Tenfold Path, Right Knowledge, Right Liberation

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In several places in all four Nikāyas, especially the Aṅguttara, we have an extended list of the Noble Eightfold Path, a ‘Tenfold Path’ (a term not to be found in the suttas). Here, after sammā samādhi, we have 9. sammā ñāṇa (right knowledge) and 10. sammā vimutti (right liberation). Unfortunately there is no detailed exposition of these in the suttas.

Table of Contents 1. Interpretation 1. Free available resources and articles 1. Sutta References 1. Relevant SuttaCentral topics and discussions

1. Interpretation

A question that regularly occurs is if the last two limbs happen ‘automatically’ without deliberate practice and are for that reason not part of the standard version of the Noble Eightfold Path. Another frequent suggestion is that the last two limbs are fruits and results of someone who already attained arahantship.

2. Free available resources and articles

Rod Bucknell. The Buddhist Path to Liberation: An Analysis of the Listing of Stages

Bucknell argues in this article from 1984 that Right Knowledge and Right Liberation are not automatic developments on the path and have to be practiced. Relying on MN 27 he further argues that Right Knowledge consists of the three supernormal knowledges:

  1. the knowledge of the recollection of past lives
  2. the knowledge of the passing away and reappearance of beings
  3. the knowledge of the destruction of the taints

He concludes with remarking that next to the eightfold and tenfold versions of the path there are many other variations to be found in the suttas.

##3. Sutta References

This is a probably not exhaustive list of suttas mentioning the tenfold path:

  • DN 18, DN 33, DN 34
  • MN 8, MN 65, MN 78, MN 117
  • AN 4.89, AN 4.206, AN 10.103 – AN 10.115, AN 10.117, AN 10.119 – AN 10.134, AN 10.144 – AN 10.166, AN 10.239
  • SN 14.29, SN 45.26, SN 55.26

4. Relevant suttacentral topics and discussions

What is right knowledge and right release in Noble tenfold path?
Collected Knowledge section?
The tenfold path!
The Path(s) to Awakening

Hey Gabriel, well done, this is a nice start for a wiki.

I’ve made a few changes, namely:

  1. Restructured the order of the parts. Typically a wiki article puts an introduction first, a paragraph or two to summarize the topic. This is a place for people to just grab the gist of the idea, if that’s what they want; it’s also what would appear in a search result summary. So it’s not the place for discussion or interpretation, which I have moved further down.
  2. There’s no need for a heading at the beginning of the topic, the post title does that.
  3. I have marked up the Table of Contents as I did for the “rapture” post, I am not sure if this is a good idea or not. (Remember, with markdown lists it doesn’t matter what numbers are used at the beginning of list item, it is just interpreted as “numbered list item”. So it is easiest to simply use a sequence of 1’s, so if the order is changed later it doesn’t need re-editing.)
  4. I made sure each paragraph starts with two line breaks, and a couple of other formatting tweaks.
  5. Previously I left off numbers for the headings. in a perfect world, these would be added automatically and coordinated with the ToC numbers. this is, however, not a perfect world, so I’m not sure what is best here.