Buddha does use the word “right” but it is not in the sense that you are damned by God if you don’t take his recommendations. It is more in the sense of what is most appropriate for the moment. Here is the Noble Eighfold Path:
- Right understanding
- Right thought
- Right speech
- Right action
- Right livelihood
- Right effort
- Right mindfulness
- Right concentration
Because they are so simple, people can interpret these concepts in different ways. Huge volumes have been written on the subject. My interpretation, in short, is approach everything with a free, pure, unattached heart. This ensures that we say the appropriate words as well as perform appropriate actions. We consciously put our efforts towards meaningful goals while remaining grounded in what is eternal about ourselves.
Four of the ideas in The Noble Eightfold Path concern themselves with our inner selves: Understanding, thought, mindfulness, and concentration. This is different from the Ten Commandments, which do not concern themselves with a person’s inner life and more with their relationship to Jehovah and with each other.
Four of the items on the Path are action-oriented: Speech, action, livelihood, and effort. The Buddha did not leave anything out. And by not defining precisely what each “right” thought or action is, he left a lot of room for interpretation. But the final test is, by living this way do you alleviate suffering? Thousands of years after he delivered his insights, they are still alive and bringing people and understanding of life, so they have stood the test of time.