"What is right view? Ultimately it is fully penetrating the Four Ennobling Truths with insight. Wisdom with regard to suffering (unhappiness, ill, woe, pain, sorrow, distress), the origination of suffering, the cessation of suffering, and the way of practice leading to the end of suffering. This is called right view" (DN 22).
Relation to the other Path factors
"And how is right view the forerunner? One discerns false view as false view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view. And what is false view? '[The belief that] there is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed. There is no fruit or result of good and bad deeds. There is no this world, no world to come, no [special significance in deeds done towards one's] mother, no father, no instantaneously reborn beings; no brahmins or ascetics who, living rightly and practicing rightly, explain this world and future worlds after having directly known and realized them for themselves.' This is false view...
"One abandons false view to replace it with right view: This is one's right effort. One is mindful to abandon false view to replace it with and maintain right view: This is one's right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities -- right view, right effort, and right mindfulness -- run and around right view" (MN 117).
Consequences of false view
The Ignoble Eightfold Path: "In a person of (1) wrong [incorrect or false] view, (2) wrong intention comes into being. In a person of wrong intention, (3) wrong speech. In a person of wrong speech, (4) wrong action. In a person of wrong action, (5) wrong livelihood. In a person of wrong livelihood, (6) wrong effort. In a person of wrong effort, (7) wrong mindfulness. In a person of wrong mindfulness, (8) wrong concentration. In a person of wrong concentration, wrong knowledge. In a person of wrong knowledge, wrong liberation. This is how wrongness leads to failure not success" (AN 10.103).
Results of right view
The Noble Eightfold Path: "When a person has (1) right view, (2) right intention, (3) right speech, (4) right action, (5) right livelihood, (6) right effort, (7) right mindfulness, (8) right concentration, right wisdom, and right liberation, whatever bodily deeds one undertakes in line with that [correct] view, whatever verbal deeds... whatever mental deeds one undertakes in line with that view, whatever intentions, whatever vows, whatever determinations, whatever fabrications, all lead to what is agreeable, pleasing, welcome, profitable, and uplifting. Why? It is because such view is auspicious.
"Just as when a sugarcane seed, rice grain, or grape seed is placed in moist soil, whatever nutriment it takes from the soil and water, all of that conduces to its sweetness, tastiness, and delectability. Why? It is because the seed is auspicious. In the same way, when a person has right view... right liberation, whatever bodily deeds one undertakes in line with such view, whatever verbal deeds... whatever mental deeds one undertakes in line with such view, whatever intentions, whatever vows, whatever determinations, whatever formations, all lead to what is agreeable, pleasing, welcome, profitable, and uplifting. Why? It is because such view is auspicious" (AN 10.104).
A Thicket of Wrong Views
"There is the case where an uninstructed, ordinary worldling [not acquainted with the liberating Dharma]... does not discriminate and discern which ideas are fit for attention, which unfit. This being so, one does not attend to ideas fit for attention but attends instead to unfit ideas... This is how one attends unprofitably:
- 'Was I in the past? Was I not in the past?
- What was I in the past? How was I in the past?
- Having been what, what was I in the past?
- Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future?
- What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future?
- Having been what, what shall I be in the future?'
- 'Am I? Am I not?
- What am I? How am I?
- Where has this being come from?
- Where is it bound?'
"As one attends unprofitably in this way, one of six kinds of view arises:
- The view, I have a self arises as true and established.
- Or the view, I have no self...
- Or the view, It is by means of self that I perceive self...
- Or the view, It is by means of self that I perceive not-self [the impersonal nature of being]...
- Or the view, It is by means of not-self that I perceive self arises as true and established.
- Or else one forms a view such as: This very self of mine -- the knower who is sensitive here or there to the ripening of good and bad deeds (karma) -- is the self belonging to me that is constant, everlasting, eternal, not subject to change, and will endure forever.
Bound by a fetter of views, the uninstructed ordinary worldling [not acquainted with the liberating Dharma] is not freed from birth, aging, and death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, and despair. One is not freed, I tell you, from suffering and sorrow.
"But the well-instructed disciple [acquainted with the liberating Dharma] of the noble ones... discriminates and discerns which ideas are fit for attention, which unfit. This being so, such a person does not attend to ideas unfit for attention but attends [instead] to fit ideas... One attends profitably:
- This is suffering...
- This is the origination of suffering...
- This is the end of suffering...
- This is the way leading to the end of suffering.
[The Buddha:] "By and large, Kaccayana, this world is supported by [or holds the view of] polemical extremes of existence and non-existence.
"But when one sees the origination of the world [the Five Aggregates of clinging to impersonal material and mental phenomena as a self] as it truly is with right view, 'non-existence' with regard to the world does not occur to one.
"When one sees the cessation of the world as it actually is with right view, 'existence' with regard to the world [the Five Aggregates of being or of existence] does not occur to one.
"By and large, Kaccayana, this world is in bondage to attachments, clingings [sustenances], and biases. But one such as this does not get involved with or cling to these attachments, clingings, fixations of attention, biases, or obsessions. Neither is one resolved on 'myself.'
"One has no doubt or uncertainty that, when there is arising, only suffering and unsatisfactoriness is arising. And when there is passing away, only suffering and unsatisfactoriness is passing away.
"In this, one's knowledge is independent of others. It is to this extent, Kaccayana, that there is right view" (SN 12.15).
Abandoning the unskillful, developing the skillful
[The central message of the Kalama Sutra:] "Do not go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scriptural authority, by logical inference, by conjecture, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, 'This guru is our teacher.'
"But when you yourself know, 'These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are condemned by the wise; these qualities, when adopted and performed, lead to harm and to suffering' -- then abandon them...
"When you yourself know, 'These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted and performed, lead to everyone's welfare and happiness' -- then adopt and keep them" (AN 3.65).