Basics of Buddhism: The Noble Eightfold Path (Step Three)

February 15, 2021   |   15 Comments

Audio-only version is here.
Meditation practice begins at 22:38

Dear Open Heart Project,

Hello and I hope you’re well and finding love, insight, and courage in your life and in your mind. These three qualities, aka compassion, wisdom, and power, are said to be the three qualities of the awakened mind.

How do we realize such wakefulness?

There is actually a recipe. Trust me, it is not my recipe! It is actually 2500+ years old and just as fresh as the day it was cooked up. Millions and millions of people have tested it. Some even became Buddhas themselves.

The Noble Eightfold Path lays out the eight steps we can all take to become liberated from suffering and truly wake up. Today, we look at the third step, Right Speech. The first two were covered recently, Right View and Right Intention. Over the next 5 videos, we will explore Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Concentration, and Right Wisdom. It is truly a delight to share my thoughts with you on these most powerful teachings.

THAT SAID. While the eightfold path is powerful beyond description, it is not enough to simply read about it. It is not even enough to try to put the steps into play. What makes it all come together is the practice of meditation. Far more than a stress-reduction technique or self-improvement tactic, meditation actually dissolves the boundary between your conventional mind and your wisdom mind. It seems to do so in a very odd way. The less you try and the more you relax while applying the meditation technique, the more clearly you see your natural brilliance. You notice that you are actually waking up. Don’t take my word for this! Or anything! Try it yourself and see. Each video in this series concludes with a guided 10-minute breath-awareness meditation. Feel free to return to this instruction as often as you like.

Please don’t hesitate to let me hear your thoughts, questions, ideas. I always love to hear from you.

Love, Susan

PS. If you’d like to study and practice together more frequently, please consider joining the Open Heart Project Sangha. There are daily meditations, weekly live gatherings, monthly guest teachers, special events, and so much more, all included in memberships. Here are two special events coming up soon.

Meditation and Creativity Retreat Day (with me) this Saturday, February 20th.

Meditation Posture Workshop (with the wonderful yoga teacher, Michele Sapanaro) on Sunday, March 21st.

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  • Posted by:  Pamela S

    Right Speech was fabulous thank you. So much information to use all day long!

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      You are so welcome!! <3 S

  • Posted by:  Mary Alice Santoro

    Hi Susan,
    Always love your lectures. I have a question about external speech. Does that include your tone of voice ? Tone of voice conveys so much when speaking. I can say I love you but if I say it with an angry tone, you probably won’t believe me. So, tone of voice is so important and is in a part of external speech.
    Thank you !

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Yes, tone of voice is truly important! Definitely part of right speech. Many thanks for adding that, much appreciated. <3 S

  • Posted by:  Jennifer Goodine

    Thank you, Susan, for a terrific talk on the power of our speech. And thank you for that very human sit practice. First, your cat is a MOOD! You’r interaction brought me so much joy to watch… as well as a playfulness to my practice, which is invigorating. Because life happens and better to just flow with it, smile and pet the cat! Glad you did. Thank you!

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      I am always happy when the cat shows up. (Actually, there are two–they look very much alike. This one was Robbie.) You’re right, life happens and it doesn’t have to be separate from our practice. Especially if it purrs! <3 S

  • Posted by:  Sandy Betz

    Hi Susan,
    Thank you for this teaching. I really appreciated what you said about listening. I realize how I want to be a better listener and how often I have been lost in my own reaction to what someone is saying rather than thinking their thoughts! Wow. The good news is there are lots of opportunities for practice!

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      So many opportunities! And I so appreciate your willingness to work on listening. That is a big deal! Love, S

  • Posted by:  Irene


    Your way of speaking is calming and welcoming. So glad I found you from Ten Percent Happier.

    I especially liked the version of listening also;
    will try to do better with really paying attention to others comments and thoughts.

    You are one of my favorites !

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Irene, how lovely to read this kind comment. Very grateful. You are one of my favorites, too! Best of luck with your experiments in listening–they really matter. <3 S

  • Posted by:  Jan

    Thank you so… for being R.E.A.L..honest… in what you bring to me, in how you share with me….allowing me the privilege to participate in this miracle of community. Greatest gratitude*

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Jan! How lovely to read this message. Thank you, thank you. So glad we are practicing together. With love, S

  • Posted by:  jen lalor

    I wouldn’t have thought that right speech includes our self talk. Sooo helpful! And I love how you give such good examples of how to respond gently to ourselves. You are my favorite meditation teacher by far, thank you!

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      I didn’t think about that until I made the video! And thank you, thank you for the kind words. It’s great that our paths have crossed. With love, Susan

  • Posted by:  J'aime

    Susan, I just watched this video today, but it was the perfect day for me to hear about Right Speech. Thanks <3

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