2"><input type="radio" id="edit-format-2" name="format" value="2" checked="checked" class="form-radio" /> Full HTML</label> <div class="description"><ul class="tips"><li>Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.</li><li>Lines and paragraphs break automatically.</li></ul></div> </div> </fieldset> <input type="hidden" name="form_build_id" id="form-28a495bb64e657f3890fc4853e353171" value="form-28a495bb64e657f3890fc4853e353171" /> <input type="hidden" name="form_id" id="edit-comment-form" value="comment_form" /> <fieldset class="captcha"><legend>CAPTCHA</legend><div class="description">This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.</div><input type="hidden" name="captcha_sid" id="edit-captcha-sid" value="82342501" /> <input type="hidden" name="captcha_response" id="edit-captcha-response" value="NLPCaptcha" /> <div class="form-item"> <div id="nlpcaptcha_ajax_api_container"><script type="text/javascript"> var NLPOptions = {key:'c4823cf77a2526b0fba265e2af75c1b5'};</script><script type="text/javascript" src="http://call.nlpcaptcha.in/js/captcha.js" ></script></div> </div> </fieldset> <span class="btn-left"><span class="btn-right"><input type="submit" name="op" id="edit-submit" value="Save" class="form-submit" /></span></span> </div></form>

No Articles Found

No Articles Found

No Articles Found

I want to begin with a little story that was told to me by a leading executive at Aptech. He was exercising in a gym with a lot of younger people.

Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen didn’t make the cut. Neither did Shaji Karun’s Piravi, which bagged 31 international awards.