Chapter 1: The Eightfold Way
Exactly the same is true about right and wrong. Right is one. Wrongs are millions; you can go on inventing wrongs. Right cannot be invented; it does not depend on you. Right is a state of affairs where you are in tune with the whole. That is the meaning of health too: when you are in tune with the whole you are healthy. The music flows between you and the whole, there is no obstruction. You feel a well-being. There is no noise, everything is in harmony. When the individual is in tune with the universal, right exists, health exists. When you fall out of tune then so many wrongs arise - there is no limit to them, they are endless. And you can invent new wrongs.
Humanity has invented many new diseases which were not prevalent before. In the old scriptures, ayurvedic scriptures, many diseases are not mentioned. People think they are not mentioned because ayurveda was not yet enough of a science, so they could not diagnose those diseases. That is not true; ayurveda became a perfect science. But those diseases were not in existence, so how can you diagnose a disease which doesn’t exist? They were nonexistential. There were a few diseases which existed only for rich people, very rich people. They were called royal diseases. Tuberculosis was called “royal.” It was not an ordinary disease. Now the whole world has become royal; now the whole world suffers from richness, affluence. Leisure has made many things available, many new diseases available.
Cancer is a very new disease. It can exist only when the mind is very worried, when worry becomes like a wound. And around that subtle wound in the psyche arises a disease in the body corresponding to it. That’s what cancer is: That’s why cancer seems to be incurable. There is no way to cure it from the body side. It can be cured only from the mind side because basically it arises there.
Each age has its own diseases, each age has its own vices, and each age invents its own sins. But virtue is ageless, timeless. Sainthood has nothing to do with any age, time period. It is not historical, it is existential.
Buddha says: Right is that which is not your invention. It is already there. If you go away from it you are wrong, if you come close to it you are right. The more close you are, the more right you are. One day, when you are exactly home, you are perfectly right. Samyak and samadhi both come from the same root sam. Samyak is the step towards samadhi. If you don’t understand samyak, you will not be able to understand samadhi.
So seven steps ultimately lead to the final step. Samadhi means: now everything has fallen in tune with existence. Not a flaw exists; the music is utterly perfect. But there is no better word in English than “right,” so you have to understand it. “Right” in the Buddhist meaning of the term means: balanced, centered, grounded, harmonious, tranquil - all of these things. But the basic thing can be understood even if there is no synonymous term in English to translate it.