January 19, 2011


We are sure you guys have read it before on rebel8.com. Anyway, just wanted to post it here as last time we posted the part 1 and part 2 of it. Check it out, it's cool to read and have fun.

Part 3. Right Speech
Right Speech is the third aspect of the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path. It is also the first of three aspects that concern themselves with ethical conduct. Simply put, practicing Right Speech means that we only say things that we know to be factual and true, as well as beneficial and agreeable to others. We should never lie, nor exaggerate. We should not say one thing to one person and something different to another. And we should never use insulting or abusive words towards each other. I’m sure this all sounds simple enough, but in real life it’s not always so easy to practice Right Speech.
One of my teachers, Thich Nhat Hanh, relays this story when talking about Right Speech:
“Many people have to lie in order to succeed as politicians, or salespersons. A corporate director of communications told me that if he were allowed to tell the truth about his company’s products, people would not buy them. He says positive things about the products that he knows are not true, and he refrains from speaking about the negative effects of the products. He knows he is lying, and he feels terrible about it. So many people are caught in similar situations.”
For myself, the real test of Right Speech comes when I’m angry or frustrated. It’s in those moments that I need to understand my suffering and deal with it head-on. When I don’t deal with it, I explode and let it out on those around me, sometimes vocalizing in very unwise and hurtful ways. And that just creates more anger and frustration, something we certainly don’t need more of in this crazy world.

Part 4. Right Action
Right Action is the fourth aspect of the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path. It is the second of three aspects that concern themselves with ethical conduct. By practicing Right Action we are training ourselves to be morally upright, and we’re also being careful not to cause harm to others or ourselves through our actions. By practicing Right Action we begin to see how unwholesome actions lead to unwholesome states of mind, which perpetuate our day-to-day suffering.
Specifically, Right Action means that we abstain from harming or killing any living being (including ourselves), intentionally or otherwise. It also means that we don’t steal, commit fraud or be dishonest. Practicing Right Action is especially important in sexual matters. The Cunda Kammaraputta Sutta breaks it down further, stating that one should not get involved sexually with people “who are protected by their mothers, their fathers, their brothers, their sisters, their relatives, or their Dhamma; those with husbands, those who entail punishments, or even those crowned with flowers by another man.” Personally, I take that to mean that I don’t pursue women that are underage, women that still live with their families, or women that are in monogamous relationships.

Part 5. Right Livelihood
Right Livelihood is the fifth aspect of the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path. It is the third of three aspects that concern themselves with ethical conduct. By practicing Right Livelihood we are training ourselves to be careful not to cause harm to others or ourselves through our occupation. By practicing Right Livelihood we begin to see how unwholesome occupations can be creating much of our day-to-day suffering and the suffering of the people and animals around us.
The historical Buddha described four basic areas of harmful occupation. The first is the business of weapons. The second is business in human flesh, specifically the slave trade and prostitution. The third area includes any business in the flesh of animals, which includes raising animals for slaughter and butchery. The fourth area of unwholesome business deals with the manufacture and distribution of intoxicants, addictive drugs and poisons.
The practice of Right Livelihood is meant to be a guide to avoid things that bring suffering to ourselves and the living beings around us, but it’s up to us to articulate these teachings in our own lifestyle choices. For example, the citizens of the United States produce more weapons than any other nation on this planet. Weapons are big business in America. In 2009 the U.S. government spent $737 billion on “defense”. That’s nearly ¼ of the entire budget for the year and our tax dollars covered 85% of that budget. It is incredibly obvious to me that the weapons produced in this country are the source of immeasurable death and destruction in our own cities and the world over. For it to end, the individual citizens of this country must find the benefit in practicing Right Livelihood for themselves and stop working for weapons manufacturers (and stop paying federal income tax).
As another example, I think the Buddha would have considered the American prison system a “business in human flesh”. The United States incarcerates more of its citizens than any other country in the world and the 13th Amendment to the American Constitution explicitly allows for free labor from incarcerated citizens, even in privately owned facilities. Just like the slaves of any era, modern convicts are locked up and forced to work for no pay. It’s clear to me that the present system does not rehabilitate, it simply breeds hate and creates revenue. But in the end, the men and women working in the prison system need to find the benefit in practicing Right Livelihood for themselves before a damn thing will change. And I think it’s important to keep in mind that all of us as individuals need to stay out of jail so we’re not supporting their bullshit agenda too. As Joshy says, “Fuck the police.”
I think the Buddha made it pretty clear that eating a vegetarian diet should be a part of our practice of Right Livelihood as well. There is no doubt in my mind that animals feel pain and loss when they watch their own kind murdered. I know that the tears that pour from the eyes of a mother who’s lost a child are the same as the tears that pour from the eyes of a cow who’s seen its calf murdered to satisfy someone’s taste for veal. Every year in the United States, 9 billion birds (mostly chickens, turkeys and ducks) and 150 million cows are murdered for the taste of their flesh. The U.S. produces more flesh for consumption than any other nation on the planet, almost twice the production of the entire European Union. And again, the meat consumers, ranchers, hunters and factory farmers of this nation need to feel the benefits of practicing Right Livelihood for themselves before the senseless murder of our fellow creatures will ever end.
Regarding the 4th area of unwholesome occupation, I think the Buddha would have warned us about the pitfalls of the modern American medical system. It’s clear to me that our current medical system is run by huge pharmaceutical corporations like Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Merck & Co. and Abbott Laboratories. Their bottom line is profit, not long-term health. Many of the supposed “medicines” they push are addictive and intoxicating. They’re drug dealers, plain and simple. They don’t treat problems; they cover them up. I think it unwise to participate in such an obviously corrupt system, so staying healthy and out of the hospital has become an integral part of my practice of Right Livelihood.
As with any of this stuff I’m writing, you need to find the truth in the Eightfold Path for yourself by living it and breathing it and acting on it. How I practice Right Livelihood may be different from how you may practice it and that’s ok. We’re all unique individuals. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. So remember, be a player, not a fan. Follow your own path.

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