I. Introductory discourse¶
Homage to the Blessed One, the Consummate One, the Supremely Enlightened One. 
He who wishes to be released from all trouble, wishes to be unloosed from all attachment, wishes to gain the pre-eminent mind, wishes to be rid of birth, old age and death, wishes to enjoy bliss and freedom, wishes, to achieve the yet unachieved extinction, Nibbāna, and lead those on the other shore to perfection, should be versed in the Sutta, Abhidhamma and Vinaya. This is the Path of Freedom.
Answer: ‘Virtue’ means restraint.  ‘Concentration’ means non-distractedness. ‘Wisdom’ means comprehension. ‘Freedom’ means freedom from bondage. ‘Peerless’ means canker-free. ‘Awoke’ means realized and understood through wisdom. ‘These verities’ means the four noble verities.  ‘Gotama’ [2/65] is the name of a family. ‘Illustrious’ means blessed. Through the excellent merits: virtue, concentration, wisdom and freedom, he gained boundless and highest fame.
Path of freedom described¶
What is the meaning of the Path of Freedom? ‘Freedom’ means the five kinds of freedom: freedom of suppression,  freedom of parts,  freedom of eradication,  freedom of tranquillity,  and freedom of emancipation. 
What is ‘freedom of suppression’? It is the suppression of the passions through the practice of the first meditation.  This is called ‘freedom of suppression’. ‘Freedom of parts’ is the freedom from views through the practice of concentration which partakes of penetration.  This is called ‘freedom of parts’. ‘Freedom of eradication’ is the destruction of the fetters through the practice of the supramundane path.  This is called ‘freedom of eradication’. ‘Freedom of tranquillity’ is (to be understood) as the happy heart of a man who acquires fruit. This is called
 ‘freedom of tranquillity’. ‘Freedom of emancipation’ is extinction without residue of the substratum of being.  This is called ‘freedom of emancipation’. This Path of Freedom is for the attainment of liberation. This perfect path is called the Path of Freedom through virtue, concentration and wisdom.
Now will I preach concerning the Path of Freedom. Q. For what reason is the Path of Freedom taught? A. There is a good man. He is like a blind man who wanders to a distant land without guidance, because, although he wishes to gain freedom, he does not listen to the teaching of freedom; because he does not acknowledge freedom and because he wrongly acknowledges freedom. Since he is hemmed in by much suffering he cannot gain freedom. Although he wishes to gain freedom, he has not the means. To gain freedom means are necessary. The Buddha has declared: “There are beings covered with but a little dust. They will fall away unless they hear the Truth”.  Again the Buddha has declared: “O bhikkhus, through two occasioning causes can one arouse Right Understanding. Which two? Hearing from others is the first. Intelligent attention is the second”.  Therefore do I preach freedom.
I preach freedom to those who do not acknowledge freedom in order to produce in them the feeling of detachment. This is like a traveller to a distant land getting a good guide.
Merits of acknowledgement of the path¶
[3/66] What is the group of virtue? It is Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood and the like. Or the group of virtue is the merit-mass of diverse virtues.
What is the group of concentration? It is Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration and the like. Or (the group of concentration is) the merit-mass of diverse forms of concentration.
What is the group of wisdom? It is Right Understanding, Right Thought and the like. Or (the group of wisdom is) the merit-mass of diverse kinds of wisdom. Thus these three groups are completed.
A man who acknowledges the Path of Freedom should be versed in the triple training: the training of the higher virtue,  the training of the higher thought,  and the training of the higher wisdom. 
(It is said:) Virtue is the training of the higher virtue; concentration is the training of the higher thought; wisdom is the training of the higher wisdom.
And again (it is said:) There is virtue which is the training of virtue and there is virtue which is the training of the higher virtue. There is concentration  which is the training of thought and there is concentration which is the training of the higher thought. There is wisdom which is the training of wisdom and there is wisdom which is the training of the higher wisdom.
Q. What is the training of virtue? A. Indicated virtue  — this is called the training of virtue. Virtue partaking of penetration  — this is called the training of the higher virtue. Again, the virtue of the commoner — this is called the training of virtue. Ariyan virtue — this is called the training of the higher virtue.
Q. What is the training of thought? A. It is concentration pertaining to (the) sense (plane)  . Q. What is the training of the higher thought? A. It is concentration pertaining to (the) form (plane)  and (the) formless (plane)  . This is called the training of the higher thought. And again, indicated concentration  is the training of thought. Concentration partaking of penetration and concentration of the Path are called the training of the higher thought.
What is the training of wisdom? Worldly knowledge — this is called the training of wisdom. The four truths, (enlightenment) factors’ knowledge  and the knowledge of the Path — these are called the training of the higher wisdom.
The Blessed One expounded the training of the higher virtue to a man of the lower type, the training of the higher thought to a man of the middle type and the training of the higher wisdom to a man of the higher type. [4/67]
The meaning of training¶
Q. What is the meaning of training? A. To be trained in the things wherein training is necessary, to be trained in the excellent training and to be trained to transcend all training. Thus to be trained in these three trainings is called the acknowledgement of the Path of Freedom.
Removal of impurities¶
Through these three kinds of training one attains to purity: purity of virtue,  purity of thought,  and purity of views.  Thus virtue is purity of virtue, concentration is purity of thought, and wisdom is purity of views.
Virtue cleanses away the impurities caused through transgression of precepts (— this is called the purification of virtue). Concentration cleanses away the encompassing impurities—this is called the purification of the mind. Wisdom removes the impurities of ignorance—this is called the purification of views. And again, virtue removes the impurities of demeritorious action. Concentration removes the encompassing impurities. Wisdom removes the impurities of the latencies.  Through these three purities a man acknowledges Freedom’s Path.
The three kinds of good¶
Again, a man acknowledges the path through three kinds of good: the initial good, the medial good, the final good.  Virtue is the initial (good); concentration is the medial (good); wisdom is the final (good). Why is virtue the initial good? There is a man who is energetic; he attains to the stage of non-retrogression; on account of non-retrogression, he is joyful; on account of joy, he becomes buoyant; on account of buoyancy, his body is thrilled; on account of his body being thrilled, he is happy; on account of happiness, his mind is at ease — this is called ‘the initial good’. ‘Concentration is the medial good’ thus: Through concentration a man understands things as they are — this is called the medial good. ‘Wisdom is the final good’ thus: Under standing things as they are, a man is disgusted; through disgust he separates from passion; through separation from passion, he frees himself; having freed himself, he knows it (the nature of his freedom).  Thus a man accomplishes the Path of the triple good.*[5/68]*
The three kinds of happiness¶
After acknowledging the Path of Freedom, a man acquires three kinds of happiness: the happiness of the fault-free, the happiness of tranquillity and the happiness of Enlightenment. He acquires the happiness of the fault free through virtue; he acquires the happiness of tranquillity through concentration; and he acquires the happiness of Enlightenment through wisdom. Thus a man acquires the three kinds of happiness.
Perfection of the middle way¶
After a man acknowledges the Path of Freedom, he attains to the perfection of the middle way  rejecting the two extremes. Through this virtue he removes well the attachment to diverse sense-desires and arouses within him the joy of the fault-free. Through concentration he removes the weariness of the body. In the case of tranquillity he increases joy and bliss. Through wisdom he understands the four noble truths  reaches the middle way and deeply cherishes the delectable happiness of Enlightenment. Thus, he, rejecting the extremes,  attains to the perfection of the middle way.
After acknowledging the Path of Freedom, through virtue he transcends the way to states of regress;  through concentration he transcends the sense plane;  through wisdom he transcends all becoming.  If he practises virtue to the full and practises little of concentration and wisdom, he will reach the stage of the Stream-entrant  and the stage of the Once-returner.  If he practises virtue and concentration to the full and practises little of wisdom, he will reach the stage of the Non-returner.  If he practises virtue, concentration and wisdom to the full, he will reach the peerless freedom of the Consummate One.  [6/69]