Threefold training

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Translations of
Threefold training
English threefold training,
three trainings,
three higher trainings
Pali tri-sikkhā
Sanskrit tri-śikṣa
Tibetan ལྷག་པའི་བསླབ་པ་གསུམ་
(lhagpé labpa sum, Wyl. lhag pa'i bslab pa gsum)

The threefold training (Sanskrit: tri-śikṣa; Pali:tri-sikkhā) refers to training in:

  • Higher virtue (Sanskrit: adhiśīlaśikṣa; Pali: adhi-sīla-sikkhā)
  • Higher meditation (Sanskrit: samādhiśikṣa; Pali: adhi-citta-sikkhā)
  • Higher wisdom (Sanskrit: prajñāśikṣa; Pali: adhi-paññā-sikkhā)

In the Pali Canon

According to Theravada canonical texts, pursuing this training leads to the abandonment of lust, hatred and delusion.[1] One who is fully accomplished in this training attains Nibbana.[2]

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 threefold 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 ).[3] 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 View
Right Intention
Group Eightfold Path Method of Practice
VIRTUE Right Speech Five Laymen Vows
Right Action
Right Livelihood
MIND Right Effort Dwelling in the four jhanas (meditation)
Right Mindfulness
Right Concentration
WISDOM Right View Knowing Four Noble Truths
Right Intention


  1. See AN 3:88 (Thanissaro, 1998a).
  2. See AN 3.89 (Thanissaro, 1998b).
  3. Thanissaro (1998c).


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  • The Three Practices of Morality, Meditation and Wisdom
    Description: Mingyur Rinpoche talks about the three practices: morality, meditation and wisdom. Rinpoche explains that the first practice, morality, means we should behave ethically. Through meditation, the second practice, we can achieve enlightenment. And we can see the real nature of reality through the third practice, wisdom.
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