Magga: 10 definitions


Magga means something in Buddhism, Pali, Jainism, Prakrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: Access to Insight: A Glossary of Pali and Buddhist Terms

Path. Specifically, the path to the cessation of suffering and stress. The four transcendent paths - or rather, one path with four levels of refinement - are the path to stream entry (entering the stream to nibbana, which ensures that one will be reborn at most only seven more times), the path to once returning, the path to non returning, and the path to arahantship. See phala.

Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

Path. see Noble Eightfold Path or Magga Sutta

Source: Dhamma Dana: Pali English Glossary

M (Path, journey (in the abstract sense), research). Path leading to nibbana. The simple fact to dedicate oneself to the search of something. magga is also the name that is given to the realisation of a stage of ariya (obtained following an experience of nibbana). / That which is likely to eradicate the kilelas.

Source: Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines


  • 1. For the 4 supermundane paths (lokuttara-magga), s. ariya-puggala -
  • 2. The Eightfold Path (atthangika-magga) is the path leading to the extinction of suffering, i.e. the last of the 4 Noble Truths (sacca), namely:


Wisdom (paññā) III.

  • 1. Right view (sammā-ditthi)
  • 2. Right thought (sammā-sankappa)

Morality (sīla) I.

  • 3. Right speech (sammā-vācā)
  • 4. Right bodily action (sammā-kammanta)
  • 5. Right livelihood (sammā-ājīva)

Concentration (samādhi) II.

  • 6. Right effort (sammā-vāyāma)
  • 7. Right mindfulness (sammā-sati)
  • 8. Right concentration (sammā-samādhi)


  1. Right view or right understanding (sammā-ditthi) is the understanding of the 4 Noble Truths about the universality of suffering (unsatisfactoriness), of its origin, its cessation, and the path leading to that cessation. - See the Discourse on 'Right Understanding' (M. 9, tr. and Com. in 'R. Und.').

  2. Right thought (sammā-sankappa): thoughts free from sensuous desire, from ill-will, and cruelty.

  3. Right speech (sammā-vācā): abstaining from lying, tale-bearing, harsh language, and foolish babble.

  4. Right bodily action (sammā-kammanta): abstaining from killing, stealing, and unlawful sexual intercourse.

  5. Right livelihood (sammā-ājīva): abstaining from a livelihood that brings harm to other beings, such as trading in arms, in living beings, intoxicating drinks, poison; slaughtering, fishing, soldiering, deceit, treachery soothsaying, trickery, usury, etc.

  6. Right effort (sammā-vāyāma): the effort of avoiding or overcoming evil and unwholesome things, and of developing and maintaining wholesome things (s. padhāna).

  7. Right mindfulness (sammā-sati): mindfulness and awareness in contemplating body, feelings, mind, and mind-objects (s. sati, satipatthāna).

  8. Right concentration (sammā-samādhi): concentration of mind associated with wholesome (kusala) consciousness, which eventually may reach the absorptions (jhāna). Cf. samādhi.

There are to be distinguished 2 kinds of concentration, mundane (lokiya) and supermundane (lokuttara) concentration. The latter is associated with those states of consciousness known as the 4 supermundane paths and fruitions (s. ariya-puggala). As it is said in M.117:

"I tell you, o monks, there are 2 kinds of right view: the understanding that it is good to give alms and offerings, that both good and evil actions will bear fruit and will be followed by results.... This, o monks, is a view which, though still subject to the cankers, is meritorious, yields worldly fruits, and brings good results. But whatever there is of wisdom, of penetration, of right view conjoined with the path - the holy path being pursued, this is called the supermundane right view (lokuttara-sammā-ditthi), which is not of the world, but which is supermundane and conjoined with the path."

In a similar way the remaining links of the path are to be understood.

As many of those who have written about the Eightfold Path have misunderstood its true nature, it is therefore appropriate to add here a few elucidating remarks about it, as this path is fundamental for the understanding and practice of the Buddha's teaching.

First of all, the figurative expression 'path' should not be interpreted to mean that one has to advance step by step in the sequence of the enumeration until, after successively passing through all the eight stages, one finally may reach one's destination, Nibbāna. If this really were the case, one should have realized, first of all, right view and penetration of the truth, even before one could hope to proceed to the next steps, right thought and right speech; and each preceding stage would be the indispensable foundation and condition for each succeeding stage. In reality, however, the links 3-5 constituting moral training (sīla), are the first 3 links to be cultivated, then the links 6-8 constituting mental training (samādhi), and at last right view, etc. constituting wisdom (paññā).

