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darśana-mārga (T. mthong lam མཐོང་ལམ་; C. jiandao) is translated as the "path of seeing," etc. It is the third of the five paths in the Sanskrit tradition.

This path marks moment when the practitioner first has a direct perception of reality. This also marks the severing of the first three of the ten fetters, and the point at which one becomes a "worthy one" (arya pudgala).

Buddhism: One Teacher, Many Traditions states:

The path of seeing (darśanamārga) is a clear realization of the truth itself—emptiness. As āryas, these practitioners realize emptiness directly and nonconceptually, without any sense of subject and object. The mind and emptiness are fused like water poured into water.[1]

The Khenjuk states:

The path of seeing is the direct perception of the truth of reality through non-conceptual concentration (samadhi) concurrent with discriminating knowledge (prajna) that immediately follows supreme attribute.[2][3]

Rupert Gethin states:

The path of seeing involves a direct seeing of the four truths in the manner of the seventh purification of Buddhaghosa’s scheme.[4]

Distinctions between different vehicles


On the path of seeing, those following the sravakayana:


Those following the bodhisattvayana:

  • achieve direct insight into the supramundane four noble truths
  • realize the two-fold emptiness of self and other (when resting in meditation)[5]
  • realize the "basic field of all phenomena" (dharmata) in meditation; this means understanding the true nature of all phenomena[5]
  • attain the first bodhisattva ground, "joyous ground" (pramuditā-bhūmi)
  • have begun on the path of the bodhisattva grounds (bhumis) which leads to buddhahood

Patrul Rinpoche states:

“It is called the path of seeing because it is here that one first sees the supermundane wisdom of the noble ones.”[6]


  1. Dalai Lama & Thubten Chodron 2014, s.v. Chapter 10.
  2. Mipham Rinpoche 2000, s.v. Chapter 12.
  3. The "supreme attribute" is the last stage of the path of joining
  4. Gethin 1998, s.v. Chapter 7, Section "The stages of insight meditation".
  5. 5.0 5.1 Khenjuk notes, 2019
  6. LotsawaHouse-tag.png A Brief Guide to the Stages and Paths of the Bodhisattvas by Patrul Rinpoche, Lotsawa House