Updated: Nov 7, 2020
Buddhist lore says that the historical Buddha awakens and his first teachings are essentially a diagnosis of human suffering and its cause, a proposed cure, and a course of treatment.
1. Suffering (sometime expressed as pain or dis-ease) is the malady.
2. Craving (sometimes expressed as desiring) to have what you don't have ,and/or craving not to have what you do have, is the cause of the malady.
3. Eliminate craving to eliminate suffering; the cure.
4. The Eight-fold Path is the course of treatment. Cultivate the following:
1) Right view/understanding
2) Right thought/attitude
3) Right/non-harmful speech
4) Right action/ethical behavior
5) Right livelihood
6) Right effort/diligence
7) Right mindfulness/awareness
8) Right concentration/focus
Truckloads of words, mountains of parchment and paper, have been expended over centuries to explain the path. Ockham's Razor asserts: The simplest explanation is usually the most apt.
Simply, the Eight-fold Path expresses much of what is innate in us and much that was reinforced in lessons we learned in grade school.
See clearly; separate what you see/know from what you feel. Get your head right, my dad used to say when I was off kilter. If you can't say something nice . . . Don't do bad stuff! You get the point.
This is the Buddha's "Middle Way." Meditative practice centers oneself on the broad relatively smooth path between the extremes of our innate energies This is not mystical stuff. It's simple, simplicity!