Noble Eightfold Path for Shin Buddhists
Do not live in the world of distraction and false dreams, outside the dharma.
--- The Dhammapada
Buddhist Faith Fellowship stresses daily practice as the best skilful means to transform our muddy ice of delusions and suffering
into the clear water of enlightenment. Below is its condensed and adapted version
of the Noble Eightfold Path first taught by the historical Buddha Shakyamuni over 2, 600 years ago. This North American Shin Buddhist version integrates the traditional
Buddhist tenets with Mahayana and Shin Buddhist teachings, which rely on the Six Paramitas, tariki (natural power), the
Nembutsu etc. This modern version is designed to give Western Shin and other Buddhists a clear, accessible and structured
Way to practice their faith on a daily basis in the 21st century.
Noble Eightfold Path is divided into three major sections: wisdom, morality and mental development teachings and practices.
The wisdom teachings include Right Understanding and Right Thought. The morality teachings are Right Speech, Right Action
and Right Livelihood. The mental development practices are Right Effort, Right Awareness and Right Concentration. Here, the word “right” does not mean right versus wrong; this does not refer to
a moral judgement at all. Instead, it means practicing each point on the path at just the right tempo; not too much nor too
little, just so right…This is the basis of the Buddha’s Middle Way of avoiding extremes and fanaticism.
A Sacred Circle Rather Than Steps
the Buddha’s Noble Path is not a chronological one-way journey, in which the practitioner takes one step at a time,
mastering each step and then moving on and then finally reaching enlightenment. On the contrary, it is a spiritual path that
is more akin to a circle or better yet, a sacred circle, in which you can join in at any point and by doing so you will immediately
begin to practice the entirety of the Way. Each step on the Noble Eightfold Path
is integrated with all of the other steps. Taking one step on the Buddhist Faith Fellowship’s Noble Eightfold Path for Shin Buddhists will immediately take you on
the journey towards total spiritual transformation. Through diligence and deep hearing, the practitioner will quite naturally
begin to embody the Buddhist teachings and the Nembutsu, and ultimately will experience spiritual rebirth in the Pure Land in this
very here and now, which is pure awakening itself.
This Noble Path is a practical and comprehensive
guide for living our lives in the 21st century, in which we can be liberated from delusion and suffering (dukkha)
by manifesting our inner potential of love, compassion and understanding through the ceaseless activity of the Great Compassion.
Where Do I Begin?
suggest that you print out our entire Noble Eightfold Path for Shin Buddhists and
the Eightfold Daily Practices and Chants on the following page. Use both of them
as skilful anchors for daily practice and adapt them to your life situation. If necessary, recite this Noble Path every morning
or at some other convenient time during the day in order to promote the sedimentation process, which is the total conscious
and unconscious integration of the teachings. Most importantly, you must practice the Noble Path with diligence. The Path
is not to be used as a mere wall hanging or as a dogmatic creed. It was designed to be practiced and lived.
Shin Buddhists, we recommend you enter the Sacred Circle
by focusing on Right Understanding and Right Mindfulness. This will get you practicing deep awareness, trust, independence
and impermanence. Then, move on to Right Concentration etc. Refer to our Recommended Books and Shin Buddhist Reading Room for suggested books on the Eightfold Path and Shin Buddhism,
which should be used as essential supplements to the below condensed and adapted Noble Path version.
1. Right Understanding
· I will profoundly entrust in the Great Compassion of the universe that is the inconceivable life force of all that
was, is and will be. This Great Compassion is symbolized as Amida Buddha.
· I will deeply accept my inherent finite and foolish nature (bonpu), knowing that these natural limitations are the
reason why all sentient beings and I are the prime objects of the embrace and never-ending nurturing activity of Great Compassion.
· I will totally entrust myself to the ceaseless nurturing activity of Amida (Primal Vow) that will naturally transform my state of ignorance, foolishness and
suffering into the reality of awakening and infinite life.
· I will understand and embody interdependence, impermanence and non-self, and take heed to the reality of individual
and collective karma.
· I will embody the Four Noble Truths knowing that life is at times a bumpy road but that life is fundamentally good.
First Noble Truth: life is dukkha (dis-ease, suffering)
Second Noble Truth: the cause is
ego-centeredness and craving.
Third Noble Truth: life is hopeful
and good; nirvana transcends dukkha.
Fourth Noble Truth: the spiritual
path of liberation (Eightfold Path)
2. Right Thought
· Realizing that my thoughts shape my reality, I will develop positive
habits of mind and eliminate negative patterns of thinking.
· I will cultivate renunciation (no-harm): I abandon ill-will to
others and myself, and I will forgive.
· I will study the dharma on a regular basis knowing that words
and concepts are not reality but skilful instruments to transform my delusion
and self-centeredness into clarity and faith.
3. Right Speech
· I will communicate words of kindness and simple truth. I will
avoid speaking about others when they are not present.
· I will listen deeply to what others say in order to transform
conflict into harmony.
· I will lovingly share the Shin Buddhist teachings with others
if they are interested in the path.
· I will not just speak about Buddhism, I will truly live it.
4. Right Action
· I will consume with self control: this means eating, drinking
and purchasing in moderation; I will use only what I and my family need.
· I refrain from mindless consumption and forgo using
products and services that
unduly harm animals, plants,
humans and non-sentient
· I will practice generosity (dana), for the good of the individual
and the community. I will be conscious of my self-centered tendencies: giving what others truly need and avoiding any notion
of personal self-aggrandizement.
· I will practice the Buddha’s Five Ethical Precepts as guidelines to wholesome and joyful living. Buddhist ethics are based on non-harm and
well-being to all beings and ourselves.
The Five Precepts are:
a. I will practice
love, I refrain from killing.
b. I will
practice generosity, I refrain from stealing.
c. I will
practice contentment, I refrain from
d. I will
practice mindful speech, I refrain from harmful
e. I will practice
mindful consumption; I refrain from
intoxicants & harmful substances that harm myself,
society and the environment.
5. Right Livelihood
· I will avoid professions and jobs that defile me
and harm others or the environment.
· My work is not divorced from my spiritual practice.
I will strive to practice this Noble Path in my profession, job, schooling or career.
· I will dedicate my labor for the health and vitality of my
workplace and the world. During the course
of my work day, I will consider whether my words and actions uplift or harm others and my environment.
· In the workplace, in order to avoid conflict; I will not carry the dharma on my sleeve. Instead,
I will practice this Noble Path in humbleness and thanksgiving without others even knowing about it. This is known as practicing
the dharma without form.
6. Right Effort
· By guarding the mind, I will nourish the wholesome
and abandon the unwholesome in my thoughts, speech, actions and world. The unwholesome is such mental states like greed, hatred,
cruelty, gossip, harsh speech, stealing, laziness etc. The wholesome is non-greed, non-hatred, non-delusion, devotion and
· I will regularly take refuge in the Three Jewels
and always practice mindfulness as the means to cultivate positive intention and energy while developing and stabilizing the
The Three Jewels are:
I take Refuge in the Buddha: the source of wisdom,
faith & compassion.
I take Refuge in the Dharma:
the truth, teachings and the Way.
I take Refuge in the Sangha:
the community of practitioners and all beings.