|This is the article on the original technique granted by the Rinnegan. For the technique which uses different bodies, head to Six Paths of Pain.|
The Six Paths Technique (六道の術, Rikudō no Jutsu) is the origin of the unique techniques bestowed by the Rinnegan. Those who wield the Rinnegan have access to each of these techniques. Despite its name, there are actually seven of these techniques that grant the user powerful and near god-like abilities:
- The Deva Path (天道, Tendō), which is able to manipulate attractive and repulsive forces.
- The Asura Path (修羅道, Shuradō), which allows the user to augment their body with mechanised limbs, weaponry and armour.
- The Human Path (人間道, Ningendō), which affords the ability to read a person's mind while also removing their soul.
- The Animal Path (畜生道, Chikushōdō), which allows the user to summon a wide variety of creatures.
- The Preta Path (餓鬼道, Gakidō), which is capable of absorbing all forms of chakra, including most ninjutsu.
- The Naraka Path (地獄道, Jigokudō), through which the user can call upon the King of Hell.
- The Outer Path (外道, Gedō), with which the user is able to preside over life and death.
Nagato, who was crippled early in his lifetime, utilised the Outer Path to create the Six Paths of Pain: six reanimated corpses that he controlled as additional bodies through the use of black receivers. These bodies each possessed copies of the Rinnegan and the ability to use one aspect of the Six Paths Technique, thus compensating for Nagato's physical limitations. The Six Paths of Pain were each named after the ability Nagato channelled through them, while Nagato himself was regarded as the seventh Pain, the Outer Path. Obito Uchiha would later make use of this method to create his own Six Paths of Pain, this time using six former jinchūriki that were reincarnated by Kabuto Yakushi.
As the main body's vision is linked to the Rinnegan possessed by the corpses, this method allows the user to easily coordinate their movements and also offers them a form of protection, as they can control the corpses from a distance, rather than putting their own body at risk. However, in order to use some especially chakra-taxing facets of the Six Paths Technique, the user must either cut off the flow of their chakra to all but one body, as in the case of the large-scale Shinra Tensei, or bring the body close to their position, as in the case of Chibaku Tensei. In contrast, when a Rinnegan wielder uses the Six Paths Technique with their own body, they are capable of using multiple abilities at once, and the strength of the techniques are greater.
The Six Paths share their names with the six realms of reincarnation in Buddhism: Deva, Asura, Human, Animal, Preta, and Naraka. Each of these "paths" represents one of the realms a being may be reborn into after death, determined by the accumulated karma of their past lives. While the two lower realms, Preta and Naraka, are hellish, and the two higher realms, Deva and Asura, are heavenly, all six are considered to be realms of suffering, as they perpetuate Saṃsāra, the cycle of reincarnation; the only way to break this cycle and ascend to a higher state of existence is to attain enlightenment.
The Outer Path, derived from the Sanskrit term Tīrthika, refers to any doctrine that "treads the outer path" to enlightenment. This is opposed to the teachings of orthodox Buddhism, the Naidō (内道, Literally meaning: Inner Path), and is thus considered misguided and heretical.
- Despite neither possessing the Rinnegan at the time, Madara Uchiha taught Obito to use the Six Paths Technique, alongside Uchiha kinjutsu and Yin–Yang Release techniques, shortly prior to his death. He then created a black rod out of his will and told Obito to use it when he performed the Six Paths Technique.
- In Naruto Shippūden: Shinobi Rumble, a technique called "Six Paths Technique" is used by Nagato's Six Paths of Pain. In this variant, Nagato generates a moderately sized sphere of debris overhead, then thrusts his arms downward, sending it crashing into the ground like a meteor. An enhanced, "Full Throttle" version of the technique called "Six Paths Technique: Collapse" (六道の術・崩壊, Rikudō no Jutsu: Hōkai) can also be performed.