Hi there. I'm new here and pretty new to buddhism but i've been reading a lot and i feel a lot of your problem has to do with some misinterpretations of possibly the language itself or otherwise, what the different folds of the eightfold paths are about.
I notice your idea of what awareness is not quite correct. I think you are using the word awareness when perceive might be a better word. Awareness is not just to observe, to see, something. Its bigger than than that. To be aware includes understanding, indeed, to have a correct understanding. Awareness in buddhism, as i understand it, is largely about self-awareness. AT least that's where it matters most - ie to understand yourself. And this you learn from meditation and mindfulness. To be aware of things whether its in yourself or some external situation is to have an accurate understanding of what is going on whether its something going on in your own personal experience ie why you are feeling angry, or in an external experience, ie whether those two people on the other side of the shouting at each are actually engaged in an argument, are rehearsing a play or just mucking about. To be aware is to know and
to understand. But it is "to know" and "to understand" what you are perceiving correctly, without your own projections, opinions, biases and so forth. I wonder if that's at all clear.
I think i've just said the same thing about five times there.
Then i think you are confused about right view
. I have this definition of right view and it works for me.
Right view is the beginning and the end of the path, it simply means to see and to understand things as they really are and to realise the Four Noble Truths. As such, right view is the cognitive aspect of wisdom. It means to see things through [or to see through things?], to grasp the impermanent and imperfect nature of worldly objects and ideas, and to understand the law of karma and karmic conditioning. Right view is not necessarily an intellectual capacity, just as wisdom is not just a matter of intelligence. Instead, right view is attained, sustained, and enhanced through all capacities of mind. It begins with the intuitive insight that all beings are subject to suffering and it ends with complete understanding of the true nature of all things. Since our view of the world forms our thoughts and our actions, right view yields right thoughts and right actions.
So as i understand it, right view is the buddha's world view. It's the big buddhist picture. This big picture is something we are aiming to acquire through our knowledge of buddhist teachings - which is easy, and also to know it through our experience which is more difficult. So we know cognitively what the right view is because we can read that paragraph above and understand what it says. The task is to acquire the right view and internalise it through our experience as practicing buddhists. So that in the end you will have the view of the world as the buddha had pretty much.
Back to your original questions...
To end suffering, we will need to practice this Noble Eightfold Path. However, the mindfulness practice in Satipatthana Sutta is also the direct path to liberation. What is the link between these two? How could Noble Eightfold path or mindfulness lead us to end of suffering?
I have to admit i don't know what satipatthana is but maybe my answer will help anyway since i understand what the eightfold path is. Is your question how does the 8fp lead to the end of suffering or how does mindfulness lead to the end of suffering. Well as has been said, mindfulness is one part of the eight folds of the path. Do you really understand what mindfulness is, I wonder?
AGain i will quote you what i have about right mindfulness.
7. Right Mindfulness
Right mindfulness is the controlled and perfected faculty of cognition. It is the mental ability to see things as they are, with clear consciousness. Usually, the cognitive process begins with an impression induced by perception, or by a thought, but then it does not stay with the mere impression. Instead, we almost always conceptualise sense impressions and thoughts immediately. We interpret them and set them in relation to other thoughts and experiences, which naturally go beyond the facticity of the original impression. The mind then posits concepts, joins concepts into constructs, and weaves those constructs into complex interpretative schemes. All this happens only half consciously, and as a result we often see things obscured. Right mindfulness is anchored in clear perception and it penetrates impressions without getting carried away. Right mindfulness enables us to be aware of the process of conceptualisation in a way that we actively observe and control the way our thoughts go. Buddha accounted for this as the four foundations of mindfulness: 1. contemplation of the body, 2. contemplation of feeling (repulsive, attractive, or neutral), 3. contemplation of the state of mind, and 4. contemplation of the phenomena.
ACtually you might not grasp that since english is not your first language so i will put it more simply. Its about interpretation of what we perceive. To interpret things incorrectly is not to be mindful. To not be aware of what we perceive (ie the thoughts that come up in our minds as we go about things) is to not be mindful. To be aware of all the thoughts that come up is to be mindful. To realise we interpret what we perceive is mindful. We interpret everything - that's what is meant by conceptualising in the above. Often, very very often, things are incorrectly interpreted. With mindfulness practice, and with guidance, we can learn first to be aware of what is going on in our heads and then to interpret it correctly or even not to interpret things at all. Sometimes its enough just to notice them - ie it might be enough to notice that we are starting to feel a bit agitated, or to notice that we are frustrated but we may choose not to do anything about those feelings and might choose not to look into them at the time. But i sometimes wonder if not interpreting things at all is even possible when you are actively engaged with other people because things happen so quickly. The example you gave or Mr A and Mr B are good examples of people misinterpreting and correctly interpreting the situations. So yes, awareness is correct perception and correct interpretation.
Do you have a mindfulness practice in your meditation. There is a book that explains how to go about it very very clearly. Its called Mindfulness in Plain English and its excellent. GEt hold of a copy if you haven't heard of it.
2. We practice meditation to develop the awareness (as I understand) to see thing the way it is. Where is this awareness in the Noble Eightfold Path (Right Mindfulness/Right Concentration)? Can we end suffering by practicing meditation only
Yes awareness is developed through meditiation - both mindfulness and concentration but especially mindfulness.Also i think just knowing the eightfold path can help with awareness. To realise that we have the option to think wholesome thoughts is awareness. KNowing this means that we can develop habits of thinking that are more wholesome than unwholesome. If you only practice mindfulness and concentration meditation adn don't practice mindfulness as you go about your daily life and you don't follow the other paths right intention, right speech etc, you won't - according to the buddha - be able to end suffering. I find it a bit of an odd question actually. It is possible to be correctly aware and mindful all the time but to ignore doing the right thing. If you don't do the right thing, or use right speech you will cause suffering for others. If you use harsh words at people, if you steal, if have bad intentions you will cause suffering. Its easy. So you need right intentions and mindfulness and concentration meditation are practices to help you develop habits of mind that will bring about right intentions, right speech and right effort.
I understand to get the most out of insight meditation which is mindfulness, you first need to develop a good practice of concentration type meditation.
If you haven't yet understood how the 8fold path can lead to the end of suffering, i really recommend you read one or two biographies of the buddha. I have read two both of which i have got a lot out of. One is Buddha by Karen Armstrong. The other is The End of Suffering by Pankaj Mishra. In this second book he has two chapters in the middle which explain really well (if you pay attention) the whole business of the buddha's philosopy. Armstrongs book is all over a better telling of the buddha's story but it doesn't go into so much detail of this eightfold path as i recall. I recommend you read them both. Armstrong deals very well with the subject of attachment and craving.
The whole purpose of the eightfold path is to learn how to give up craving because that is the source of suffering. All the aspects of the eightfold path will help you end craving. Once you can give up craving, you will be enlightened. Pretty much so anyway.
One more thing, right livelihood is this (see quote) not what you seem to think it is.
Right livelihood means that one should earn one's living in a righteous way and that wealth should be gained legally and peacefully. The Buddha mentions four specific activities that harm other beings and that one should avoid for this reason: 1. dealing in weapons, 2. dealing in living beings (including raising animals for slaughter as well as slave trade and prostitution), 3. working in meat production and butchery, and 4. selling intoxicants and poisons, such as alcohol and drugs. Furthermore any other occupation that would violate the principles of right speech and right action should be avoided.