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Alternate Translations

Taisho 112: The Eightfold Right Path Sūtra

1. Thus I have heard:[1] One time, the Buddha was staying at Anāthapiṇḍada’s Park in Jeta’s Grove of Śrāvastī.

2. The Buddha addressed the disciples, “Listen! I will explain the wrong path, and then I’ll explain the right path. What is the wrong path? It’s untrue view, untrue thought, untrue speech, untrue control, untrue pursuit, untrue action, untrue mindfulness, and untrue concentration.[2] These are the eight wrong practices of the path.

3. “What are the eight right practices of the path? First is true view. What is true view? Believing in generosity, believing in veneration, believing in sacrifice, believing in the natural merits of good and bad acts, believing in father and mother, believing in the noble people of the world, believing in pursuing enlightenment, believing in true practice, and believing in true acquisition. In the present world or a later world, there’s realization of sagacity through one’s own accomplishment. These are the attributes of what I say is true view.

4. “Second is true thought. What is that? It’s that thinking that discards desire, discards home life, isn’t angry, hateful, or hostile, and doesn’t violate others. This is true thought.

5. “Third is true speech. What is that? It’s not being duplicitous, not passing on [others’] speech, not being abusive or insulting, and not speaking falsely. This is true speech.

6. “Fourth is true action. What is that? Not killing, stealing, or engaging in lust. This is true action.

7. “Fifth is true acquisition. What is that? This is the rule of learned, noble disciple’s pursuits. He cannot pursue what’s not the teaching. Meals, seats and beds, and [medicines for] illness are pursued by the right teaching. They cannot [be pursued by] what’s not the teaching. This is right acquisition.

8. “Sixth is true control. What is that? It’s mindfulness of birth and death combined with practices, which are diligent practice and practice that produces the conditions for strength. One then is diligent, doesn’t tire, and maintains mindfulness. This is true control.

9. “Seventh is true mindfulness. What is that? It’s the practice of birth and death combined with mindful attention, oriented towards mindful attention, and not forgetting or having incompatible mindfulness or pursuits. This is called true mindfulness.

10. “Eighth is true concentration. What is that? It’s the mindfulness of birth and death combined with the stopping of thoughts, stopping of appearances, stopping of guarding oneself, and stopping of the accumulation. One cannot become, doesn’t do anything blameworthy, and doesn’t fall from the middle way.

This is called true concentration.

11. “Monks, a disciple on the path will accept this true path of eight kinds of practice. Practicing it as it has been explained, they can attain the path’s eight practices and enlightenment.

12. “Someone of true view believes that generosity obtains merits in later worlds. They believe veneration when meeting an ascetic noble person makes the merits of veneration. They believe in sacrifices like hanging cloth, burning incense, scattering flowers, and lighting lamps. They believe in the natural merits of practicing the ten good [acts]. They believe in filial piety towards father and mother. They believe in the world’s noble people and delight in accepting the sutras. They believe in pursuing enlightenment by practicing the path. They believe true practice ends bad thinking. They believe true acquisition by not violating the precepts. In the present world or a later world, they attain their own sagacity, can instruct people to attain its realization, become accomplished people themselves, and can to bring others to accomplishment. This explanation of the attributes I stated is called knowing true view.

Thus, then, is the liberation of self and others.

13. “Second is true thought. The mindfulness produced by it is for forgetfulness. The wish to discard home life is for thinking of the path. Not being angry, hateful, or hostile is for tolerance. Not violating others leads to right mindfulness.

14. “Third is true speech. Not being harsh or insulting is not violating the four verbal mistakes. One simply speaks with sincerity about the factors of the path and what’s truly important.

15. “Fourth is true practice. Not killing, stealing, or engaging in lust is to practice with sincere faith.

16. “Fifth is not falling into covetousness. One simply pursues a single garment and a single meal to be humble and virtuous.

17. “Sixth is true control. This is to be oriented towards the 37 Factors Sūtra.

18. “Seventh is true mindfulness. It increases the 37 Factors Sūtra daily and doesn’t part with that mindfulness.

19. “Eighth is true stopping. It doesn’t forget dependent origination. Stopping is to always return to mindful equanimity. Stopping oneself, there aren’t any violations [of precepts]. Stopping accumulation is to attain the path of merit.”

20. The Buddha spoke thus, and everyone rejoiced and accepted it.

Notes

  1. This sutra is generally parallel to SĀ 13.74 and SN 45.8; however, it includes an additional list of clarifications of those definitions. Scholars generally agree that it’s a legitimate translation by Anshigao, completed sometime between 148-168 CE during the Later Han era. [back]
  2. This list appears to be out of order compared to what will follow. That is, right action and right control (usually “right effort” in English) are transposed. Also, right pursuit here is synonymous with right acquisition (usually “right livelihood” in English). [back]

Translator: Charles Patton

Last Revised: 14 September 2020