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Aṣṭangika-mārga

Aṣṭangika-mārga (Skt.; Pāli, aṭṭangika-magga). The eightfold path which leads, in Buddhism, to release from dukkha (transience and the suffering involved in it). It is the last of the Four Noble Truths, and one of the thirtyseven ‘limbs’ of enlightenment (bodhipākṣika-dharma). Each of the eight is described as samyak (Skt.), samma (Pāli), often translated ‘right’; but the meaning intended is not ‘correct’ as opposed to ‘incorrect’, but rather ‘complete’ or ‘perfected’. They are: (i) perfected view (samyak-dristhi/sammā-ditthi), which understands the Four Noble Truths and their dependence on no persistent substantiality (anātman); (ii) perfected resolution (s.-kalpa/s.-sankappa) in the direction of non-attachment, ahiṃsā, etc.; (iii) perfected speech (s.-vāc/s.-vāchā), free from malice, gossip, lies, etc.; (iv) perfected conduct or action (s.-karmānta/s.-kammanta) in accordance with śīla; (v) perfected livelihood (s.-ājīva), avoiding work which might harm others; (vi) perfected effort (s.-vyāyāma/s.-vāyāma) in setting forward that which produces good karma/ kamma; (vii) perfected mindfulness (s.-smriti/s.-sati), as summarized in satipaṭṭhāna; (viii) perfected concentration (s.-samādhi/s.-samādhi), especially in jhāna.

In Mahāyāna Buddhism they become: (i) insight into dharmakāya (trikāya); (ii) cessation of mental superimpositions; (iii) silence in absorption of dharma; (iv) withdrawal from all actions with karmic consequence; (v) living in a way that dharma neither arises nor ceases; (vi) abandoning all intentionality; (vii) giving up reflection on unprofitable questions; (viii) no reliance on ideas or concepts at all.

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