Is the noble eightfold path the same for both laypeople and monastics?

Hi Dhamma friends,

IIRC The Buddha defined right action as non-killing, non-stealing, no sexual misconduct, no taking alcohol/drugs and right speech as speaking only the truth. These actually correspond to the 5 precepts of Lay people, so how does the 227 precepts of male mendicants and 311 of female mendicants would fit into these two categories (right action and right speech)?

Also, right livelihood is defined as not dealing with live beings (slavery), meat, weapons, poisons, drugs; But monastics don’t have a livelihood, at least not like lay people do, they acquire the requisites for their survival by begging for food (primarily), clothing, medicine and shelter. Therefore the opportunity for them to deal in wrong livelihood would not even arise?

Also, I assume the definitions that correspond to the factors of “Right Wisdom” and “Right Concentration” are the same for both lifestyles? (Although I know now in practice how hard it’s to develop these in lay life, the mendicant lifestyle is more suitable!)

With Metta.

Most rules are about right action, the ones that involve speech only (eg. Pr4, Sg3, Pc1-4,8 etc.) are about right speech. Then some particular cases of certain rules involve speech.

That’s the goal but it can still arise, for example corrupting families or seeking gain with gain

Yes there’s only one eightfold noble path

The difference is if you want to get to the shrine at the top of the hill you can either take the easy and longer road with many distractions on the way, or you can cut straight through the forest

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This is a good analogy. The forest path is really rough but it is direct.

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Plenty of opportunity for wrong livelihood for monastics, going by what all is prohibited… :smiling_face: :grin:

There are some ascetics and brahmins who, while enjoying food given in faith, still earn a living by unworthy branches of knowledge, by wrong livelihood. This includes such fields as limb-reading, omenology, divining celestial portents, interpreting dreams, divining bodily marks, divining holes in cloth gnawed by mice, fire offerings, ladle offerings, offerings of husks, rice powder, rice, ghee, or oil; offerings from the mouth, blood sacrifices, palmistry; geomancy for building sites, fields, and cemeteries; exorcisms, earth magic, snake charming, poisons; the crafts of the scorpion, the rat, the bird, and the crow; prophesying life span, chanting for protection, and deciphering animal cries. … reading the marks of gems, cloth, clubs, swords, spears, arrows, weapons, women, men, boys, girls, male and female bondservants, elephants, horses, buffaloes, bulls, cows, goats, rams, chickens, quails, monitor lizards, rabbits, tortoises, or deer. … making predictions that the king will march forth or march back; or that our king will attack and the enemy king will retreat, or vice versa; or that our king will triumph and the enemy king will be defeated, or vice versa; and so there will be victory for one and defeat for the other. …making predictions that there will be an eclipse of the moon, or sun, or stars; that the sun, moon, and stars will be in conjunction or in opposition; that there will be a meteor shower, a fiery sky, an earthquake, thunder; that there will be a rising, a setting, a darkening, a brightening of the moon, sun, and stars. And it also includes making predictions about the results of all such phenomena. …predicting whether there will be plenty of rain or drought; plenty to eat or famine; an abundant harvest or a bad harvest; security or peril; sickness or health. It also includes such occupations as computing, accounting, calculating, poetry, and cosmology. …making arrangements for giving and taking in marriage; for engagement and divorce; and for scattering rice inwards or outwards at the wedding ceremony. It also includes casting spells for good or bad luck, causing abortions, binding the tongue, or locking the jaws; charms for the hands and ears; questioning a mirror, a girl, or a god as an oracle; worshiping the sun, worshiping the Great One, breathing fire, and invoking Siri, the goddess of luck. … rites for propitiation, for granting wishes, for ghosts, for the earth, for rain, for property settlement, and for preparing and consecrating house sites, and rites involving rinsing and bathing, and oblations. It also includes administering emetics, purgatives, expectorants, and phlegmagogues; administering ear-oils, eye restoratives, nasal medicine, ointments, and counter-ointments; surgery with needle and scalpel, treating children, prescribing root medicines, and binding on herbs. The ascetic Gotama refrains from such unworthy branches of knowledge, such wrong livelihood.’ Such is an ordinary person’s praise of the Realized One.

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Every monk in every monastery I’ve ever been does this. Example. I did not know it was wrong livelihood for monks ?

Indeed. But I’m sure there is some logical work-around that allows them to chant, while still keeping to the rules. :man_shrugging: Besides, this extract is from the DN, not from the vinaya hence its non binding.

I just wanted to point you towards DN1 as a source of more information regarding the spirit behind the monastic rules vis a vis those for lay people.

The vinaya and any other rules aren’t inherently necessary, and this is also implied by the Buddha when he was asked why are there more rules when there are less Arahants in the world.

This means that if Supermundane right view is properly understood you will naturally turn away from the lay life and unwholesomeness. We can look at Ugga in AN 8.22 for example who became celibate, alcohol free, and gave away his wives upon seeing the Buddha and hearing the dhamma.

So in short, yes, the noble eightfold path is the same for everyone. What’s different is a person’s ability to understand it depending on how much dust they have in their eyes.

Hi. In the Noble Eightfold Path (note Bhikkhu Bodhi’s wrong non-literatal translation), there is no precept of “sexual misconduct” (“kāmesu micchācārī”). In the Noble Eightfold Path, the factor is called “celibacy” (“abrahmacariyā veramaṇī: avoiding sexual activity” SN 45.8). Regards :dizzy:

This confuses two structures. Right concentration is a factor of the noble eightfold path, but wisdom is a component of the threefold division of the eight path factors into the functions of sila/samadhi/panna. These penetrate to a level of actual experience beginning with how moral behaviour causes the arising of tranquillity of mind (Majhima Nikaya 19). Once this breakthrough is achieved there is no need to slavishly follow precepts (training rules), as the advanced monk or layperson is able to see a direct connection between their moral actions, tranquillity, and wisdom.