They seem to be both elements that promote a healthy perception about things in life. I have a hard time differentiating between one and the other.

  • 1
    Famous quote: "Greed for views tend not toward edification."
    – user2341
    Jun 4, 2017 at 17:34

7 Answers 7


Samma Sankappa (right thinking) is the result of right view (Samma Ditthi). If you have the wrong view your thinking will be wrong thinking. (Mittcha Sankappa) Generally, right view is the forerunner for the rest of the Noble Eightfold Path. For example seeing things as impermanent is the right view and seeing things as permanent is the wrong view. With the first, you have the thoughts of renunciation and with the second you have the thought of accumulation.

Of those, right view is the forerunner. And how is right view the forerunner? In one of right view, right thinking comes into being. In one of right thinking, right speech comes into being. In one of right speech, right action... In one of right action, right livelihood... In one of right livelihood, right effort... In one of right effort, right mindfulness... In one of right mindfulness, right concentration... In one of right concentration, right knowledge... In one of right knowledge, right liberation comes into being.

MN 117

  • Could you say then define right thinking as successful right view? From the way you explain it, it seems there is nothing to right thinking other than right view.
    – Bar Akiva
    Jun 4, 2017 at 11:45

Samma sankappa (right thinking) is the result of right view (samma ditthi). If you have the wrong view, your thinking will be wrong thinking (miccha sankappa). Generally, right view is the forerunner for the rest of the Noble Eightfold Path.

For example, seeing craving (tanha) as a cause of suffering & something to be abandoned is the right view and seeing craving as beneficial is the wrong view. With the first, you have the thoughts of renunciation of craving (including when practising Anapanasati - mindfulness with/when breathing - meditation) and with the second you have the thought of accumulation of jhanas (which hinders meditation progress).

There is the case where a monk develops mindfulness as a factor for awakening dependent on seclusion, dependent on dispassion, dependent on cessation, resulting in relinquishment (vossagga). Anapanasati Sutta

And what is the faculty of concentration? There is the case where a monk, a disciple of the noble ones, making letting go (vossagga) the meditation object, attains concentration, attains singleness of mind. Indriya-vibhanga Sutta


To get to know the difference between right thinking (Samma Sankappa) and right view (Samma Ditti), it is important to first understand what these two terms mean. Therein, in this very understanding lies relationship between these two words, and the difference. There’s a two-fold meaning to both: there is a mundane (lokiya) level and a supra-mundane (lokottara) level meaning to both. I will describe the higher states of both.

One attains the higher (Ariya) Samma Ditthi when one gets to know to a certain extent the meaning of anicca, dukkha, anatta. When one arrives at this ‘right view’, one has come to reject all immoral acts because one’s mind sees the futility as well as the danger of such acts. At this point one’s mind will be changed so that one will not act even impulsively, let alone capable of pre-planning an act that could yield rebirth in the lower realms.

To better understand the key words in the Sutta Pitaka – the first basket, one has to look into the third basket - the Abhidhamma Pitaka of the Tipitaka, the Pali Canon. It lists 19 universal moral cetasika that can arise in anyone with true comprehension of anicca, dukkha, anatta (Samma Ditti). Of that, there are seven universal cetasika (mental factors) that arise with each and every citta (thought). The more ‘panna’ (Samma Ditti) one has, the more one would generate amoha thoughts and come to Samma Sankappa.

Buddha said “dhammo ha vé rakkati dhammacari” or “dhamma will guide one in the direction of dhamma that one follows”. Vitakka (focused application of thoughts), when cultivated in the Dhamma Path become samma sankappa. Thus Samma Ditthi leads to the next step in the Noble Eightfold Path: Samma Sankappa.

“Samma” means “san” (adding things to perpetuate the suffering/rebirth process) + “ma” (remove or get rid of). Thus Samma Ditthi is the vision (anicca, dukkha, anatta) that helps removing “san“; Samma Sankappa are the thoughts that help remove ‘san“; Samma Vaca is the kind of speech that helps remove ‘san“, etc.


Maybe that's illustrated by the answers to "How are 'conceit' and 'identity-view' not the same?"

A "view" is a belief, I think it's relatively long-lasting, it's taking something to be true.

Whereas "thinking" is more like the arising of a thought, maybe relatively short-lasting, perhaps more like an experience (experiencing an emotion or experiencing a thought) than a semi-permanent belief.

Also I'm not even sure what you mean by "right thinking" ... it's obviously an English-language translation but I'm not sure what it's a translation of!

Both other answers say it's a translation of samma sankappo, which I understand to mean "right intention" or "right resolve".

I think the doctrine makes sense with that translation: intention follows from (or follows after) view or belief.

For example, "I view chocolate as good (or I believe that chocolate is good), therefore I intend to eat as much chocolate as possible". Or, "I view identity-view as a source of suffering, therefore I intend to not cling to (or to abandon) views of self."

(Wrong intention follows from wrong view, and right intention follows from right view).

Another (less likely) possibility is that "thinking" might be a translation of the whole "mind" branch of the threefold training, so perhaps including right mindfulness and right concentration. "Thinking" isn't a very precise term in English.

So anyway, the distinction might be clearer if you stopped relying on the term "right thinking" as the correct translation of whatever it is you're thinking of (or referring to), and instead use the original term (e.g. samma sankappo) or a different translation (e.g. "right intention").

Disclaimer: by the way you added the tag to the question, however I tried to answer this based on my understanding of the Pali canon, not based on Zen doctrine.

  • 1
    Perhaps a good analogy is that Right View is like having correct axioms, and right thinking is what one can reason about or prove using logic? Axioms alone don't get one very far, no matter how correct they might be.
    – user2341
    Jun 4, 2017 at 14:14
  • 1
    IMO another analogy is that "view" is like view-point: e.g. if you're on a hill-top you see things differently, have a different perspective on things, that you do from in the river-valley. Another analogy is that right view is a technique for solving problems: in that wrong view leads to problems or fails to escape from problems.
    – ChrisW
    Jun 4, 2017 at 15:32

Sankappo is thought, intention, purpose, plan. Samma Sankappa is right thinking. This is by abandoning negative thoughts. The forerunner of this is right view or belief. You should cultivate a conducive belief system which leads to positive thoughts. They are very much related but not the same. E.g. If you believe in hunting or fishing as a sport or for food has no karmic consequences, then you develop harmful thoughts towards these creatures which you can to kill or eat.

Sankappa, aka: Saṅkappa

Saṅkappa, (saṃ+kḷp, cp. kappeti fig. meaning) thought, intention, purpose, plan D. III, 215; S. II, 143 sq.; A. I, 281; II, 36; Dh. 74; Sn. 154, 1144; Nd1 616 (=vitakka ñāṇa paññā buddhi); Dhs. 21; DhA. II, 78. As equivalent of vitakka also at D. III, 215; A. IV, 385; Dhs. 7.—kāma° a lustful thought A. III, 259; V, 31. paripuṇṇa° having one’s intentions fulfilled M. I, 192; III, 276; D. III, 42; A. V, 92, 97 sq.; sara° memories & hopes M. I, 453; S. IV, 76; vyāpāda°, vihiṃsa°, malicious, cruel purposes, M. II, 27 sq.; sammā° right thoughts or intentions, one of the aṅgas of the 8—fold Path (ariya-magga) Vin. I, 10; D. II, 312; A. III, 140; VbhA. 117. Saṅkappa is defd at DhsA. 124 as (cetaso) abhiniropanā, i.e. application of the mind. See on term also Cpd. 238. (Page 662)

Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary

saṅkappa : (m.) intention; purpose.

BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Right: sammā-sankappa (“thought”); .s. sacca, magga.

Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines 'thought', is a synonym of vitakka. For sammā-s., or right thought, s. magga (2).

Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines

Samma Sankappa, aka: Right Thought, Right Intention, Right Intent

Right Thought is associated with seeing how our thoughts and emotions are closely linked, and how indulging in negative forms of thought leads to the development of negative emotions such as hatred and jealousy. Conversely, thinking in a positive way has an effect on our emotions, whereby we start to become more loving, more caring, and more sensitive to others.

Shambala Publications: General

right thinking;

Samma sankappa has to arise together with samma ditthi, right understanding, in order to be a factor of the eightfold Path.

Dhamma Study: Cetasikas

Right thought and intent; avoiding desire and ill will; the second of the Eightfold Path.

Buddhist Door: Glossary

Ditthi, aka: Diṭṭhi

Diṭṭhi, (f.) (Sk. dṛṣṭi; cp. dassana) view, belief, dogma, theory, speculation, esp. false theory, groundless or unfounded opinion.—(a) The latter is rejected by the Buddha as pāpa° (A.IV, 172) and pāpikā d. (opp. bhaddikā: A.V, 212 sq.; It.26): Vin.I, 98, 323; Dh.164; Pv IV.354; whereas the right, the true, the best doctrine is as sammā d. the first condition to be complied with by anyone entering the Path. As such the sammā d. is opposed to micchā d. wrong views or heresy (see b). Equivalent with micchā d. is kudiṭṭhi (late) Dāvs II.58.—(b) Characterized more especially as: (a) sammā diṭṭhi right doctrine, right philosophy Vin.I, 10; S.II, 17; V, 11, 14, 30 sq., 458 sq., M.I, 315; II, 12, 29, 87; III, 72; Nd2 485; Vbh.104 sq. See magga.—ujukā d. S.V, 143, 165; ujugatā d. M.I, 46 sq.—(b) micchā d. wrong theory, false doctrine S.I, 145; II, 153 (caused by avijjā); M.III, 71; Dh.167, 316; Nd2 271IIIb; Vbh.361, 389.—The foll. theories are to be considered as varieties of micchā d., viz. (in limited enumn) akiriyavāda S.III, 208; IV, 349; aññaṃ aññena S.III, 211; antaggāhikā A.I, 154; II, 240; III, 130; antânantikā D.I, 22 sq. S.III, 214, 258 sq.; assāda° A.III, 447; ahetukavādā S.III, 210; ucchedavādā D.I, 34; S.II, 20; III, 99; 110 sq.; bhava° S.III, 93; M.I, 65; A.I, 83; sakkāya° A.III, 438; V, 144; Sn.231 (cp. KhA 188); Nd2 271IIIb (20 fold, as diṭṭhilepa); sassatavādā D.I, 13; S.II, 20; III, 98, 213 sq., 258 sq.—(c) Various theories & doctrines are mentioned & discussed at: Vin.I, 115; S.I, 133; II, 61 sq., 75 sq., 222; III, 215 sq., 258 sq.; IV, 286; V, 448 (=D.I, 31); D.III, 13 sq., 45, 246, 267; M.I, 40; A.I, 32; II, 252 sq.; III, 132, 289, 349; Th.2, 184; Ps.I, 135 sq.; Pug.22; Dhs.392, 1003 (cp. Dhs. trsl. pp. 257 sq., 293, 325); Vbh.145, 245, 341, 393 sq.; Sdhp.13, 333.—(d) Miscellaneous: 4 diṭṭhiyo at Vbh.376; also at Vism.511 (sakkāya°, uccheda°, sassata°, akiriya°); 5 Vbh.378; 6 at M.I, 8; Vbh.382; 7 at Vbh.383; 20 see under sakkāya°; 62 under diṭṭhigata.—In series diṭṭhi khanti ruci laddhi characterizing “diṭṭhadhamma” at Nd2 299 & passim. Diṭṭhiyā sutiyā ñāṇena in def. of a theory of cognition at Nd2 300 as complementing taṇhā: see taṇhā B 3. Coupled with vācā & citta in formula (taṃ) vācaṃ appahāya cittaṃ appahāya diṭṭhiṃ appaṭinissajjitvā ... (nikkhitto evaṃ niraye) at S.IV, 319= D.III, 13, 15; combd with (& opposed to) sīla (as pāpaka & bhaddaka) at It.26, 27.—diṭṭhiṃ āsevati to hold a view M.I, 323; °ṃ bhindati to give up a view J.I, 273; Dāvs II.58.

—ânugati a sign of speculation Vin.II, 108; S.II, 203; Pug.33.—ânusaya inclination to speculation D.III, 254, 282; S.V, 60; A.IV, 9;—āsava the intoxicant of speculation, the 3rd of four āsavā, viz. kāma°, bhava°, d.°, avijjā° Vin.III, 5; Nd2 134; Dhs.1099, 1448; Vbh.373; cp. °ogha;—upadānā taking up or adhering to false doctrines, the 2nd of the four upādānāni or attachments, viz. kāma°, d.°, sīlabbata°, attavāda° D.III, 230; Dhs.1215, 1536;—ogha the flood of false doctrine, in set of four ogha’s as under °āsava D.III, 230, 276; Nd2 178;—kantāra the wilderness of groundless speculation Dhs.381, 1003, 1099, etc.; see °gata;—gaṇṭhi the web or tangle of sophisticism VvA.297; cp. °saṅghāṭa;—gata (nt.) “resorting to views, ” theory, groundless opinion, false doctrine, often followed by series of characterizing epithets: d.—gahana, °kantāra, °visūka, °vipphandita, °saññojana, e.g. M.I, 8; Nd2 271IIIb. Of these sophistical speculations 2 are mentioned at It.43, Ps.I, 129; 6 at Ps.I, 130; 62 (the usual number, expressing “great and small” sets, cp. dvi A.II, ) at D.I, 12—39 (in detail); S.IV, 286; Ps.I, 130; Nd2 271IIIb; Nett 96, 112, 160. ‹-› Vin.I, 49; D.I, 162, 224, 226; S.I, 135, 142; II, 230; III, 109, 258 sq. (anekavihitāni); IV, 286 (id.); M.I, 8, 176, 256 sq. (pāpaka), 326 (id.), 426 sq.; A.IV, 68; V, 72 sq., 194 (pāpaka); Sn.649, 834, 913; Pug.15; Dhs.277, 339, 392, 505; Vism.454.—adj. °gatika adhering to (false) doctrine Dpvs VI, 25;—gahana the thicket of speculation Dhs.381, 1003; see °gata;—jāla the net of sophistry D.I, 46; DA.I, 129;—ṭṭhāna a tenet of speculative philosophy D.I, 16; M.I, 136; A.V, 198; Ps.I, 138 (eight); Miln.332; DA.I, 107;—nijjhānakkhanti forbearance with wrong views S.II, 115; IV, 139; A.I, 189 sq.; II, 191; Nd2 151;—nipāta a glance VvA.279;—nissaya the foundation of speculation M.I, 137; D.II, 137 sq.;—pakkha the side or party of sophists Nett 53, 88, 160;—paṭilābha the attainment of speculation M.III, 46;—paṭivedha=prec. D.III, 253;—patta one who has formed (a right or wrong) view D.III, 105, 254; M.I, 439; A.I, 74; 118, IV.10; V, 23;—parāmasa perversion by false doctrine Dhs.1498;—maṇḍala the circle of speculative dogmatics DhsA.109;—vipatti failure in theory, the 3rd of the four vipattiyo viz. sīla°, ācāra°, d.°, ājīva°; opp. °sampadā Vin.V, 98; D.III, 213; A.I, 95, 268; Pug.21; Dhs.1362; Vbh.361;—vipallāsa contortion of views A.II, 52;—visaṃyoga disconnection with false doctrine D.III, 230, 276;—visuddhi beauty of right theory A.I, 95; M.I, 147 sq.; D.III, 214, 288;—visūka (nt.) the discord or disunion (lit. the going into parties) of theories, the (?) puppet-show of opinion M.I, 8, 486; Sn.55 (=dvāsaṭṭhi diṭṭhigatāni), K S.II, 44; Vv 8426; Pv IV.137; Nd2 301 (=vīsati-vattukā sakkāyadiṭṭhi); cp. Nd2 25 (attānudiṭṭhi); Dhs.381 (cp. Dhs. trsl. p. 101), 1003, 1099. See also °gata;—vyasana failing or misfortune in theory (+sīla°, in character) D.III, 235; Nd2 304;—saṃyojana the fetter or bond of empty speculation (cp. °anusaya) D.III, 254; A.IV, 7 sq.;—saṅghāta the weft or tangle of wrong views (cp. °gaṇṭhi) Nd1 343; Nd2 503;—samudaya the origin of wrong views A.IV, 68;—sampadā success in theory, blessing of right views, attainment of truth D.III, 213; 235 (opp. °vipatti), S.V, 30 sq.; A.I, 95, 269; III, 438; IV, 238; Pug.25; Dhs.1364; VvA.297;—sampanna endowed with right views S.II, 43, 58, 80; V, 11; A.III, 438 sq.; IV, 394; Vbh.366; Dialogues iii.206, n. 10;—sārin (adj.) following wrong views Sn.911. (Page 321)

Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary

diṭṭhi : (f.) dogma; theory; belief.

BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Ditthi means 'wrong view'.

This is Myanmar: The Doctrine of Paticcasammupada

(lit. 'sight'; Ö dis, to see): view, belief, speculative opinion, insight. If not qualified by sammā, 'right', it mostly refers to wrong and evil view or opinion, and only in a few instances to right view, understanding or insight (e.g. ditthi-ppatta, q.v.; ditthi-visuddhi, purification of insight; ditthi-sampanna, possessed of insight).

Wrong or evil views (ditthi or micchā-ditthi) are declared as utterly rejectable for being a source of wrong and evil aspirations and conduct, and liable at times to lead man to the deepest abysses of depravity, as it is said in A. I, 22:

"No other thing than evil views do I know, o monks, whereby to such an extent the unwholesome things not yet arisen arise, and the unwholesome things already arisen are brought to growth and fullness. No other thing than evil views do I know, whereby to such an extent the wholesome things not yet arisen are hindered in their arising, and the wholesome things already arisen disappear. No other thing than evil views do I know, whereby to such an extent human beings at the dissolution of the body, at death, are passing to a way of suffering, into a world of woe, into hell." Further in A. I, 23: "Whatever a man filled with evil views performs or undertakes, or whatever he possesses of will, aspiration, longing and tendencies, all these things lead him to an undesirable, unpleasant and disagreeable state, to woe and suffering."

From the Abhidhamma (Dhs) it may be inferred that evil views, whenever they arise, are associated with greed (s. Tab. I. 22, 23, 26, 27).

Numerous speculative opinions and theories, which at all times have influenced and still are influencing mankind, are quoted in the sutta-texts. Amongst them, however, the wrong view which everywhere, and at all times, has most misled and deluded mankind is the personality-belief, the ego-illusion. This personality-belief (sakkāya-ditthi), or ego-illusion (atta-ditthi), is of 2 kinds: eternity-belief and annihilation-belief.

Eternity-belief (sassata-ditthi) is the belief in the existence of a persisting ego-entity, soul or personality, existing independently of those physical and mental processes that constitute life and continuing even after death.

Annihilation-belief (uccheda-ditthi), on the other hand, is the belief in the existence of an ego-entity or personality as being more or less identical with those physical and mental processes, and which therefore, at the dissolution at death, will come to be annihilated. - For the 20 kinds of personality-belief, see sakkāya-ditthi.

Now, the Buddha neither teaches a personality which will continue after death, nor does he teach a personality which will be annihilated at death, but he shows us that 'personality', 'ego', 'individual', 'man', etc., are nothing but mere conventional designations (vohāra-vacana) and that in the ultimate sense (s. paramattha-sacca) there is only this self-consuming process of physical and mental phenomena which continually arise and again disappear immediately. For further details, s. anattā, khandha, paticcasamuppāda.

"The Perfect One is free from any theory (ditthigata), for the Perfect One has seen what corporeality is, and how it arises and passes away. He has seen what feeling ... perception ... mental formations ... consciousness are, and how they arise and pass away. Therefore I say that the Perfect One has won complete deliverance through the extinction, fading away, disappearance, rejection and casting out of all imaginings and conjectures, of all inclination to the 'vain-glory of 'I' and 'mine." (M. 72).

The rejection of speculative views and theories is a prominent feature in a chapter of the Sutta-Nipāta, the Atthaka-Vagga. The so-called 'evil views with fixed destiny' (niyata-micchāditthi) constituting the last of the 10 unwholesome courses of action (kammapatha), are the following three:

(1) the fatalistic 'view of the uncaused ness' of existence (ahetukaditthi),

(2) the view of the inefficacy of action' (akiriyaditthi),

(3) nihilism (natthikaditthi).

(1) was taught by Makkhali-Gosāla, a contemporary of the Buddha who denied every cause for the corruptness and purity of beings, and asserted that everything is minutely predestined by fate.

(2) was taught by Pūrana-Kassapa, another contemporary of the Buddha who denied every karmical effect of good and bad actions: "To him who kills, steals, robs, etc., nothing bad will happen. For generosity, self-restraint and truthfulness, etc. no reward is to be expected."

(3) was taught by Ajita-Kesakambali, a third contemporary of the Buddha who asserted that any belief in good action and its reward is a mere delusion, that after death no further life would follow, that man at death would become dissolved into the elements, etc.

For further details about these 3 views, s. D.2, M.60; commentarial exposition in WHEEL 98/99, P. 23.

Frequently mentioned are also the 10 antinomies (antagāhikā micchā-ditthi): 'Finite is the world' or 'infinite is the world' ... 'body and soul are identical' or 'body and soul are different' (e.g. M. 63). In the Brahmājala Sutta .(D.1), 62 false views are classified and described, comprising all conceivable wrong views and speculations about man and world. See The All-Embracing Net of Views (Brahmājala Sutta), tr. with Com. by Bhikkhu Bodhi (BPS).

Further s. D.15, D.23, M.24, D.28; M.11, M.12, M.25, M.60, M.63, M.72, M.76, M.101, M.102, M.110; A.II.16; A.X.93; S.XXI, S.XXIV; Pts.M. Ditthikathā, etc. Wrong views (ditthi) are one of the proclivities (s. anusaya), cankers (s. āsava), clingings (s. upādāna), one of the three modes of perversions (s. vipallāsa). Unwholesome consciousness (akusala citta), rooted in greed, may be either with or without wrong views (ditthigata-sampayutta or vippayutta); s. Dhs.; Tab I.

On right view (sammā-ditthi), s. magga and M.9 (Trans. with Com. in 'R. Und.').

Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines

Part of the Lobha Team.

Wrong View;

Ditthi is wrong view. It advises citta to see objects differently instead of seeing as realities. As ditthi cannot see realities, it see dhamma as men, woman, animals etc etc. This wrong view leads to more and more lobha and may switch to other akusala cittas.

Journey to Nibbana: Patthana Dhama

F (Sight, vision of things, belief).

Dhamma Dana: Pali English Glossary

Samma Ditthi, aka: Sammâdiṭṭhi, Sammādiṭṭhi

sammādiṭṭhi : (f.) right belief.

BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Right Understanding means understanding the Buddhist view, which, as we saw, is the middle view between eternalism and nihil­ism. As the Buddha said, knowing how the world arises due to causes and conditions enables us not to fall into the extreme of nihilism. The other aspect of the middle view is knowing how everything ceases when causes and conditions cease. Therefore, we do not fall into the extreme of the substantialist, essentialist, or eternalist view, because we realize that, even though things come into being through causes and conditions, nothing that exists on the physical or mental plane endures when those causes and conditions are no longer present.

Shambala Publications: General

(or r. view), r. thought, etc.: s. magga.

-- or --

-sankappa, -vaca, etc: see magga.

-- or --

sammā-ditthi; s. ditthi, magga 1, sacca IV.1. - For wrong view, s. ditthi.

Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines

right understanding;

Dhamma Study: Cetasikas

Understanding the Four Noble Truths; the first of the Eightfold Path.

Buddhist Door: Glossary


...using the pāli suttas as references:

Right View (sammā diṭṭhi)

There are many formulations of Right View in the suttas. Here's one, described as "the doctrine of affirmation" (MN 60), sometimes known as "mundane right view".

“And what, bhikkhus, is right view that is affected by the taints, partaking of merit, ripening in the acquisitions? ‘There is what is given and what is offered and what is sacrificed; there is fruit and result of good and bad actions; there is this world and the other world; there is mother and father; there are beings who are reborn spontaneously; there are in the world good and virtuous recluses and brahmins who have realised for themselves by direct knowledge and declare this world and the other world.’ This is right view affected by taints, partaking of merit, ripening in the acquisitions.

-- MN 117

From my understanding, this formulation is basically saying that:

  • Gifts are morally relevant (not just social convention)
  • karma is factual
  • How one treats their mother and father has different moral significance then treatment to ordinary persons.
  • There's life after death or other spheres of life
  • and there are people who have directly seen these spheres

Another formulation defines Right View in terms of wisdom (pañña):

“And what, bhikkhus, is right view that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of the path? The wisdom, the faculty of wisdom, the power of wisdom, the investigation-of-states enlightenment factor, the path factor of right view in one whose mind is noble, whose mind is taintless, who possesses the noble path and is developing the noble path: this is right view that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of the path.

Another formulation is given as the understanding of the four noble truths. For example:

“When, friends, a noble disciple understands the unwholesome and the root of the unwholesome, the wholesome and the root of the wholesome,in that way he is one of right view, whose view is straight, who has unwavering confidence in the Dhamma and has arrived at this true Dhamma.


“When, friends, a noble disciple understands suffering, the origin of suffering, the cessation of suffering, and the way leading to the cessation of suffering, in that way he is one of right view…and has arrived at this true Dhamma.

-- MN 9

In the sutta above, the four noble truths are also applied to each element in dependent origination as an alternative exposition of Right View.

Another method of exposition is by their opposite. Here, the Brahmajāla Sutta is the most important sutta, which discusses 62 kinds of wrong views.

Right View, as has been stated, is the foremost on the Noble Eightfold Path.

Right Thinking (sammā sankappa)

The PTS Pāli dictionary gives the following translation for sankappa:

thought, intention, purpose, plan

In the suttas, we find the following definition for sammā sankappa:

“And what, bhikkhus, is wrong intention? The intention of sensual desire, the intention of ill will, and the intention of cruelty: this is wrong intention.

“And what, bhikkhus, is right intention? Right intention, I say, is twofold: there is right intention that is affected by taints, partaking of merit, ripening in the acquisitions, and there is right intention that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of the path.

“And what, bhikkhus, is right intention that is affected by taints, partaking of merit, ripening in the acquisitions? The intention of renunciation, the intention of non-ill will, and the intention of non-cruelty: this is right intention that is affected by taints…ripening in the acquisitions.

“And what, bhikkhus, is right intention that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of the path? The thinking, thought, intention, mental absorption, mental fixity, directing of mind, verbal formation in one whose mind is noble, whose mind is taintless, who possesses the noble path and is developing the noble path: this is right intention that is noble…a factor of the path.

So, Right Thinking is the practice concerned with our inclinations, dispositions and intentions, aimed at enabling the eightfold path and realizing it's purpose.


I have also struggled with this. Right view is sometimes written as right understanding; right thought is sometimes written as right intent(ion). I think using 'right intention' instead of 'right thought' makes it a bit easier to understand and differentiate between the two.

My understanding: The way that you view something will have an effect on your intentions. An example that has popped in my mind: if you see a person and, for some reason, view that person as someone who wants sex, your intentions might be to have sex with that person. If you see the same person but view that person as someone who is an intellectual (not that the two are mutually exclusive), your intentions might be to have a philosophical conversation with that person. You need to get rid of perceptions and see things objectively for what they really are so that your intentions are not swayed.

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