Living a righteous life the way religious people do might not be easy especially for a person who is not much into religion. Following the eightfold path that the Buddhists proclaim to be the righteous way of living without suffering is not easy; it requires concentration and attention to the teachings of the religious group involved. To my opinion, it will be very difficult to follow the right action, right livelihood, right mindfulness, and right concentration as part of the eightfold path in todays society. The way we live our lives is determined by various factors including the how we stay with other people, the environment we live in, the kind of people we associate with and the community we come from. Therefore, living according to the righteous way claimed by the Buddhists described through the eightfold path might be impossible.
According to the author, living a life without suffering involves minding the way one behaves (Nourie 2). The path claims that we should always mind the way we behave and act so as to ensure that we do not harm other people or ourselves in the process. This path claims that people should try to live by doing the things that help others and not hurt them. People have different perceptions of things in the society; therefore, sometimes it might not be intentional to do something that can hurt or harm others but we find ourselves hurt in the process or we harm others in the process. Todays society is more complex because people from diverse ethnic communities interact due to different reasons; for example, education or business purposes. However, every community has its way of doing things and beliefs; therefore, someone who does not understand the culture does something that goes against the belief causing the harm that Right Action discourages.
Right Livelihood path claims that people should always try to find their livelihoods through the right ways (Nourie 3). The right livelihood path discourages people from seeking or finding their livelihoods from ways or places that can cause harm to others. Living through this path might not be easy as there are certain jobs that demand to hurt others; for example, being a police officer or a military officer involves hurting others either emotionally or physically. Therefore, to be able to remain alive or keep from the harm that might arise in the process, it requires doing what will harm others. Although, they are doing their jobs as police officers, but as right livelihood claims, it is hard not to hurt others. Right livelihood tries to emphasize that people should mind their relationships with the co-workers or any other person that we meet in the process of work (Nourie 3). This is difficult because we meet different people in the world of business; sometimes we might hurt them without our intention.
Right mindfulness is another path that would be very difficult to follow. According to the proponents of this path, people should always mind the present and the things that affect our lives at the present instead of focusing on the past that has happened or the future that has not yet been seen (Nourie 3). This is right, but living accordingly might not be easy. People are different and the way we handle things can also be different; however, as the Right mindfulness explains, it looks like people are the same. There are things that can take time before we remove them from our minds; however, this does not mean that we are living in the past. The fact that it still affects our lives makes it an influence in our lives. Todays society is accompanied by various challenges ranging from socio-economic to political. There are some of the things that we cannot be able to erase from our brains and will continue affecting us no matter what we do or where we go; therefore, it is difficult to live through the right mindfulness path.
Right concentration is another path that is difficult to follow in the todays society. According to the proponents of this path, people should try to focus on one thing at a time so as to be able to live happily without necessarily hurting others or ourselves in the process (Bodhi 5). Living through this path might not be easy in the todays society. We are faced with diverse challenges and sometimes putting up with the pressure that comes from the problems might not be easy to control. It is difficult to concentrate when someone is faced with more than a single challenge; for example, coping with the school challenges like exam stress and financial constraints due to lack of school fee might not be easy to cope with. Therefore, as the path claims that people should concentrate on a single thing at a time, it is difficult in the todays society because most of the challenges are related and requires the same attention at the same time.
In conclusion, todays society is all about the kind of life that people live. Although, some people use the wrong means to achieve this goal, I believe adopting the right effort path might help reach this goal. Everything can be achieved when one puts the effort as needed; therefore, I believe adopting the right effort path can help me achieve the quality life and at the same time keep me away from suffering and desires that come as a result of living a low-quality life. Most people are involved in the wrong things like robbery or corruption because they desire to achieve the best life within the shortest time. Robbers and corrupt people do not know that they cause harm; they just dont care. Although, this might not be physical hurt or harm but emotions; however, at the end, there are people who get hurt. Again, trying to integrate the different paths like right view, right intention, right action, and right effort makes up a better life that is free from suffering and desires.
Bodhi, Bhikkhu. The noble eightfold path: The way to the end of suffering. Buddhist Publication Society, 2010.Nourie, Dana. What is the Eightfold Path?: A natural, Pragmatic approach to early Buddhist teachings and Practice. Secular Buddhist Association. 2013. Accessed from http://secularbuddhism.org/2013/05/03/what-is-the-eightfold-path/.
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