Week 42 - The Noble Eightfold Path: Right View I

The Fourth Noble Truth, the Way Leading to the Cessation of Dukkha, starts with a description of the first step of the Eightfold Path, namely Right View. Joseph explains that Right View is the important first step on the path because it sets the direction for the rest of the journey. In his teachings, the Buddha distinguishes between worldly right view and noble right view. Joseph’s talk for this week pertains mainly to worldly, or mundane, right view.

In discussing Mundane Right View, the Buddha emphasized the importance of the law of karma. Joseph discusses three aspects of mundane right view.  The first is the practice of generosity. In this part, the emphasis is on the rewards to the giver as well as to the receiver. The second aspect of right view says, “there is this world and the other world.” Joseph elaborates on the possibility of rebirth and encourages us thus: “It’s helpful not to immediately dismiss what is beyond our limited personal experience, but to simply keep an open mind regarding this and other possibilities.”

The third aspect is the karmic relationship between parents and children.  This includes both the karmic debt for the gift of our human birth as well as a consideration of the responsibility of children to share the dharma, or at least seeds of it, with their parents. Joseph concludes with a moving story of Sariputta and his relationship with his mother in order to illustrate this aspect of mundane right view.

Questions

  1. How do you practice or experience generosity in your daily life?
  2. How do you see karma unfolding itself in your life?
  3. How do you share merit? How might you see yourself sharing merit?
  4. Have you had any experiences of the “non-material nature of awareness”?
  5. What does “being open to the possibility of rebirth” mean to you?

Practices

  1. Think of ways you can increase your generosity in your day-to-day activities and in your meditations. Act on some of these and evaluate the results.
  2. Try to become aware of the “non-material nature of awareness” in your meditation.
  3. Consider having a “dharma discussion” with parents, children, or partner. If it seems reasonable, then do it gently.