Once Buddha was camping in a forest with his five hundred monks. The monks were talking with each other discussing about what are the best outside paths for traveling, staying and collecting food. Their conversation revolved around ‘ which city is good to go for begging food, where generous people reside who give alms freely, which roads have big trees with huge shadows, and which places have beautiful facilities.’ When Buddha overheard this discussion, he was a little saddened, yet the sadness was rimmed with compassion. So he called them all for a discourse. Buddha asked them to focus on the inner path and not the outer path. He said, there are eight steps to strengthen their inner journey.
Osho has elaborated on Buddha’s maxims in his book The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha. It is very helpful to know these steps; they are like statutory warnings to erring meditators. In Buddha’s vision samyaktva, rightness is immensely important in life. Whatever you do, strike a balance between extremes; follow the middle path for if you follow the middle path you will not go astray. Sounds easy but walking in the middle is no cakewalk, it is walking on the razor’s edge. Constantly balancing, not allowing yourself to be swept away by the storms of the mind, and regaining awareness.
The eight steps are a right vision, right decision, right speech, right action, right exercise, right memory, right samadhi.
The right vision means looking without a prejudiced mind or an ideology; having a straight encounter of life. If you acquire right vision you will have clarity and it will naturally lead you to the next step: the right decisions.
For example, have you decided to meditate because you are frustrated, or you want to run away from your failures? If so, you will not last long on this path. Your mind will bounce back to your previous life.
The third is right speech: Be very careful about what you say, and what your intentions behind it are. Just watch how much unnecessary talk you make and how it creates trouble for you. The fourth is right action: Neither overdo things nor be a lazy bum. The fifth is right action: It means earning exactly as much as is needed for your survival, neither more nor less. Do not let your greed consume your need. The sixth is right exercise: Remember that the body is a vehicle, keep it toned and tuned.
The seventh is the right memory and the eighth is right samadhi: Right memory can help you drop the old baggage, the wounds hiding inside you long past their time. Drop them, so that you climb the eighth and the final step, samadhi, equilibrium. Once you reach here you will find that your inner journey is fulfilled. Now no more traveling, inside or outside. You have come back to yourself.