My only previous comment about the Noble Eightfold Path was to say that one can’t practice Right View or Right anything until one has surrendered one’s ego to your true Buddha nature, because if the ego, one’s learned experience, is still an active force it will intervene by generating thoughts/obstructions which commandeer us and pull us away from our true Buddha nature, from which flows the various Right aspects.
As will be obvious if you’ve been reading my posts, by this I do not mean that following the Noble Eightfold Path is dependent on successfully freeing oneself from all intervention of your ego thinking-mind. That comes only with full enlightenment. But as one makes this vow and slowly increases the circle of your life which is relatively free of the intervention of your ego thinking-mind, you will become more and more able to make progress on the path.
So let me briefly discuss the eight parts of this path, all of which are to be found in other aspects of the Buddha’s teaching.
Right View - This is understanding the truth of the dependent arising of all things, especially the five skandhas. Coming to understand this truth, first intellectually and as your practice deepens internally, in your gut, opens the door to the other parts of the path as well as to the Four Noble Truths.
Right Intention - This is the intention to free oneself from all the cravings that cause our suffering. It can also be seen as the intention to live one’s life consistent with the Five Precepts.
Right Speech, Right Action, and Right Livelihood - These are pretty self-explanatory when thought of as speech, action, and livelihood that is consistent with the Five Precepts. Together they also constitute Virtuous Conduct which is one of the Six Paramitas.
Right Effort - This is the effort we make in freeing ourselves from unwholesome states and developing wholesome states. Meditation, and putting the awareness we have during meditation into practice in our daily lives, is the centerpiece of Right Effort.
Right Mindfulness - Mindfulness is being aware of the emptiness of all five skandhas and experiencing everything in life with dispassion, free of the intervention of our thinking mind. The skandhas, or aggregates as they are often called, thus do not become “clinging aggregates” which are the cause of our craving and suffering.
Right Concentration - This is a level of meditation which proceeds in the Buddha dharma through four stages. While on first reading this sounds like it's the meditation of a monk, a bhikkhu, closer thought reveals that it is something that all who walk the path can aspire to. It begins with a stage free of all sensual craving and unwholesome states with happiness and pleasure born of seclusion from these states and ends with a stage free of pleasure and pain, as well as joy and grief, a pure state of perfect equanimity.
This does not mean that the meditator is a zombie with no feeling. What these words mean is that one no longer labels experiences joy or grief, pain or pleasure. The experiences are still there; but one experiences things directly as they are, free of labels, free of thought.
As the ancient Chinese poem "Affirming Faith in Mind" says, "For as it is, whole and complete, this sense world is enlightenment." The point is that when we are aware of the emptiness of all five skandhas and experience things just as they are, free of our thinking mind, that is nirvana … we are free of fear and obstructions, free of confused illusions. Thus we are at peace and content, suffering and doubt cease.
These steps are ones that all of us walking the path can aspire to and make incremental progress on as our practice deepens.