Fourfold correct discrimination

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The fourfold correct discrimination (Skt. catuḥpratisaṃvid; T. so so yang dag par rig pa bzhi སོ་སོ་ཡང་དག་པ་རིག་པ་བཞི་) is:

  1. correct discrimination of meaning (artha) (Tib. དོན་སོ་སོར་ཡང་དག་རིག་པ་, Wyl. don so sor yang dag rig pa)
  2. correct discrimination of dharma (Tib. ཆོས་སོ་སོར་ཡང་དག་རིག་པ་, Wyl. chos so sor yang dag rig pa)
  3. correct discrimination of language (nirukti) (Tib.ངེས་ཚིག་སོ་སོར་ཡང་དག་རིག་པ་, Wyl nges tshig so sor yang dag rig pa)
  4. correct discrimination of courageous eloquence (pratibhāna) (Tib. སྤོབས་པ་སོ་སོར་ཡང་དག་རིག་པ་, Wyl. spobs pa so sor yang dag rig pa)

The Khenjuk states:

Regarding the four types of correct discrimination:
  1. the correct discrimination of meaning is to know correcdy and unmistakenly the exact individual meaning of all that is expressed by excellent speech, the phenomena that comprise samsara and nirvana.
  2. The correct discrimination of the teaching is to understand, exactly as they are, all that expresses, namely, the sacred teachings of the three vehicles.
    These two are the meaning that is expounded.
  3. The correct discrimination of definitive words is to be unhindered in expounding, in the various languages of gods, nagas, humans and so forth, that which combines the teaching and meanmg.
  4. The correct discrimination of eloquent courage is the inexhaustible and unhindered eloquence able to expound whatever one desires, such as the elaborate and concise, the profound and extensive, in accordance with those to be tamed.
    These two comprise 'that which expounds.'
The resolve concurrent with these four is like the song of a gandharva, captivating the mind of disciples through teaching the Dharma.[1]

In the Abhidharma tradition, they are part of the exclusive qualities of a buddha.[2]

This fourfold correct discrimination is also identified in the following texts:

Alternative Translations

  • Fourfold right discrimination (Erik Pema Kunsang, GTK)
  • Four perfect knowledges (Rigpa wiki)
  • Four analytic insights (Andy Rotman)
  • Four analytical knowledges (Edward Conze)
  • Four correct discriminations (Thomas Doctor)
  • Four genuine masteries of specifics
  • Four specific perfect understandings[6]


  1. Mipham Rinpoche 2002, lines 18.46-52.
  2. RW icon height 18px.png Four perfect knowledges, Rigpa Shedra Wiki
  3. 84000.png The Dedication “Fulfilling All Aspirations”
  4. 4.0 4.1
  5. Based on Mipham Rinpoche's Khenjuk.
  6. Tibetan-English Dictionary of Buddhist Terminology, Tsepak Rigdzin, Library of Tibetan Works and Archives.

External links