the eightfold path

Recovery Dharma

The Eightfold path

The Buddha taught that by living ethically, practicing meditation, and developing wisdom and compassion, we can end the suffering that is created by resisting, running from, and misunderstanding reality.


We have found that these practices and principles can end the suffering of addiction. The Eightfold Path helps us find our way in recovery and consists of the following:


  1. Wise Understanding
  2. Wise Intention 
  3. Wise Speech 
  4. Wise Action 
  5. Wise Livelihood 
  6. Wise Effort 
  7. Wise Mindfulness 
  8. Wise Concentration 

Click here for a printable version of this reading

Ways to practice with the eightfold path

Many of us are familiar with this reading because it is often read at the beginning of Recovery Dharma Meetings. The next step, however, is to work with the path as a focus for practice. Here are a few suggestions.


Use inquiry practice with the Four Noble Truths to help identify, and practice letting go of, addictive behaviors and substances.


The practice of meditation helps us to embody our understanding of the wisdom portion of the path, and to review our actions with clarity and compassion.


We listen to, and participate in discussions about, the Eightfold Path to help deepen our understanding and insight.

The Path

We spend time reading, studying and asking others about their experience with their practice with the Eightfold Path.

Inquiry and Investigation

We engage in the practice of Inquiry to help us become more intimately familiar with our own experiences of the teachings found in the Eightfold Path.

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Sangha, Wise Friends, Mentors

We take refuge in the support of wise friends and mentors as we explore the insights of the Eightfold Path, and review our actions with kindness and clarity.


We deepen our understanding of the Eightfold Path through reading, meditation, inquiry, seeking other sources of wisdom, and finding the connection with the other aspects of the path.

The Truth

Many of us have spent our lives beating ourselves up. In this program, we renounce violence and doing harm, including the harm and violence we do to ourselves. We believe in the healing power of forgiveness. We put our trust in our own potential to awaken and recover, in the Four Noble Truths of the Buddha, and in the people we meet and connect with in meetings and throughout our journey in recovery.

– Recovery Dharma, Page


We take refuge in our own capacity to heal and recover

Buddha Practice

We cultivate a deeper connection with ourselves through meditation, inquiry, and renunciation of harmful and intoxicating behaviors and substances.


(The Path) We seek refuge in the Buddhist teachings of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path.

Dharma Practice

We deepen our understanding of these principles through, studying these teachings.


(Community) We find refuge within the community of others who are walking this path with us.

Sangha Practice

We attend meetings and cultivate deeper connections with Wise Friends and Mentors.

A Daily Reflection

“We’ve found that it’s useful to make inquiry and investigation a normal part of our everyday routine, especially when we’re feeling uncomfortable emotions or facing tough decisions. We can take a moment to pause and sit with whatever it is we’re experiencing, identify our situation, and just allow it to be there, with compassion and without judgment, and then use the Eightfold Path as a guide to go inward and forward. In any situation, we can ask ourselves: “How can I apply the Eightfold Path?” It can also be beneficial to use the different parts of the Eightfold Path as an end-of-day reflection..”

– Recovery Dharma, Page 21