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The Buddha identified the threefold training (sikkhā)[1] as training in:

  • higher virtue (adhisīla-sikkhā)
  • higher mind (adhicitta-sikkhā)
  • higher wisdom (adhipaññā-sikkhā)


In the Pali Canon

According to Theravada canonical texts, pursuing this training leads to the abandonment of lust, hatred and delusion.[2] One who is fully accomplished in this training attains Nibbana.[3]

In the Anguttara Nikaya, training in "higher virtue" includes following the Patimokkha, training in "higher mind" (sometimes simply referred to as "concentration") includes entering and dwelling in the four jhanas, and training in "higher wisdom" includes directly perceiving the Four Noble Truths.

In several canonical discourses, a more "gradual" instruction (anupubbikathā) is provided to receptive lay people (see also, gradual training). This latter instruction culminates in the teaching of the Four Noble Truths which in itself concludes with the Noble Eightfold Path, the constituents of which can be mapped to this threefold training (see below).


Similarity to three-fold partition of the Noble Eightfold Path

The Buddha's threefold training is similar to the threefold grouping of the Noble Eightfold Path articulated by Bhikkhuni Dhammadinna in Culavedalla Sutta ("The Shorter Set of Questions-And-Answers Discourse," MN 44): virtue (sīlakkhandha), concentration (samādhikkhandha), wisdom (paññākkhandha ).[4] These three-part schemes simplify and organize the Eightfold Path as follows:

Threefold Partition Eightfold Path
VIRTUE Right Speech
Right Action
Right Livelihood
MIND Right Effort
Right Mindfulness
Right Concentration
WISDOM Right Understanding
Right Intention

See also


  1. ^ See the Anguttara Nikaya Book of Threes' (Tikanipata) Monks chapter (Samanavagga). This chapter's suttas are alternately identified as AN 3:82 to 3:92. Of these suttas, the two most widely translated into English are AN 3:88 and 3:89, respectively referred to as "Sikkha (1)" and "Sikkha (2)" by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, and as "Dutiyasikkhasuttam" and "Tatiyasikkhasuttam" in the Sinhalese canon. English translations of these latter two suttas can be found in: Nyanaponika & Bodhi (1999), pp. 69-71; Thanissaro (1998a); and, Thanissaro (1998b).
  2. ^ See AN 3:88 (Thanissaro, 1998a).
  3. ^ See AN 3.89 (Thanissaro, 1998b).
  4. ^ Thanissaro (1998c).


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