Last Updated 13 Apr 2020

Wisdom, Morality, and Meditation

Category Meditation
Essay type Research
Words 1307 (5 pages)
Views 435

The Fourth Noble Truth is the Noble Eightfold Path, which is also referred to as “Magga. ” The Noble Eightfold Path essentially has three main parts: Wisdom, Morality, and Meditation. These three sections represent the eight sections of the Noble Eightfold Path. Wisdom is broken down into “Right View” and “Right Intention. ” Next, morality consists of “Right Speech,” “Right Action,” and “Right Livelihood. ” Finally, meditation consists of “Right Effort,” “Right Mindfulness,” and “Right Concentration. ” One may think that these eight parts must be followed in a specific order, however, all eight parts work mutually dependent of each other.

Right View is a part of Wisdom and, according to our class lectures, is the “Middle Way between eternalism and nihilism; the emptiness of all things. ” Right View distinguishes wholesome (beneficial) things from unwholesome (harmful) things. A few examples of unwholesome things from our class notes are: onslaught of living beings, taking what is not given, sensual misconduct, lying speech, divisive speech (idol speech), harsh speech, covetousness, and wrong view. The roots of unwholesomeness can be narrowed down to three things: greed and desire, hatred and anger, and ignorance and confusion.

Thich Nhat Hanh describes the importance of Right View and what it is within chapter 9. Right View is known as samyag drishti. TNH talks about how seeds are planted within our bodies, and everyone has them. I thought it was the coolest analogy when TNH taught of these seeds within our bodies. It seems like everyone has each kind of seed of all different traits, but it depends on whether or not those seeds are watered within our bodies. He says: If you live in an environment where your seed of loyalty is watered, you will be a loyal person.

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But if your seed of betrayal is watered, you may betray even those you love. You’ll feel guilty about it, but if the seed of betrayal in you becomes strong, you may do it. (TNH, 51) This is such an amazing statement because I am a fairly strong believer that you are the product of your environment. Most people do whatever the “status quo” is in their neighborhood and rarely does anyone make a big jump to do something drastically different. I feel like all people are created the same, at least mentally, and it is up to the upbringing to form how someone acts in life.

The reading of TNH’s chapter 9 discussed how it is up to the individual to decide which seed grows more than others within one’s body. In class we discussed how one can try to keep the seed of anger, for example, from growing. It is up to the individual to essentially stunt the seed of anger’s growth when one feels any possibility of anger coming in. While pushing the feeling of anger away, one should try to grow the seed of loving-kindness instead. Within my own life, I try to live by the idea of “killing people with kindness. ”

This is my third year as RA here on St. Bonaventure and when I confront a situation, I try to always be as nice as possible. There’s nothing better than when we are documenting a room for a violation, usually alcohol related, and being overly nice to them. They have no idea how to handle the niceness in the situation. It just makes the situation so much better in the long run. Most people act very mad and rude to us when they are being documented and they don’t expect us, the RA’s, to be nice to them, but when we are nice to them and don’t let their obscene “hate words” affect us, they don’t know what to do.

I feel like this could be a small example of growing my seed of kindness because I could get very angry about the students calling me hateful names for simply doing my job. Instead, I try to do what TNH said in Chapter 10, “…replace an unwholesome thought with a wholesome one by ‘changing the peg,’ just as a carpenter replaces a rotten peg by hammering in a new one. ” (TNH, 62) In this example of my RA duties, I replace the unwholesome thought of harsh speech with loving-kindness, compassion, and clarity (education) to why the students are being documented.

Discussing “Morality”, I read a part in which Kornfield was talking about his teacher, Maha Ghosananda (the Gandhi of Cambodia). Kornfield was telling how his teacher would teach the survivors of the 1975-88 genocide in Cambodia practices of compassion and loving-kindness for their own loss and that of others. He said, “You have lost so much. Now you know how precious everything is in this world. You must love again and let new things grow. ” (Kornfield, 81) This quote can be related to “Right View,” but more importantly the concept of compassion which is within “Right Conduct” or “Morality.

I absolutely love this quote because I feel like way too many people take their great lives for granted. I am sad to say that I am sometimes right in that category of people. I am always humbled so much when I meet someone who has endured a great amount of pain, or those who have already had cancer and are the same age as me. Right now, while at college I have two close friends who have already battled cancer and are now back at college. It makes me feel like I should be so incredibly thankful for the life that I have been blessed with.

Many times one can become attached to something that is not all that important. Meditation can resolve this. In chapter 12 of TNH, it talks about how we have become so efficient and able to talk to places on the other side of the planet, however, he also explains that people have a harder time with one-on-one interactions and speech nowadays. This is an example of becoming attached to technology instead of listening and speaking with people in person. When reading through Kornfield’s 24th chapter, I noticed the stories about Dipama Barua, one of the greatest meditators of the Theravada lineage.

They told of how she lost two out of three of her young children to illness and lost her husband due to a heart attack soon after. Most people would feel like there is no longer a reason to live after something like that, and she was one of those people. However, after a year of lying in bed full of grief, she started doing meditation and then eventually became a master of meditation. (Kornfield 382-384) Kornfield had gone to see Dipama and had such an encounter!

When he was leaving from seeing her, she touched him and said a 10 minute prayer in which he started to have a realization and see everything in a positive light. After this, he could not stop smiling at everything. (Kornfield 382-384) This encounter between Kornfield and Dipama reminds me of times that I feel like nothing can go right, but all it takes is seeing and talking to someone who you really like and respect. Then, after talking to this one person, you have a totally new positive outlook on life. This short story tells me that how you go through life is all about perspective.

This “halt” in life represents a meditation. Sometimes one has to take a break from their busy lives and just reflect on their life and spirituality. When I have done this in the past, it feels so incredibly rewarding to just take a break from things and reflect on how great life is. When one is thinking about the Noble Eight-Fold Path, one has to remember that all of the “Rights” link into each other. We need to be compassionate for others, practice loving-kindness, and embrace wisdom, morality, and meditation within our lives to better understand everything.

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Wisdom, Morality, and Meditation. (2017, Apr 04). Retrieved from

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