Abandoning right view

Something that Thanissaro touches on a lot is using right view to eventually abandon right view and I can’t quite grasp the meaning. Thanks guys

The dharma is a means to an end, not an end in itself. The end is the end of craving. In the parable of the raft, once you reach the other shore, you put down the raft. You do not carry it with you. To a large extent this seems to be honored in the breach.

Right view belongs to the Noble Eightfold Path.
The Noble Eightfold Path is the practice, the means, the method, the way to reach the other shore ( Nibbāna).
When Nibbāna is already reached, the means to reach it is no longer needed because Nibbāna is unconditioned. Nibbāna does not require anything to support it.

An analogy of a boat usually be used to refer to the Noble Eightfold Path, so a boat is required to cross the river to the other shore. However, it’s silly to carry a boat around on the other shore.

That is the meaning when Ven. Ṭhānissaro referred to “abandoning right view”.

Please be extremely cautious and do NOT make overstretched speculating statements such as: For the people who have already reached the other shore:

  1. They do not have right view or
  2. They no longer see with right view or
  3. They see with certain view superior to right view or
  4. They do not use (or can’t use, or no need to use) right view to interact with the world and other run-of-the-mill persons.

The lesson to learn is: While we still haven’t reached the other shore yet, stick to the boat!

When we reach the other shore, we will know for sure by ourselves that it’s the case.
The advice to “abandon the boat” is reserved ONLY for the people who is super near (like 1 small step left) the other shore - the Anāgāmī.


The dhamma and path is fabricated, not an absolute truth but a tool for ending suffering. Eventually when there is very little suffering left, the tool itself, due to its impermanent and fabricated nature, can also cause suffering if one is attached to it, so in the end the tool must also be abandoned.

But don’t worry about this for now, it’s something that you deal with at the end of the gradual training, not the beginning. I’ve spoken to some people who misunderstood this and abandoned the tool (dhamma) before getting any work done. They still remain addicted and attached to sensual desires, but believe in “no-view”, for example.

First use the tool, get the job done, and then abandon it.

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I cannot recall reading the above in the suttas (which includes in MN 22).

So the trainee has eight factors, while the perfected one has ten factors.

Iti kho, bhikkhave, aṭṭhaṅgasamannāgato sekkho, dasaṅgasamannāgato arahā hoti.

MN 117


Mundane Right View is a story that people tell themselves about the world in order to contextualize their lives and guide their actions, just like any other view anyone has ever had or ever will have, including that of science. An arahant may speak in praise of mundane Right View but recognizes it in its fully utilitarian aspect, having released any emotional, ontological attachment or identification with it.

Supermundane Right View is a bit different insofar as an arahant simply has perfect mindfulness and so the recognition of the three characteristics and the abandonment of the aggregates is fully completed. Supermundane Right View, insofar as it can be expressed in words, is still recognized as a series of fabricated words and ideas, but even the insight into the nature of suffering those words signify has been abandoned by the arahant as well. The arahant doesn’t need insight anymore because the arahant doesn’t need anything. Their awareness is the embodiment of the fruits of insight. That doesn’t mean that they cannot abide contemplating such insights and their resulting attainments as the Buddha frequently did, only that there will be no emotional, ontological attachment to those attainments and insights, just as attachment to explicit fixed Views was previously abandoned as well.

what do you mean by this, that is not true and just skill?

Conventional notions of truth are just that-- always conventional, bound up in language and patterns of thought, behavior, and emotion. Conventionally, the difference between something being “true” and “not true” is a matter of the intellectual and emotional context by which we are interpreting the statement. Naive notions of truth often tend to be highly dogmatic in this regard, yet this dogmatism is something that itself can never have any firm foundation outside of tradition and emotion. Foundationless-ness is present even in the most rigorous formal systems of truth that human beings have ever devised, as all 20th century philosophers and mathematicians came to reckon with. All conventional truth is fully utilitarian. Just because 2+2=4 is a completely groundless formalism based upon some axioms that we assert because they feel right and let us do math doesn’t mean that it’s any less true.

The Buddha points us to truth about the nature of experience, not truths about any particular things we might come into contact with. These are truths independent of convention, but that can still be expressed via convention.

But what about things like the existence of an afterlife, rebirth, kamma and its fruits, hell and heavens, beings born without sex, beings without a phyiscal body, do you believe this is not really describing facts of life? Just asking to understand you.

I do believe these are “facts of life” as you call them. What I’m saying is that if you actually investigate what exactly you mean by “facts of life”, you will find it very difficult to give a final, definitive answer. Philosophically, it has actually been demonstrated that giving such a definitive answer is impossible.

If you want to understand what I’m talking about better you may consider investigating the philosophical discipline known as epistemology. Wittgenstein in particular is a philosopher whose ideas are absolutely foundational to the contemporary understanding of truth and reality in the philosophical and thus conventional sense.

I am not a philosopher but i will still try: For me it just means, that this is real. Real in the sense …this is how things work. This is how it actually is. There is really an afterlife, and this is not imaginary or just an idea. There are really heavens and hells in which one can be reborn, etc. It is not like that in India rebirth is a fact of life and in the Netherlands it is not fact. What is true and real does not depend on the culture you live in.

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