The Ten fold Path
The main purpose and meaning behind the Eightfold Path is to help us meet an end to our clinging and suffering which are caused by clinging.
The Buddha, in his message, described the fulfillment of this purpose, also mentioned a Tenfold Path occasionally.
In this expanded list, Right knowledge and Right release are further mentioned after the more familiar list of the eight previous factors.
When The Buddha's Eightfold Path guides us to rid ourselves of clinging and suffering in our lives, Right Knowledge is the insight that helps to bring out the Right release from the suffering.
The path of Right Knowledge is neither a truth that is abstract nor is something we learn from a teaching; nor is it supernatural or mystical. In some ways, Right Knowledge is also well represented in the Buddha Heads. Being an extension of the Eightfold Path, Right Knowledge represents the primary benefits experienced through living the path and suffering experienced when we do not live the path. The advantages consist of having greater amount of peace, compassion, well-being, integrity and spiritual liberty. The suffering consists of fear, greed, hostility, agitation and conceit. The better the benefits make us experience, the clear are the differences that we see between being attached and being liberated, i.e. between having ill will and having goodwill, and having ethical integrity and not having ethical integrity. When we start to make various choices, the agitated and contracted states of clinging begin their influence and power over us and we learn that they are not necessary and have overcome its appeal to us. Gradually, we begin to see and live healthy alternatives and those painful states begin to decrease in strength and frequency.
Similarly, the understanding and the knowledge we gain from directly living through the absence of our suffering is Right Knowledge. The more the Eightfold Path attenuates suffering and pain, the better we get to know that clinging causes suffering. Also, going through the peaceful and happy states of mind that come from the absence of clinging makes us increasingly sensitive to the reappearance of clinging, even in its most subtle forms. It is clear that attacking, resisting, attacking and other ways of clinging are full of pain and cause no good to us.
Right knowledge also contains recognizing that having the ability to let go of clinging is more reliable and trustworthy. We do not need to fear it even if we are releasing our most precious and meaningful attachments. The liberation from clinging will not diminish us but it guides us to some of the most beneficial states of minds that humans can experience.
Right Knowledge leads us to show how all of our conceptions and way of thinking are constantly in flux through the mindfulness and concentration factors of the Eightfold Path. Extending from the Eightfold Path, the unstable appearance and disappearance which cannot provide the peace we seek, Right Knowledge sets the stage for a liberated mind and the basis of liberation is sought from release.
Right release is then introduced by Right knowledge by helping our mind to relax and appreciate the process of letting go of clinging. The Knowledge of suffering caused by clinging brings the reluctance to cling. This knowledge of realization leads us to know that letting go clinging is a step towards attaining peace.
Right Release varies from normal letting go by being more lasting and effective. It can also be defined as stopping of clinging so clearly that Right Knowledge then becomes a knowing that is always in front of us. We begin the ways of the mind as we are released ourselves from the clinging which causes so much pain to us and our mind.
The Eightfold path is called a Noble Path as it represents the integrity and dignity of one's mind. Because it is not based on any beliefs, people who walk and are led through this path are not the champions of Buddhism, instead they are champions in overcoming clinging and getting rid of suffering from their mind. They do not create conflict and practicing this path opens up one’s mind, heart, hand and soul. May this openness benefit the whole world.