Terminology relating to the Noble Eightfold Path

I can see the sense of making use of the translation “right” for samma and “view” for ditthi, to allow for ease of memorising these terms. These are common translations, but I think it’s also important to get a sense of “right” as whole, thorough, perfected, and “view” as understanding of the nature of reality, unless there are definitions superior to these. By all means keep right view, right attitude, etc., for ease of memory but perhaps encourage the full range of alternatives, even though these will shift over decades according to the natural course of any living language.


I think it is better translation if we translate it ; Perfected right view .

There are are definitions for each word in Tipitaka. It is not " right " sense in other religions.

But I think,

Right view is enough translation

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importantly, it is not “right” as merely opposed to simply “wrong”. Once that is understood, right view is an adequate translation. Thank you for resposning

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I prefer to use “integrous” for samma-, such that it becomes “integrous view” - that view integrated with the Dhamma, and so on for the rest (integrous livelihood, for example).

I use “Harmonious” rather than “Right” because they leads to Happiness :smiley:


I very much agree with this, and I like your suggestions, though I think it’s diffiuclt to find a translation that truly captures the meaning. I think one aspect of samma is that it refers to an understanding of each path factor in relation to and connected to, the others so there’s a sense of completeness/fullness of understanding, which I assume is what you mean by ‘thorough’ or ‘whole’. And for example, since they all depend on 'right view, this is why samādhi, even if jhāna, practiced without ‘right view’ would not really be samma samādhi.


I like ‘perfected understanding’ for ‘right view’ but I’m constantly reviewing translations and alternatives provided by skilled translators of whom there are now, fortunately, many. Linda, your comment about samma relating to each path factor in relation to the others, and to the whole path, strikes me as important.
Thank you all and metta

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Dhamma Greetings,

I also like ‘harmonious’. :slightly_smiling:

‘Right’ is ok, but bears potential to be a confusing term for outsiders peeking on Buddhism. I witnessed many discussions starting like this: “What the heck does ‘right …’ mean? What then is wrong?” . I think, it is important not to forget, that ‘right’ always means ‘right in regard to the teachings of the Buddha’.

Taking a look at the origins of sammā may give inspiration of how to render it:


Vedic samyac (=samyak) & samīś “connected, in one”;

see under saŋ˚



Indogermanic *sem:

in one, homogeneous, including, together with, one & the same; one


  • Greek o: (malo even), a: (ma at one), o: (mo together);
  • Sanskrit sama: even, the same; samā in the same way;
  • Avestan hama: same = Gothic sama: together;
  • Latin simul: (=simultaneous), similis “re – sembling
  • Sanskrit sa: together

Best Wishes


The teaching of the Buddha is all about the true nature of reality, so I don’t see anything wrong with using ‘right’ in a broader sense.



Sadhu @raivo! Also, through meditation and following the guidance left by the Lord Buddha, you don’t really need some fancy translations. The understanding comes “naturally” and gradually. The problem here is that for some reason, we want something more than the simplest translation and we get stuck in making words more important than what they are pointing to. (If it’s too simple, we tend to over think it as we want something more profound sounding and make everything more complicated than it actually is). That’s just my humble view and I may be wrong.

May all beings be free.

in metta,



The existence of the path (N8P) is there for a reason, via the “middle way” which leads to the proper “release”, that is why it is termed as “right” because it avoids the extremes.

Hence the saying:

There is a difference between walking the path and knowing the path.

When one has completed the path, there is no such a thing as “right” nor “view”…there is wisdom.

Thanks to everyone for their kind responses.
with metta

Hi Mirco,

Where did you get these definitions for sammā and saŋ? I would like to use these resources if possible. With metta

Dear Neo,

I looked up the PTS dictionary for sammā and saŋ.
But I didn’t use the website. The DPR plugin is a nice tool for that.

Kind Regards

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The meaning of Samma seems broad, and broader than similar English terms (Right, together, connected, harmonious) as it contains nuances of moral correctness, the ‘norm’, concordance with other Dhammas, etc within it.

I noticed that with the morality portion of Noble Eightfold Path, ‘Right’ could used e.g. Right speech, Right livelihood etc.

Harmonious world view could serve mundane right view.

Correct View of Ultimate reality could serve Supramundane Right view.

Appropriate effort could mean Right effort. Appropriate mindfulness is better than Right mindfulness (as it is better focused on not just mindfulness but also on the where it should be focused on - the four ‘foundations’).

Appropriate concentration or harmonious concentration (the latter as a reflection on Mahacattasarika sutta that Right concentration is a result of the previous 7 steps of the Noble Eightfold Path) for Right concentration. Micca samadhi could be inappropriate concentration -on objects of craving, anger etc.

It seems no one word suits everything in the N8FP. Using different words would mean loosing the ease of memorising these steps, as well. It is interesting to think how much the reader depends on the label vs the content to grasp the meaning of any category of the teachings and subsequently the implications it has on a web-page based version of the thripitaka.

With metta


This is such an important topic. I can be persuaded otherwise, but it seems that certain terms are best left to interpretation from the context in which they appear. Samma, from what Matheesha said, is one of these. Dhamma is another. There are many more.

with metta