What do William Shakespeare and Buddha have in common? Call it Jungian synchronicity: both left their wives and families in search of the meaning of existence, emerged during a religious revolution, and were sublime philosophers. More importantly, they held very similar viewpoints regarding how one should live life in order to attain bliss. The Buddha taught the Eightfold Path:
1. Right thought
2. Right understanding
3. Right speech
4. Right action
5. Right livelihood
6. Right effort
7. Right mindfulness
8. Right concentration
Another way to convey the Eightfold Path is to be found in Shakespeare’s play Hamlet during Polonius’ instructions to his son on how to live the perfect life. I couldn’t make this up even if I wanted to; there are eight precepts in Polonius’s speech, interchangeable (depending on how you interpret them) with the Buddha’s Eightfold Path:
Polonius: There; my blessing with thee! And these few precepts in thy memory see thou character.
1. Give thy thoughts no tongue, / Nor any unproportion’d thought his act. (right thought)
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