It has become fashionable these days to reduce the Noble Eightfold Path to —at most— its last two components: the ill-understood ‘mindfulness’ (Right Recollection) and meditation (Right Concentration). Instead of the full and complete Wheel of Dharma, we only want one or two ‘slices’, as if we were eating pizza on the run.
And then we are surprised when these ‘Dharma slices’ do not lead to happiness, when our ‘mindfulness’ is not stable and our meditation is neither deep nor helpful. Enlightenment on this ‘path’ is not even a remote possibility.
The Jonang Masters advise us to never skip any of the eight components of the Path, and to cultivate them in their proper order:
Without Right View, there is no Right Thought;
without Right Thought, there is no Right Speech;
without Right Speech, there is no Right Conduct;
without Right Conduct, there is no Right Livelihood;
without Right Livelihood, there is no Right Effort;
without Right Effort, there is no Right Recollection;
and without Right Recollection, there is no Right Concentration.
Of course, it is neither necessary nor prudent to postpone the cultivation of each component until the previous ones have been perfected, but it is absolutely indispensable to practice every one, and to recognize that without all of them, happiness, liberation, and enlightenment are impossible.