I consider myself a secular Buddhist: I try to follow a modified Eightfold Path. Here is a list from the Wikipedia article on the Eightfold Path, edited to remove anachronisms or beliefs I otherwise don’t adhere to: mostly reincarnation, complete renunciation to the material (I think there is a more pragmatic middle way) and abstaining from sexual activities (which doesn’t make sense to me now we have birth control): my ethics.

  • Right View: Our actions and beliefs have consequences beyond us and after death. I see humanity as a cultural organism. My actions and beliefs, as they are seen and heard, might send ripples through history. This is true for everyone.

  • Right Resolve or Intention: the giving up of comfort to follow the path; this concept aims at peaceful renunciation, into an environment of non-ill-will (to loving kindness), away from cruelty (to compassion). Such an environment aids contemplation of impermanence, suffering, and non-Self.

  • Right Speech: no lying, no rude speech, no telling one person what another says about them.

  • Right Conduct or Action: no killing or injuring, no taking what is not given, no harmful sexual acts or material desires.

  • Right Livelihood: Only possess what is essential to sustain life and happiness; decide what is needed in life, and commit to give away the rest.

  • Right Effort: preventing the arising of unwholesome states, and generating wholesome states, the bojjhagā (seven factors of awakening). This includes indriya-samvara, “guarding the sense-doors,” restraint of the sense faculties. [to be reviewed, probably good].

  • Right Mindfulness (sati): being mindful of the dhammas (“teachings,” “elements”) that are beneficial to the right path. In the vipassana movement, sati is interpreted as “bare attention”: never be absent minded, being conscious of what one is doing; this encourages the awareness of the impermanence of body, feeling and mind, as well as to experience the five aggregates (skandhas), the five hindrances, the four True Realities and seven factors of awakening.

  • Right samadhi (Passaddhi; Ekaggata; sampasadana): practicing four stages of dhyāna (“meditation”), which includes samadhi proper in the second stage, and reinforces the development of the bojjhagā, culminating into upekkha (equanimity) and mindfulness. In the Theravada tradition and the Vipassana movement, this is interpreted as ekaggata, concentration or one-pointedness of the mind, and supplemented with Vipassana-meditation, which aims at insight.

I’m a beginner (at everything, really). I practice meditation.


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