Every Buddhist knows about the Eightfold Path. It is the path the Buddha described for us to lead us out of suffering. It is a set of guidelines, not a rigid set of laws to follow and it is important that we remember that.

I wasn’t aware until recently that there is another version, a tenfold path that is also described in the Pali Canon. The Tenfold Path is presented in the Mahacattarasika Sutta. It is the same as the Eightfold Path, but with two extra steps at the end.

The eightfold path, remember, is Right Understanding, Thought, Speech, Action, Livelihood, Effort, Mindfulness, and Contemplation.

The Tenfold version adds Right Knowledge and Right Liberation.

Right Knowledge means simply direct knowledge. An important part of the path is that seeing is believing. The Buddha said, “Don’t believe based on what you’re told, believe only based on your own experience and reason.” So, Right Knowledge means knowledge as opposed to blind faith. We follow the eightfold path, not because we are told to, but because we can clearly see the benefits of following it in our lives. Right Knowledge also represents knowing reality, not as we wish it to be, but as it truly is.

Right Liberation is enlightenment. According to the Buddha, when we have Right Knowledge, Right Liberation comes to us naturally.



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One thought on “Noble Tenfold Path?

  1. Interesting thoughts! I agree that right knowledge is important. I suspect the reason Right Knowledge is not included has to do with what we control. Ultimate, accurate, and total knowledge cannot really be a requirement for enlightenment – especially naturalistic enlightenment. Reason being that it is a ‘commodity’ – like wealth, health, reputation, etc and therefore not completely in our control, as there is a matter of fortune involved. I think this is why ‘Right Thinking’ covers it. If we follow the Buddha’s recommendation not to accept things based on faith, scripture, tradition, but evience, then we are likely to get right knowledge over time, but it is the *character that seeks and collects knowledge for the right motivations, by the right means, and to the right ends* that is important. Whether or not any individual *actually* ends up with correct data is not fully up to the practitioner, as the Dharma (or ‘will of the Logos’ as this Stoic would put it) plays its role.

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