The path to the ending of all suffering is called the Middle Way because it avoids the two extremes of self-indulgence and self-torment. Such extreme behavior does not lead to peace of mind. This pathway consists of cultivating virtue, meditative serenity and wisdom and is further elaborated as the Noble Eightfold Path:
1. The perfection of understanding: right view of the basic truths of existence.
2. The perfection of intention: thoughts motivated by loving-kindness, compassion and renunciation.
3. The perfection of speech: truthful, harmonious, gentle and meaningful.
4. The perfection of behavior: non-violence, not stealing and responsible sexual conduct.
5. The perfection of employment: earning a living in a way that does not harm or exploit others or oneself.
6. The perfection of effort: cultivating and maintaining wholesome states of mind while overcoming unwholesome states and keeping them at bay.
7. The perfection of conscious awareness: mindfulness of ones body, feelings, mind and objects of mind.
8. The perfection of meditative concentration: deep unification, peace and purity of mind.
When all eight factors of the path are brought to maturity, one penetrates the true nature of existence with insight and reaps the fruit of the Buddha's teachings: perfected wisdom and unshakable liberation.
(to be continued....)