Recently, I read an insight by the Dali Lama in the book "Buddhism:One Teacher, Many Traditions" that caught my attention:

"When I reflect on the three higher knowledges mentioned in the Pāli suttas, I recognize a correspondence with what the Tibetan sage Tsongkhapa later called the three principal aspects of the path— renunciation, bodhicitta, and correct view. While these are generated before one becomes a buddha, they reach their fulfillment at buddhahood. With the first higher knowledge, the Buddha saw his previous lives— their duḥkha and transience. Knowing all that misery was caused by afflictions and karma, he responded with full renunciation of saṃsāra, making the determination to attain liberation. With the second higher knowledge, he saw the passing away and rebirth of sentient beings under the influence of afflictions and karma. His reaction to this horror was impartial love, compassion, and bodhicitta . To fulfill this altruistic commitment, he freed his mind of all pollutants and obscurations by realizing the correct view of the subtle selflessness of persons and phenomena. Through repeatedly using this wisdom to cleanse his mind, he gained the third knowledge and knew that his mind was totally purified and that he had attained nirvāṇa." - Dali Lama

What are the Pali's suttas commentaries on the three higher knowledges? How may I integrate them into my meditation practice?

Thank you for your time and consideration. All the best!!!

  • Are you planning to become a fully enlightened Buddha? As final knowledges, they aren't something you practice, they are what you attain in the night of your supreme enlightenment. Mar 30, 2015 at 16:32
  • Who knows? Everybody needs a new hobby once inawhile. Seriously though, I've never heard the three higher knowledges as being final realizations... I guess, I should stay away from Dhamma Lite.. Thanks for the insight Yuttadhammo! Mar 31, 2015 at 0:21

2 Answers 2


The Threefold knowledge(Tevijja) is mentioned in many suttas. In MN 36, the Buddha describes obtaining each of these three knowledges on the first, second and third watches respectively of the night of his enlightenment. A nonexhaustive list of other suttas is available here


I can help you or refer you to my teacher. In order to attempt the Tevijja, you'd need to go through the tranquil aware Jhana's as the Buddha did. Then you would view your past lives, then view how beings are reincarnated according to past actions, then you'd examine suffering its causes, origins and its way leading to its cessation. From there you would calm your mind to the point of a final cessation of feeling, consciousness, and perception. Then life as an Arahant begins.

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