In Buddhism, the eightfold path to end suffering involves eight elements of being that we must keep in our awareness. Those elements are right view, right thought, right concentration, right intention, right effort, right speech, right action, and right livelihood. Of course, if you do everything right, all the time, you won’t suffer.
Right, as opposed to wrong, is not the right meaning here. Here, right means without hinderance, direct, complete, as it is. The term right is translated from the Sanskrit word samyak. So, as we look at the eightfold path in English, with the word right, we already have some hinderance. Buddha didn’t speak in Sanskrit either, so there is some more hinderance. In speaking whatever language he spoke, Buddha was translating his experience into words, so there is even more hinderance there. Further hinderance comes as we try to apply the words to our experience. Trying to figure out how to follow this eightfold path and thereby ending our suffering is more important than getting the words exactly right.
We don’t even need to get the numbers right. If we get any of these right, it helps us. For example, if we have the right view, or an unobstructed view of the essential nature of life, then the rest of the path will fall into place. Our view is generally obstructed by our viewing apparatus, our self. When we can see around our self, to our Self, we have the right view. That view includes the self which is viewing, the act of viewing and the object that is viewed. That right view will likely be accompanied by a thought. It doesn’t matter what that thought is, if it is happening, it is the only thought we have and it will fill our experience. With right concentration, we can experience the thought as it is. Concentration takes effort. To Taoists the right effort is effortless, that is, without hinderance. If we make the right effort, in the moment, and our right intention is to convey that experience, then we can use right speech to accomplish that. Our words will be accompanied by an action, which will be right for the moment if our view, thought, concentration, effort, intention and speech are all rooted in our present experience. Finally, there is right livelihood. That is spending your life working on getting it all right.
The eightfold path is the Buddha’s prescription to end suffering. His enlightenment was experiencing the world directly, without hinderance. He wanted to teach everybody else how to get around their habitual way of thinking, acting, concentrating, living, speaking, viewing, trying and intending, which were continually getting in the way of recognizing things as they are. So he encouraged everybody to just do it all right.
The eightfold path is a large net with tiny mesh. We are constantly viewing, thinking, intending, trying, saying, doing, concentrating, and living, so some aspect of the path is always a part of our immediate experience. In any moment we can experience our life directly. In that moment it is not right or wrong. It is as it is. Right?