Now we know that the Noble Eightfold Path can be simplified into 3 – morality, stillness and wisdom. So we think oh, we do a little bit of good here, meditate a bit there and read a book to develop our wisdom.
That’s not how the Noble Eightfold Path works. Doing all those things is good, but it’s not enough – because it’s too sporadic, disjointed and incohesive to have much effect- so each of the 8 factors of the path can’t develop enough power. And that’s why almost no one gets anywhere these days.
I was reading some writings of Ajahn Pannavaddho – the most senior western disciple of Ajahn Maha Boowa (who was considered an enlightened Arhat of our recent times). He writes with such authority that it seems as if he himself has personally gone through this – as he seems to be speaking from direct experience.
And he says that the Noble Eightfold Path is like this:
By “Right” – we mean “Perfect”.
So we need:
- Perfect moral virtue (Sila) – perfect speech, perfect actions and perfect livelihood
- Perfect peace of mind (Samadhi) – perfect effort, perfect mindfulness and perfect stillness
- Perfect wisdom (Prajna) – we need to view things from a perfect perspective with perfect intention
And what happens is that we need to develop each of these 8 factors individually (until they are pretty much perfect) such that they reach a sufficient level of power within us. Each of these factors don’t work in isolation, but if 1 factor gets better it also raises the other factors too and vice versa. So each of the factors mutually support each other.
And once ALL the factors have gather enough power within you, all at the same time – then what happens is that they SIMULTANEOUSLY converge at a point to form a bridge – a Noble Eightfold Pathway to Nirvana to enable you to glimpse Nirvana – and that’s what Stream Entry (the 1st of 4 stages of the Enlightenment of an Arhat) is all about.
Once you have seen for yourself what enlightenment is all about – you will see the absolute necessity of having moral virtue. There will no longer be any doubt – you will have an unshakeable certainty about what the Buddha was talking about.
And this convergence of all the factors of the Noble Eightfold Path – will become a bridge that you can use to cross over from this side (Samsara) to the other side (Nirvana).
You guys should all read what he has to say on p257 Here: