Right view is the first step in noble eight-fold path as mentioned in many answers here.

  1. Right view
  2. Right resolve
  3. Right speech
  4. Right action
  5. Right livelihood
  6. Right effort
  7. Right mindfulness
  8. Right concentration

Noble eight-fold path is three-folded as moral virtue (sīla), concentration (samādhi), and wisdom (paññā). It's mentioned in many suttas that these three are sequential. But when considering this three-fold categorization, right view comes at the end.

  1. Moral virtue (sīla)
    1. Right speech
    2. Right action
    3. Right livelihood
  2. Concentration (samādhi)
    1. Right effort
    2. Right mindfulness
    3. Right concentration
  3. Wisdom (paññā)
    1. Right view
    2. Right resolve

For more information: Noble Eightfold Path

My questions are:

  1. Which is the correct sequence out of the above two?
  2. Which sequence to follow?
  • 1
    Ven. Bodhi explained the question here: accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/bodhi/waytoend.html#ch2
    – santa100
    Commented Feb 20, 2019 at 19:38
  • Obviously Bhikkhu Bodhi is wrong when saying: "The eight factors of the Noble Eightfold Path are not steps to be followed in sequence, one after another.". Commented Nov 16, 2020 at 7:00
  • Which many suttas mention that these three are sequential? Thanks Commented Nov 16, 2020 at 7:01

6 Answers 6


If right view is a forerunner or apex, perhaps virtue (including metta and dana) is a basis.

I think that AN 11.1 for example suggests that ethics comes first, that concentration and so on are a result or depend on it.

There's also MN 61 (which this footnote says was delivered to Rahula when he was seven years old): it concentrates on not lying, and then on purifying actions.

Perhaps these quotes ...

The eight factors of the Noble Eightfold Path are not steps to be followed in sequence, one after another.

Perplexity sometimes arises over an apparent inconsistency in the arrangement of the path factors and the threefold training. Wisdom — which includes right view and right intention — is the last stage in the threefold training, yet its factors are placed at the beginning of the path rather than at its end, as might be expected according to the canon of strict consistency. The sequence of the path factors, however, is not the result of a careless slip, but is determined by an important logistical consideration, namely, that right view and right intention of a preliminary type are called for at the outset as the spur for entering the threefold training. Right view provides the perspective for practice, right intention the sense of direction. But the two do not expire in this preparatory role. For when the mind has been refined by the training in moral discipline and concentration, it arrives at a superior right view and right intention, which now form the proper training in the higher wisdom.

... suggests it's some kind of cycle -- e.g. that people practice sila because they have some right view initially.

  • Sir, Thanks for the answer. "The eight factors of the Noble Eightfold Path are not steps to be followed in sequence, one after another." AND "right view and right intention — is the last stage in the threefold training" -- This is what I wanted to know.
    – Damith
    Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 4:18
  • Sir, so the training should be three-folded. Am I correct?
    – Damith
    Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 4:34
  • 1
    Dana and virtue occur because of right view. Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 10:21
  • 3
    Like most skills the practice requires an iteration between the components. Learning a musical instrument requires just the same approach, a constant returning to all aspects of the technique and creating a positive feedback between them. It woudn't work to treat them as discrete stages that must be finished before moving on.
    – user14119
    Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 13:36

The forerunner of the path is right view (MN117) and basically this means that you must understand something about Buddhism correctly before starting to practise.

However, the rest of the practice of the Noble Eightfold Path is not sequential. It's rather, iterative.

Here are some metaphors.

When you first learn to drive a car, do you learn how to start the car on one day, how to accelerate on the second day, how to brake on the third day, how to turn the steering wheel to the left on the fourth day and how to turn the steering wheel to the right on the fifth day? No. It doesn't make sense. You have to learn and develop these steps altogether in tandem, and practise them together.

Another example is this. When you learn to cook, would you learn to cut vegetables on one day, then learn how to wash ingredients on another day, then learn to boil on another day, then learn to simmer on another day and so on? No. Instead, you learn and practise them altogether at once by trying to cook a certain recipe. By practising them together, you slowly deepen your cooking skills. You would then expand to add frying, broiling, baking, steaming, poaching, sauteeing etc. to your techniques, but you would practise them together in one recipe.

Similarly, in the case of the Noble Eightfold Path, you would have to first cultivate Right View (the forerunner of the path) by learning the Buddha's teachings (the Dhamma). Then you would start developing Right Resolve, and decide to take refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, and practise the five precepts (which form the core part of the virtues - Right Action, Right Speech and Right Livelihood).

As you deepen your progress into Right View by studying more of the Dhamma, you then increase your knowledge of the virtues (Right Action, Right Speech and Right Livelihood) and try to practise them with more fervour. That's more of Right Resolve and Right Effort being applied.

As you deepen your contemplation of the teachings, you start cultivating Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration, and then go into the meditation practices. These meditation practices would then lead you to better understanding of the Dhamma through first hand experience, which is improving the Right View once again. If you stumble into the five hindrances during meditation, you may need to deepen your practice of the virtues once again. This of course again is applying Right Resolve and Right Effort towards making progress in meditation and cultivation of wisdom.

So, every step helps the other. You can't practise only one of them at a time. But of course, learning the Dhamma and practising virtues tend to come before meditation, in general. This is just as in the case where you need to start a car and accelerate, before braking, but you would anyway do them in one session of driving, with repetition of all the steps as needed, to take you to your destination.

Even if you have not tried to meditate, if you continually reflect and ponder upon the teachings (that you have studied) and see how they match your experiences in life, you would still begin to understand the teachings from first hand experience. Then meditation could still progressively come later.

  • Thanks @ruben2020 for your great effort to explain me using metaphors. It actually helps me a lot.
    – Damith
    Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 4:22
  • "You can't practise only one of them at a time." -- I agree with you @ruben2020. This statement can be proved with Abhidhamma. Do you know that there are equivalent mental formations for each step in noble eightfold-path? So when you practice Dhamma, the path is developed with each consciousness?
    – Damith
    Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 4:26

The three-fold is used in Tipitaka when the listener asking for the step by step teaching, but The eight-fold is used when the listener already trained and asking "why I still not enlightened after trained the three-fold?", so it's called "the higher three-fold training", not only "the three-fold".

The three-fold is the training, Sikkhā. The sequence training is required for the begīnner practitioner to train something. No weight trainee can hold the 100 kg up at first. See Sutta. Ma. U. Gaṇakamoggallānasuttaṃ. Buddha also blame the skipper step as the blank attainer, Moghapurisa, in MN KīṭāgiriSutta and AN Sattakanipātā DhammaññūSutta as well.

The eight-fold is the noble training to enlighten the noble cessation, Nirodhāya AriyaMaggaSikkhā. It's the top of training and only the trained people can use at first, i.e. King AjātaSattu who has a good education person, or Aññākoṇḍañña. Most people can't enlighten even listened to the four noble truth thousands of times. So, after one practiced above three-fold, and he still not enlightened, he is going to asking for "what was wrong? Why I who training very hard still be an ordinary person?" then the Buddha will teach him the higher three-fold that starting with the right attitude, SammāDiṭṭhi in AriyaMagga, ie. Aññākoṇḍañña who ordained a long time ago before he was going to enlighten in SN DhammacakkappavattanaSutta which focusing only the noble eight-fold path.

The practitioner is training the three-fold for the perfect right attitude, so Buddha teaches the trained practitioner the right attitude especially if the trained practitiner still not enlighten after attained Jhāna.

This is why the noble truth, AriyaSacca, often appears at the end of Sutta, such as MN MahāsaṭipaṭṭhānaSutta, DN SāmaññaphalaSutta.

Therefore, the practitioner should practice following the sequence of threefold training then after attained Jhāna, but the practitioner still not enlighten the cessation, the practitioner should focus on practicing the right attitude in four noble truth.

However, the practitioner should practice following the qualified master to keep the time of training. Most of the alone readers died before enlighten because they lose most of the time in discussing Tipitaka. I just explain the thinking of the master. I do not advise you to practice or read Tipitaka without the support of the qualified master.

If one wants to understand this answer clearly, reciting and memorizing Suttas which I quoted above are required because the answer has already appeared in both Tipitaka's and Atthakatha's Pali context like Buddha ordered "He proclaims a Teaching that is good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end, with the right meaning and phrasing." The reader should use the same method to understand entire those beginning middle and the end "six further qualities he should not live independently: ... when the two pātimokkhas are not perfectly known to him in their entirety, with all their divisions and their whole course, and with the entire discussion according to the single rules and to the single parts of each rule."

It is extremely easy to understand and deconflict the misunderstood of the only reader when one study Tipitaka follow to the ancient Tipitaka study system with the Jhana-attainer who recited and memorized of what he teaching. It is harder but it is very useful. I recommend Pa-Auk. I know one Thai Tipitaka memorizer and he chose Pa-Auk to graduate his study.


Noble eight-fold path is three-folded as moral virtue (sīla), concentration (samādhi), and wisdom (paññā). It's mentioned in many suttas that these three are sequential.

The above sounds wrong. There appears to be no "threefold division" of the eightfold path. For example, the right intention to be moral or harmless must occur before the moral behaviour of being harmless. The suttas clearly say 'right view' comes first, as follows:

Of those, right view is the forerunner. MN 117

Bhikkhus, this is the forerunner and precursor of the rising of the sun, that is, the dawn. So too, bhikkhus, for a bhikkhu this is the forerunner and precursor of the breakthrough to the Four Noble Truths as the really are, that is, right view. SN 56.37

Now, there is the case where a Tathāgata appears in the world, worthy and rightly self-awakened. He teaches the Dhamma admirable in its beginning, admirable in its middle, admirable in its end. He proclaims the holy life both in its particulars and in its essence, entirely perfect, surpassingly pure. He [the person discussed above], hearing the Dhamma, gains conviction in the Tathāgata... MN 38

The 'three trainings' is found in suttas such as AN 3.88, which refers to training in higher virtue (adhisīla), higher mind (adhicitta) & higher wisdom (adhipaññā). These suttas do not refer to the eightfold path, apart from in the section on higher wisdom (adhipaññā).

Morality comes first in the three trainings because without morality the other two trainings cannot be practised (per MN 6). However, right view is required to practise morality. Without right view, practising morality is difficult (MN 19; MN 61) & developing samadhi is even more difficult (AN 10.61).

For example, if it is not understood with right view how misconduct harms oneself or harms another then it is difficult to maintain, let alone understand, the moral precepts.

  • Hi DD! What about what's described in MN 44? "The three practice categories are not included in the noble eightfold path. Rather, the noble eightfold path is included in the three practice categories. Right speech, right action, and right livelihood: these things are included in the category of ethics. Right effort, right mindfulness, and right immersion: these things are included in the category of immersion. Right view and right thought: these things are included in the category of wisdom. Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 3:20
  • thanks. i never read the above before. what does it mean? it seems to support my point of view, namely: "Rather, the noble eightfold path is included in the three practice categories." Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 5:52
  • Probably it supports your conclusion. But I think the sutta does not follow the premiss of being no threefold division of the eightfold path in the suttas. I may be not understanding the sutta, though, so I'm not sure. Kind regards! Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 5:58
  • i tend to disagree with the above. what you quoted appears to be about the Three Trainings rather than about a Three Fold Division. Possibly you can raise this matter for discussion on DW papanca forum. Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 6:00

the two suttas about the 3 trainings and the mysterious panna is here

https://suttacentral.net/an3.89/en/sujato https://suttacentral.net/an3.90/en/sujato

they explain what adhipaññāsikkhā means. It turns out that the higher discernment is the release itself.

This kind of stuff is what the puthujjanas who invented vipassana mediation really hate, along the ''fetter model''. Those people thought that there where gaps in whatever they heard about the path, so craved an exhaustive path, to the point of creating their toxic textbook, like maths students have at the beginning of their higher education, where supposedly there is no gap between any step so that they feel safe. The result of their work is that the usual pitfall of philosophers: they introduce time and they have separated the vipassanas from the release.

adhipaññāsikkhā: [adhi+paññā+sikkhā]

training in higher wisdom/ insight. A definition is given at AN 3.90. It consists of the understanding of the four ariya·saccas. At AN 3.91, though, adhi·paññā·sikkhā is defined as 'an·āsava ceto·vimutti paññā·vimutti' (liberation of the mind without impurities, liberation by discernment).

♦ Adhi·paññā·sikkhā is one of the three sikkhās, together with adhi·sīla·sikkhā and adhi·citta·sikkhā. It is said of these three trainings at AN 3.82 that they are 'ascetic tasks of an ascetic' (samaṇassa samaṇa·karaṇīyāni), at AN 3.93 that they are 'urgent tasks of a bhikkhu' (bhikkhussa accāyikāni karaṇīyāni), and at AN 6.30 that they constitute the 'supreme training' (anuttariyaṃ sikkhā) for the purification of beings, etc. (formula in the style of the Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna Sutta)

♦ They can even replace the Pātimokkha, in some cases (AN 3.85).



Both Upasaka Damith, how ever:

This sequenze, sila, samadhi, panna (as a training to enter the path) is not really found in the Tipitaka but simply serves those who actually have gained a foot in Dhamma, by right view. Only in regard of highered virtue, mind, wisdom, this sequenze is taught. For people in training (i.e. Noble ones, especially monk).

Laypeople, those who did not leave home (strong attached to senses), lacking faith or understanding on the danger in the world, are taught to train Dana, Sila, Bhavana, so to possible come to access concentration, could hear the good Dhamma with proper attention and possible gain right view, i.e. Ariya path.

That commentary-approach, adopted in householder practice since short time, serves also the idea that a worldling is able to practice the path and the whole foundation of "housholder-practice", or meditating for no real benefits.

As it was pointed out by the Buddha, asked whether Samadhi or wisdom comes first, it depends on whether someone is already a Sekha (noble disciple), or still a neither-Sekha-nor-asekha.

Atma will add the answer to this question given by the Buddha, when matched the link, later... here, the Buddhas answer to 1): Sakka Sutta: To the Sakyan (note that the Buddha, also here, does not really speak about a training of/for outsiders)

As for which way to follow: it's clear that right effort has to focus simply on right view and virtue till livelihood and all other comes by cause, it self, no will needed. Cetana Sutta

And how does one gain needed wisdom, right view?

"Monks, these eight causes, these eight requisite conditions lead to the acquiring of the as-yet-unacquired discernment that is basic to the holy life, and to the increase, plenitude, development, & culmination of that which has already been acquired. Which eight? Pañña Sutta

[Note that this is not given for trade, exchange, stacks and other binding ways and should be deleted possible, if the place does not allow such non-commercial, liberating}


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