By Ratana  (participant in Youth Retreat held at Vedanta Society of Providence, July 25-27, 2014)
During this retreat we went over the Noble Eight Fold Path. This is a system used by the Buddhists to control one’s mind. The ultimate goal of this path is to attain release from suffering. In order to reach the goal we are instructed to follow the right wisdom, ethical conduct, and concentration.

To begin on the path, we must first realize that suffering is an unavoidable part of life. No matter how much we try to fix the world, suffering will always be a part of it. Therefore, we must turn inwards and adjust our own perception. We have to WANT to be free from suffering – this is what is meant by having the right view.

But training the mind to follow the guidelines of the Noble Eight Fold Path is not easy. It requires a certain vigilance. It is difficult to carefully watch thoughts that arise in the mind if we suddenly become angered when we feel that we have been wronged or when a friend wants to engage in idle chatter/gossip that does not fall in line with what is deemed right speech.

The Noble Eight Fold Path necessitates that we adhere to an extremely logical code of behavior in order to overcome this sort of restlessness of the mind. Our emotions, intentions, speech, and actions should line up with each other. This means that at all times we should be thinking of the ultimate goal: release from suffering. If at the beginning this is not possible, then practicing the path will help steer the mind in that direction. In this way, thought and behavior reinforce and influence one another.

The Noble Eight Fold Path makes us work towards the ultimate goal ourselves. We cannot rely on others to do the work for us. Instead there is emphasis on experiential learning and using the path to help guide out decisions.