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Mārga (T. lam, ལམ་), or the path, refers to the spiritual journey, which must be followed in order to attain the result, which is enlightenment.

The Buddha spoke of the path in his first teaching on the four noble truths as the noble eightfold path:

What is the path that leads to the cessation of suffering? It is exclusively the eightfold path of the noble ones. This is the path that starts with correct view and ends with correct concentration. It is called the path that leads to the cessation of suffering—a noble truth.
Lalitavistara Sutra[1]

In other teachings, the path is described as consisting of five stages, known as the five paths, although they are in fact not separate paths but rather five stages on the same path.

On a deeper level, the path refers to the wisdom, which is required to realize cessation.

Alternative Translations

  • Alexander Berzin translates lam as 'pathway mind' or 'pathway of mind' and gives the following definition for lam: "A level or state of mind that acts or functions as a pathway toward liberation or enlightenment. Some translators render this term as 'path,' but it refers to mental states, not to a series of spiritual practices."


  1. Source: The Play in Full, 26.64, translated by the Dharmachakra Translation Committee under the patronage and supervision of 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha. Read here.
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