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Buddhist doctrine, stated by the Buddha in his first sermon near Benares, India. The path is regarded as the way for individuals to deal with the problems named in the Four Noble Truths. The path consists of right understanding (faith in the Buddhist view of existence), right thought (the resolve to practice the faith), right speech (avoidance of falsehoods, slander, and abuse), right action (abstention from taking life, stealing, and improper sexual behavior), right livelihood (rejection of occupations not in keeping with Buddhist principles), right effort (development of good mental states), right mindfulness (awareness of body, feelings, and thought), and right concentration (meditation). It is also called the Middle Path, because it steers a course between sensuality and asceticism. Following the Path leads to escape from suffering and attainment of nirvana.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Eightfold Path, visit Britannica.com.