The Eightfold Path Inside Christianity: Points 1 and 2

The first part of the Eightfold Path is Right Understanding. “Right understanding” means knowing the Four Noble Truths. It refers to the subjective understanding that the Noble Truths are true in one’s own life. It means to understand both cognitively and experientially that one is connected to all other people (dependent origination). The rest of the Eightfold Path hangs on this point. The other three Noble Truths were already mentioned. Dependent origination does not contradict essential Christianity; the connectedness of all people is not only the bedrock of all Buddhist beliefs but also the explanation for Jesus’ death, as discussed here:

The next item on the Eightfold Path, Right Thoughts or “right intentions,” is volitional where “right understanding” is cognitive. Having right intentions means committing oneself to nurturing good thoughts for the purpose of positive and helpful interactions with other people. It means giving up the quest for sensual pleasure in favor of a maturity of character. The emphasis in “right thoughts” is on knowing the difference between good and bad thoughts, knowing that bad thoughts are inherently harmful to other people, and then volitionally choosing good thoughts. As the Apostle Paul said to Christians when preaching on the right mental state, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God–what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2). The mind for him as well as for the Buddha is a tool that must be mastered.


About Scott MacPherson, M.S., J.D.

Lawyer, mathematician, software developer, martial artist, and amateur theologian trying to branch out and make money as a professional writer.
This entry was posted in buddhism, christianity, eightfold path, four noble truths, integral spirituality, religion. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Eightfold Path Inside Christianity: Points 1 and 2

  1. Pingback: If God Is Eternal: Why the Bible Is A Bad Place to Start Your Dharma Practice (Part 1 of a 13-Part Series) | Buddhist Books Blog

  2. Pingback: Right View: That First Step Is A Doozey! (Part 9 of A 13-Part Series) | Buddhist Books Blog

  3. Pingback: Dependent Arising: Why This Whole Ball of Shit Keeps Rolling (Part 5 of A 13-Part Series) | Buddhist Books Blog

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