Thank you Robby, that was a beautiful explanation of the 8 fold path.
Thank you Seishin. I reread the post, and am pretty much satisfied with it for now. One thing I would change -- I misspelled altar.
There are a few more points that robban might find useful. One thing, I do not care for a couple of the recent re-translations of the 8-fold path -- in particular 'right thought' and 'right memory'. I think the older translations as 'right aspiration' or 'right intention', and 'right mindfulness' or 'right remembrance', do a better job of conveying the Buddhist sense of the original terms.
I usually render the second 'fold' or branch -- right thought / intention / aspiration samyak sangkalpa 正思惟 -- as right goal or right purpose. Thought might be literally correct, but we are specifically talking about the conative aspect thought, rather than the cognitive. Specifically, sangkalpa, as used here, refers to purposeful or directed thought; our drives, ambitions, plans, dreams, and goals. That is my present understanding.
In contrast, the 1st 'fold' or branch, samyak ditthi / drishti 正見 refers to cognitive thought. View is a good translation of ditthi / drishti: as it literally means sight, and is used in a figurative sense. However, it should be clarified that it usually carries the sense of biased, limited, and partial opinions, viewpoints, or perspectives. Right View, the first branch of the path, corrects the 5 kinds of wrong or opinionated views. One's goals or purposes in life are rooted in one's views about life. If we have distorted views about life; then it follows that our purpose and goals are also distorted.
AFAIK, there are two kinds of right view taught in Buddhism, the mundane right view and the supra-mundane right view. The mundane right view is belief in karma, or volitional causality. The supra-mundane right view is the title of this thread: the Four Noble Truths. In the most basic form: existence is inherently suffering (painful, dissatisfying), there is an origin of suffering, there is a cessation of suffering, and there is a path leading to the cessation of suffering. This path is variously expressed as the 8-fold path, the 10-fold path, and the three core or higher trainings. Something like that.
At any rate, afaik, all of the Nichiren schools teach that our relative or individual suffering is due to our own karma, our volitional thoughts, words, and actions. It is possible to gradually change our karma for the better and enjoy a degree of relative satisfaction. The path to change one's karma for the better is putting the Three Great Hidden Dharmas into practice.
Moreover, we can also attain non-relative, or absolute, happiness, in this lifetime. In this sense, we suffer because our inherent Buddha Nature / Immaculate Consciousness is obscured by various afflictions or impediments, such as the four distortions, the four tainted influxes/effluents, the five obscuring veils, the three poisons, and so on. Rather than attempting to remove the various impediments, one at a time, one can Awaken the inner light of Buddha Nature directly; thus reversing the four distortions. by allowing the four inherent virtues to emerge from within. The The path to Awaken the Buddha Nature is putting the Three Great Hidden Dharmas into practice.