The Eightfold Path outlines the way the Buddha believed others could learn to live their lives to be able to be ready to find their own awakening experience. It is not meant to be eight steps, one building on the other, but rather eight lamps that help light the way as we live our lives and make decisions:
The Eightfold Path:
Wisdom / Prajna
Great View: To be able to awake, we must see the truth of the universe, how it operates, our lives and the nature of all things as transient, impermanent and without a lasting self or unchanging nature.
Great Understanding: When we understand that we create our view of the world, and through our attachments we create suffering of self and others, that we are part of the great flow of constant change, that we are connected, completely, it creates understanding of self, suffering, and the arising mind.
Ethical Conduct / Sila
Great Speech: We have constant opportunity to speak kindly, politely, and to spread support, love and understanding, in contrast to the harm we do to others through use of our communication and language. Being aware of how we speak with others creates awareness of what we put into the word around us.
Great Action: We aim to eliminate harmful actions and to do no harm to ourselves and others. In doing so, we create a mind of peace and compassion.
Great Livelihood: To be able to live in our world, we need to do things to survive. Trying to not focus on wealth at the expense of others suffering, to be fair to those who we gain our support from and to be supportive to those who work with and for us creates a better sense of community and harmony.
Concentration / Samadhi
Great Effort: It is not an easy thing to engage with this practice and live in this world, when so many around us do not share the same path. The practice of self reflection, meditation, and being open to changing ourselves requires strength and passion for the path, to come back to center when we stray and to try our best and not give up.
Great Mindfulness: Staying focused on each moment and understanding how the mind moves from the past experiences, to future hopes at the cost of the exact moment you are in. We aim to keep our mind and attention present, in the moment and to not be distracted by our impulses or desires.
Great Concentration: To be able to have an awareness of how our mind moves, how thoughts arise that lead to actions, takes ongoing, dedicated practice. This can be (typically) through meditation, but any practice that allows us to strengthen our concentration can be a Dharma Gate to your awakening.