It is, however, true that a really unshakable and safe foundation to the path is provided only by right view which, starting from the tiniest germ of faith and knowledge, gradually, step by step, develops into penetrating insight (vipassanā) and thus forms the immediate condition for the entrance into the 4 supermundane paths and fruits of holiness, and for the realization of Nibbāna. Only with regard to this highest form of supermundane insight, may we indeed say that all the remaining links of the path are nothing but the outcome and the accompaniments of right view.

Regarding the mundane (lokiya) eightfold path, however, its links may arise without the first link, right view.

Here it must also be emphasized that the links of the path not only do not arise one after the other, as already indicated, but also that they, at least in part, arise simultaneously as inseparably associated mental factors in one and the same state of consciousness. Thus, for instance, under all circumstances at least 4 links are inseparably bound up with any karmically wholesome consciousness, namely 2, 6, 7 and 8, i.e. right thought, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration (M. 117), so that as soon as any one of these links arises, the three others also do so. On the other hand, right view is not necessarily present in every wholesome state of consciousness.

Magga is one of the 24 conditions (s. paccaya 18).


  • The Noble Eightfold Path and its Factors Explained, by Ledi Sayadaw (WHEEL 245/247). -
  • The Buddha's Ancient Path, by Piyadassi Thera (BPS).-
  • The Noble Eightfold Path, by Bhikkhu Bodhi (WHEEL 308/311).

Source: Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines

Magga (“path”):—and not-path, the knowledge and vision regarding: s. visuddhi (V).

Source: Pali Kanon: A manual of Abhidhamma

Pali for 'paths';

context information

Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

Discover the meaning of magga in the context of Theravada from relevant books on Exotic India

Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

magga : (m.) oath; road; way.

