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The Great Book deals in depth with the fourth noble truth, the path that leads to liberation from suffering. It is not a path that appears difficult, let alone impossible, although as we shall see, it is easy to get lost and become irretrievably bound to unbearable conditionality.

We start with the correct belief. It is evident that if we start from wrong axioms, everything that comes later will be wrong and there, from the beginning, we will be lost. The erroneous beliefs are so many and so varied that we can say that they are all of them, except the correct one, which is only one. It is an incorrect belief that all paths lead to liberation. The correct one is that all paths but one bind to Samsara and within it, even to hell.

Right belief is an accurate conceptual understanding, based on listening to the teachings and logical reflection on their meaning that leads to the right disposition, to putting the conditions in place to carry out the effort, which is the second factor. It is of little use to have the right belief if there is no disposition. Lack of disposition or incorrect disposition is another way of getting lost.

Right belief subjected to right thinking leads to right speech, right action and right conduct. Right speech is essentially not lying. To lie is to kick an uncomfortable situation forward, which you will always find yourself back to again corrected and augmented sooner rather than later, so it is unwise to tell lies.

The right action is to avoid evil, because every bad action brings a bad consequence. But right action is not doing good, not least because good actions often have even worse results than bad actions. Right action carefully evaluates the outcome of actions so that the results are not harmful.

Right conduct consists in avoiding acting out of any of the three underlying tendencies, craving, aversion or ignorance. Right conduct properly applied is the way to behaviorally eliminate the roots of suffering.

The Word of the Buddha 9 Samyutta Nikaya (IV)

  • The Word of the Buddha

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