The Middle Way

The Buddha discovered how to put an end to spiritual/emotional suffering, this insight he shared as the Four Noble Truths. The eightfold path (i.e. The Middle Way) is offered as a practical way to live life in accordance with one’s true nature thereby eliminating the worst kind of suffering. The side benefit is the experience of greater peace and joy in one's daily life.

The Middle Way is a practical guide on how to live one's life in a fruitful manner that ultimately leads to enduring Peace and Joy.

The Middle Way

The path that leads toward more PEACE and JOY in your daily life involves finding a balance between the extremes of either self-indulgence or self-denial. Living in this "selfless" manner is to follow the Middle Way taught by the Buddha.

The Wrong Road

A wandering ascetic, having heard of the Buddha, traveled everywhere looking for him. One night he came to stay in a house where the Buddha was also staying but, not knowing the Buddha's physical appearance, he was unaware of his presence. The next morning he arose and continued on his way, still searching for the Buddha. To search for peace and enlightenment without correct understanding is like this.

Due to a lack of understanding of the truth of suffering and its elimination, all the subsequent factors on the path will be wrong-wrong intentions, wrong speech, wrong actions, and wrong practice of concentration and tranquility. Your likes and dislikes are not a trustworthy guide in this matter either, although foolish people may take them for their ultimate reference. Alas, it is like traveling to a certain town you unknowingly start out on the wrong road, and since it is a convenient one, you travel it in comfort. But it will not take you where you want to go.
 

Right Understanding

One develops right understanding by seeing impermanence, suffering, and not-self in everything, which leads to detachment and loss of infatuation. Detachment is not aversion. An aversion to something we once liked is temporary, and the craving for it will return.

Imagine some food that you like-bamboo shoots or sweet curry, for example. Imagine having it everyday for five or six years; you would get tired of bamboo shoots. If someone were to offer you some, you would not get excited. In the same way, we should see impermanence, suffering, and emptiness in all things at all times: bamboo shoots!

We seek not for a life of pleasure, but to find peace. Peace is within oneself, to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. To try to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it. Investigate suffering, see its causes, and put an end to them right now, rather than merely dealing with their effects.

The Eight-Fold Path

Off all paths, the eight-fold path is the greatest. Of the truths, the greatest are the four noble truths. Detachment is the greatest of all states. And, of all those who are two-footed ones, one who possesses eyes. The Buddha is the greatest.   http://www.buddhanet.net/dhammapada/d_path.htm

 

THE MIDDLE WAY
 
In his first discourse the Buddha calls the Noble Eightfold Path the middle way. He calls it the middle way because the eightfold path avoids all extremes in conduct and in views. In the discourse the Buddha points out that there are two extremes which a seeker of enlightenment has to steer clear off. These two extremes are, on the one side, indulgence in desire, on the other, self-mortification. Some hold the view that sensual indulgence, the grasping of luxury and comfort, is the greatest happiness. But the Buddha, from his own experience, calls this way a low, inferior ignoble course which does not lead to the realization of the highest goal. The other extreme is not so common but has always an attraction for religious seekers. This is the extreme of self-mortification. Those who follow this practice hold that the way to liberation is through strict and austere asceticism. The Buddha himself followed this path of asceticism before his enlightenment, but he found that it does not lead to the goal. Therefore he called the path of self-affliction, painful, ignoble and not conducive to the goal.

In its place he holds up the Noble Eightfold Path as the middle way. It is not called the middle way because it lies in between the two extremes as a compromise between too much and too little, but, because it rises above them, because it is free from their errors, from their imperfections, from the blind alleys to which they lead.

To follow the middle path means to provide the body with what it needs to be in a strong and healthy condition yet at the same time to rise above bodily concerns in order to train the mind in right conduct, concentration and wisdom. In fact, the middle way is essentially a way of mind training, not a compromise with the attitude of renunciation. On following the Noble Eightfold Path the mind has to be strengthened and trained in the strongest attitude of renunciation, detachment from the demands of craving and clinging.

What is Dhamma?

But the law of nature or Dharma has no exceptions and no delays ever. Defilement in thought and action is automatically and immediately followed by agitation and anxiety, just as a good deed or good thought is immediately followed by the reward of peace and joy that inevitably follows. As soon as one begins to understand this at the experiential level, one’s nature and behaviour starts changing for the better. (An extract from ...  http://www.vipassana.co/What-is-Dhamma)

 

Living a Life of Peace, Joy, and Purpose

This world is in serious trouble. The fundamental values of the United States and other Western nations are being undermined. There is a continual crumbling of principle, virtue, integrity, and religious values, the foundation stones of civilization and definitive ingredients of peace and happiness. I will share with you as simply and as clearly as I am able a pattern for success and happiness in life despite these conditions. (https://www.lds.org/ensign/2014/02/living-a-life-of-peace-joy-and-purpose?lang=eng)

Further investigation of "The Middle Way Society" based in the UK is required (http://www.middlewaysociety.org/middle-way/).

An early thought of TG ... The Middle Way is a practical guide on how to live one's life in a fruitful manner that ultimately leads to enduring Peace and Joy.