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The Buddha Answers Questions on Right View

Dear Noble Sangha,

In May we move into examining each element of the eightfold-path. In this post you will find words of the Buddha regarding Right View, the first element of the eightfold-path and the first component of the category of panna (sanskrit: prajna) or wisdom.

What is Right View?:

“And what is right view? Knowledge with regard to stress, knowledge with regard to the origination of stress, knowledge with regard to the cessation of stress, knowledge with regard to the way of practice leading to the cessation of stress: This is called right view.”

-The Great Frames of Reference Sutta, the Digha Nikaya

 

What does one who has Right View understand?:

[Kaccayana:] “Lord, ‘Right view, right view,’ it is said. To what extent is there right view?”

 

[The Buddha:] “By & large, Kaccayana, this world is supported by (takes as its object) a polarity, that of existence & non-existence. But when one sees the origination of the world as it actually is with right discernment, ‘non-existence’ with reference to the world does not occur to one. When one sees the cessation of the world as it actually is with right discernment, ‘existence’ with reference to the world does not occur to one.

 

“By & large, Kaccayana, this world is in bondage to attachments, clingings (sustenances), & biases. But one such as this does not get involved with or cling to these attachments, clingings, fixations of awareness, biases, or obsessions; nor is he resolved on ‘my self.’ He has no uncertainty or doubt that, when there is arising, only stress is arising; and that when there is passing away, only stress is passing away. In this, one’s knowledge is independent of others. It is to this extent, Kaccayana, that there is right view.”

– To Kaccayana Gotta (On Right View), Samyutta Nikaya

 

What is the result of Right View?

“When a person has right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration, right knowledge, & right release, whatever bodily deeds he undertakes in line with that view, whatever verbal deeds… whatever mental deeds he undertakes in line with that view, whatever intentions, whatever vows, whatever determinations, whatever fabrications, all lead to what is agreeable, pleasing, charming, profitable, & easeful. Why is that? Because the view is auspicious.”

– The Seed Sutta, Anguttara Nikaya

 

How does Right View relate to the other factors of the Eightfold Path?

“One tries to abandon wrong view & to enter into right view: This is one’s right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong view & to enter & remain in right view: This is one’s right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities — right view, right effort, & right mindfulness — run & circle around right view.”

– The Great Forty Sutta, Mahjjima Nikaya

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