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary

Magga, (cp. Epic Sk. mārga, fr. mṛg to track, trace) 1. a road (usually high road), way, foot-path Vism. 708 (maggaṃ agata-pubba-purisa, simile of); VbhA. 256 (tiyojana°, simile of a man travelling); DhA. I, 229.—addhāna° high road Vin. IV, 62; M. III, 158; see under addhāna; antāra-magge on the road Miln. 16; ujuka° a straight way S. I, 33; DhA. I, 18; ummagga (a) a conduit; (b) a devious way: see ummagga, to which add refs. J. V, 260; Th. 2, 94; kummagga a wrong path: see kum°, to which add S. IV, 195; Th. 1, 1174. passāva° & vacca° defecation & urination Vin. III, 127; visama° a bad road S. I, 48.—2. the road of moral & good living, the path of righteousness, with ref. to the moral standard (cp. the 10 commandments) & the way to salvation. The exegetic (edifying) etym. of magga in this meaning is “nibbān’atthikehi maggīyati (traced by those who are looking for N.), nibbānaṃ vā maggeti, kilese vā mārento gacchatī ti maggo” (VbhA. 114). ‹-› Usually designated (a) the “ariya aṭṭhaṅgika magga” or the “Noble Eightfold Path” (see aṭṭhaṅgika). It is mentioned at many places, & forms the corner-stone of the Buddha’s teaching as to the means of escaping “dukkha” or the ills of life. It consists of 8 constituents, viz. sammā-diṭṭhi, sammā-saṅkappa, °vācā, °kammanta, °ājīva, °vāyāma, °sati, °samādhi, or right views, right aspirations, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right rapture. The 7 first constituents are at D. II, 216 & M. III, 71 enumerated as requisites for sammā-samādhi. The name of this table of ethical injunctions is given as “maggam uttamaṃ” at Sn. 1130, i.e. the Highest Path. See for ref. e.g. Vin. III, 93; IV, 26; D. II, 353; III, 102, 128, 284, 286; It. 18; Nd1 292; Nd2 485; Vbh. 104 sq. 235 sq. , VbhA. 114 sq. (its constituents in detail), 121, 216; Vism. 509 sq. (where the 8 constituents are discussed).—(b) as ariya magga: M. III, 72; Pug. 17; DA. I, 176 sq. , 225 sq. , 233; VbhA. 373 sq.; ThA. 205. ‹-› (c) as pañcaṅgika or the Path of 5 constituents (the above first 2 and last 3): Dhs. 89; Vbh. 110 sq. , 237 sq.—(d) other expressions of same import: dhamma° Miln. 21; magga alone; S. I, 191 (Bhagavā maggassa uppādetā etc.)=M. III, 9=S. III, 66; Sn. 429, 441, 724 sq. , 1130; Dh. 57, 273 sq. , It. 106; VbhA. 53, 73. As the first condition & initial stage to the attainment of Arahantship (Nibbāna) it is often found in sequence of either magga-phala-nirodha (e.g. Vism. 217, cp. Nd2 under dukkha II. p. 168), or magga, phala, nibbāna (e.g. Tikp. 155 sq. , 158; VbhA. 43, 316, 488).—magga as entrance to Arahantship is the final stage in the recognition (ñāṇa, pariññā, paññā) of the truth of the causal chain, which realises the origin of “ill, ” the possibility of its removal & the “way” to the removal. These stages are described as dukkhe ñāṇaṃ, samudaye ñāṇaṃ nirodhe ñāṇaṃ and magge ñāṇaṃ at D. III, 227, Ps. I, 118. At the latter passage the foll. chapter (I. 49) gives dukkha-nirodha gāminī paṭipadā as identical with magga.—Note. On the term see Cpd. 41 sq. , 66 sq. , 175, 186; Dhs. trsl. 2 58, 299 sq. , 362 sq.; Expos. 216, 354n. On passages with aṭṭhaṅgika magga & others where magga is used in similes see Mrs. Rh. D. in J. P. T. S. 1907, pp. 119, 120.—3. Stage of righteousness, with ref. to the var. conditions of Arahantship divided into 4 stages, viz. sotāpatti-magga, sakadāgāmi°, anāgāmi°, arahatta°, or the stage of entering the stream (of salvation), that of returning once, that of the never-returner, that of Arahantship.—At DhA. I, 110 magga-phala “the fruit of the Path” (i.e. the attainment of the foundation or first step of Arahantship) is identical with sotāpattiphala on p. 113 (a) in general: arahatta° S. I, 78; A. III, 391; DA. I, 224.—(b) in particular as the 4 paths: Nd2 612 A; Vbh. 322 sq. , 328, 335; Vism. 453, 672‹-› 678; DhA. IV, 30; VbhA. 301.—4. In the Tikapaṭṭhāna (under magga-paccaya-niddesa p. 52) 12 constituents of magga are enumerated; viz. paññā, vitakka, sammāvācā, s-kammanta, s-ājīva, viriya, sati, samādhi, micchā-diṭṭhi, micchā-vācā, m-kammanta, m-ājīva.

Pali book cover
context information

Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

Discover the meaning of magga in the context of Pali from relevant books on Exotic India

Prakrit-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: Paia-sadda-mahannavo; a comprehensive Prakrit Hindi dictionary

1) Magga (मग्ग) in the Prakrit language is related to the Sanskrit word: Mārgaya.

2) Magga (मग्ग) also relates to the Sanskrit word: Mag.

3) Magga (मग्ग) also relates to the Sanskrit word: Mārga.

4) Magga (मग्ग) also relates to the Sanskrit word: Mārga.

context information

Prakrit is an ancient language closely associated with both Pali and Sanskrit. Jain literature is often composed in this language or sub-dialects, such as the Agamas and their commentaries which are written in Ardhamagadhi and Maharashtri Prakrit. The earliest extant texts can be dated to as early as the 4th century BCE although core portions might be older.

Discover the meaning of magga in the context of Prakrit from relevant books on Exotic India

Kannada-English dictionary

Source: Alar: Kannada-English corpus

Magga (ಮಗ್ಗ):—

1) [noun] a hand-operated or power-driven apparatus for weaving fabrics, containing harnesses, lay, reed, shuttles, treadles, etc.; a loom.

2) [noun] a tax levied on looms.

context information

Kannada is a Dravidian language (as opposed to the Indo-European language family) mainly spoken in the southwestern region of India.

Discover the meaning of magga in the context of Kannada from relevant books on Exotic India

See also (Relevant definitions)

Relevant text

Let's grow together!

I humbly request your help to keep doing what I do best: provide the world with unbiased sources, definitions and images. Your donation direclty influences the quality and quantity of knowledge, wisdom and spiritual insight the world is exposed to.

Let's make the world a better place together!

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: