Noble Tenfold Path?

Every Buddhist knows about the Eightfold Path. It is the path the Buddha described for us to lead us out of suffering. It is a set of guidelines, not a rigid set of laws to follow and it is important that we remember that.

I wasn’t aware until recently that there is another version, a tenfold path that is also described in the Pali Canon. The Tenfold Path is presented in the Mahacattarasika Sutta. It is the same as the Eightfold Path, but with two extra steps at the end.

The eightfold path, remember, is Right Understanding, Thought, Speech, Action, Livelihood, Effort, Mindfulness, and Contemplation.

The Tenfold version adds Right Knowledge and Right Liberation.

Right Knowledge means simply direct knowledge. An important part of the path is that seeing is believing. The Buddha said, “Don’t believe based on what you’re told, believe only based on your own experience and reason.” So, Right Knowledge means knowledge as opposed to blind faith. We follow the eightfold path, not because we are told to, but because we can clearly see the benefits of following it in our lives. Right Knowledge also represents knowing reality, not as we wish it to be, but as it truly is.

Right Liberation is enlightenment. According to the Buddha, when we have Right Knowledge, Right Liberation comes to us naturally.

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About Daniel Scharpenburg

Daniel Scharpenburg is an independent dharma teacher and Ch'an Adept living in Kansas City. He regularly gives teachings through the Open Heart Project. He also runs the Monday Night Zen Group at the Rime Buddhist Center. His writing has appeared in Lion's Roar, Patheos, Tattooed Buddha, and Elephant Journal. Daniel has taken Bodhisattva Vows and was transmitted the Caodong Ch'an lineage of Master Hsu Yun.

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