The Psychology of Confusion and the Path of Liberation

Elements of the Path

The VIEW, or the ultimate perspective, varies according to the various schools. But basic to them all, and what sets Buddhism aside from any other systems of thought and spiritual practice, is the notion of dependent origination - pratitya-samudpada. Dependent origination means that nothing exists as a solid independent entity, and that all that appears and exists does so due to causes and conditions.
This thesis not only questions the habitual solidity we impute to phenomena, it maps the laws that apply to our constructions of the world we live in. The view of dependent origination rejects all conceptual constructions of an absolute reality. Realization of this view leads to the elimination of a belief in a solid reality, and allows for the insight of primordial wisdom. In Vajrayana, the view is the direct recognition of this primordial wisdom.

MEDITATION is the structure and discipline that serves to deepen an understanding of the View, ultimately bringing the View to be experienced and fully realised. With an initial understanding of the View, the consequent path is to remove the ignorance and habitual patterns of confusion, and thereby deepen insight beyond the level of mere intellectual understanding. Meditation is first establishing calm of mind, and within this experience insight emerges. These two aspects – calm and insight, or shamata and vipashyana – are the basis for all Buddhist meditation. Meditation transforms intellectual understanding into the genuine wisdom of deep realization.

ACTION is the further integration of View and Meditation, consolidating this experience in everyday activity. While Meditation is the cultivation of wisdom, Action is the cultivation of favourable or positive circumstances – both spiritual and secular. Based on knowledge of the view of dependent origination, of how our attitudes and actions constitute our reality, Action may consist of practices that enhance the realisation of the View and Meditation: it may be compassionate actions, ranging from social engagement to saving animal lives, or it may be celebrating the sacred principles of enlightenment, such as performing offerings, circumambulation, pilgrimage, etc.
The Four Noble Truths & The Eightfold Path

The foundation of the Buddhist teaching, the Four Noble Truths were modelled on the classical Indian way of approaching an illness: diagnosis of the illness, finding the cause of the illness, and, if the illness is curable, following a course of treatment.
The Truth of Suffering: The nature of samsara is suffering, as there is never any lasting satisfaction or absence of mental and physical affliction.
The Truth of the Origin of Suffering: Suffering originates with the belief in truly existent self and phenomena.
The Truth of Cessation: In attaining enlightenment, the Buddha attained cessation of suffering, and awoke to full enlightenment, discarding all ignorance, and manifesting the qualities of enlightenment.
The Truth of the Path: Depending on who he taught, the Buddha prescribed a number of paths, all with the objective of discarding ignorance, and unveiling innate wisdom. These can be summarised into the Noble Eightfold Path.
The EIGHFOLD PATH Consists of eight propositions that are grouped into three trainings. The first training, ethical conduct, builds the platform for the second training, meditation, that is necessary for the third training, wisdom.

1. Ethical Conduct:
Right Speech
Right Action
Right Livelihood
2. Meditation:
Right Effort
Right Mindfulness
Right Concentration
3. Wisdom:
Right Understanding
Right Thinking