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Buddhist 12 Step Program matched to AA 12 Steps
Rod Butcher

First 4 Steps are defined in the “Four Noble Truths”:

1. All life contains suffering and unsatisfactoriness

(1) we admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanagable

2. Suffering is caused by craving (for base objects, goals, desires)

3. This Craving can be eliminated

(2) Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity

4. The key to the elimination of craving is “The Noble Eightfold Path”.

(3) Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him

The Noble Eightfold Path (ariya atthangika magga) is summarised as follows and defines steps 5 thru 12

1. Right view

  • understanding suffering
  • understanding its origin
  • understanding its cessation
  • understanding the way leading to its cessation.


(4) Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves

2. Right intention

  • intention of renunciation
  • intention of good will
  • intention of harmlessness


(5) Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

(6) Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character

(7) Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

3. Right speech

  • abstaining from false speech
  • abstaining from slanderous speech
  • abstaining from harsh speech
  • abstaining from idle chatter
4. Right action
  • abstaining from taking life
  • abstaining from stealing
  • abstaining from sexual misconduct

(8) Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

(9) Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

5. Right livelihood

  • giving up wrong livelihood
  • one earns one’s living by a right form of livelihood

6. Right effort

  • the effort to restrain defilements
  • the effort to abandon defilements
  • the effort to develop wholesome states
  • the effort to maintain wholesome states

(10) Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it

7. Right mindfulness

  • mindful contemplation of the body
  • mindful contemplation of feelings
  • mindful contemplation of the mind
  • mindful contemplation of phenomena

(11) Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

8. Right concentration

  • the first jhana
  • the second jhana
  • the third jhana
  • the fourth jhana

(12) Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our afairs.

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