#320 The Buddha’s 8-Part Manual for a Good Life | Brother Pháp Dung
Today we’re talking about one of the Buddha’s first and most important lists: the Eightfold Path. I’m kinda surprised we’ve never done a deep dive into this list on the show before, but better late than never. Some context before we dive in: The Buddha, as many of you know, was a congenital listmaker. His first and foundational list was the Four Noble Truths. This is the list that begins with “life is suffering” -- which is something of a mistranslation; it basically means that life will be unsatisfying if you are constantly clinging to things that will not last, given the nonnegotiable fact of relentless impermanence. The second noble truth is that the cause of our suffering is thirst or clinging. The third is that there is a way out of this mess. And the fourth is a sort of manual for waking up and suffering less. That fourth noble truth is the Eightfold path. It’s a list within a list. And to help us unpack it all is a fascinating person named Brother Phap Dung. He was born in Vietnam, came to the US with his family as a child refugee, and raised in LA. He later trained in architecture at USC before becoming a monk under his teacher, a towering figure in modern Buddhism named Thich Nhat Hanh. Phap Dung has a fascinating critique of our capitalist, consumerist culture. He’s not saying that we should opt out, just that we can use the Eightfold Path to create a different relationship to it all. So we dive into all of that in this chat -- but we begin with his personal story, which involves family strife and a lot of skepticism.
Where to find Brother Pháp Dung online:
On the Plum Village Website: