In my post the Fourth Noble Truth I discussed how to overcome suffering by following the Eightfold Path. The Buddha wanted us to have a way forward instead of just letting life happen to us. The Eightfold Path is the way, and guides our practice. Each of these precepts deserves an explanation because they are not always what they seem on the surface. In this post I want to focus on Right Views. The path is as follows:
- Right Views (understanding)
- Right Intent
- Right Speech
- Right Conduct
- Right Livelihood
- Right Effort
- Right Mindfulness
- Right Concentration
To be honest I write about the Eightfold Path as much as a way to reinforce my own knowledge, as it is to share with you. I wrote the Eightfold Path on my white board in my office as a way to keep myself focused on my own practice. It acts as a reminder to me every time I walk into that room.
Right View is to see the world as it really is, not as we wish to see it. Often times Right View is also interpreted as Right Understanding. It is almost impossible to follow the path if we perceive the world in an unrealistic fashion. From a personal perspective we cannot view it as all bad or good, for this would be deceiving our-self. Look around you there is evil in the world, suffering, pain, and many problems too numerous to list. Conversely there is opportunity, charity, compassion, and love that surrounds us. Right View helps us see the world as it is, not through rose colored glasses, but for what it really is. We can then use this Right Understanding to set the stage for our practice. The Buddha did not want us to go through life without understanding the reality of our existence and others in this world. I wanted to share a few examples examples of not having the Right View:
- All politicians are all self centered, egotistical beings, that do nothing for society.
- The world is a safe place, and there is nothing to fear.
- The majority of people in the world are self serving, ignorant, uncaring individuals motivated only by greed.
- Your future is predestined at birth and you have no control over the present or future.
Are any of these examples actually true? Right View will allow you to see things as they are, not in some absurd generalization. One bit of advice I have if you would like to begin moving in the direction of having a Right View, and it would be to stop watching so much news on the television. Watching CNN, MSNBC, FOX, and even local news provides a prescribed view of the world that does little to help you understand reality. I recently quit watching the news and instead now have more time for writing, reading, and viewing YouTube videos where the focus is on learning. Most of the news media focuses disproportionately on the negative, which can only lead to wrong views.
My next post will be about Right Intent. Please share how you are working towards obtaining right understanding in your life.