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The Rinnegan (輪廻眼, Literally meaning: Saṃsāra Eye) is reputed as the most exalted eye amongst the "Three Great Dōjutsu", the others being the Sharingan and the Byakugan. It is said that in times of disorder, one who wields the Rinnegan is sent down from the heavens to become either a "God of Creation" who will calm the world or a "God of Destruction" who will reduce everything to nothingness. The Rinnegan is characterized by a ripple pattern that spreads over the eyeball.
The Rinnegan grants the wielder a wide range of abilities without any known chakra requirement to keep the eyes active. Certain abilities are only available to the original owner of the dōjutsu, but possession of even a single transplanted Rinnegan can grant overwhelming power. Rinnegan are able to see chakra, as well as its flow within the body and the activated tenketsu of the Eight Gates, but cannot see through obstructions such as smoke bombs. One who possesses the Rinnegan can easily master any jutsu as well as all five nature transformations, create black receivers into which they can transmit their chakra, fully decipher the stone tablet written by Hagoromo, and counter the effects of the Infinite Tsukuyomi.
Possessing the Rinnegan grants the user a family of abilities collectively known as the Six Paths Technique: control over attractive and repulsive forces with the Deva Path; the ability to mechanize one's body with the Asura Path; soul extraction through the Human Path; the menagerie of summons available to the Animal Path; chakra absorption through the Preta Path; and access to the King of Hell through the Naraka Path. These abilities can be distributed to the Six Paths of Pain — six bodies embedded with black receivers, which the user can control remotely. A seventh ability, the Outer Path, is said to allow the user to preside over life and death, granting the ability to revive the dead. The user is also able to summon and control the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path, as well as manifest chakra chains to bind the tailed beasts. The dōjutsu also grants the user a shared field of vision with the Six Paths of Pain, the King of Hell, and the Animal Path's summons, all of which possess copies of the Rinnegan.
VariationsInstead of the usual purple hue, one individual is shown to have a different colored Rinnegan, taking on the color of green. While her dōjutsu may be different in terms of appearance, it retains the same abilities as of that of the normal Rinnegan, along with the capability to perform Mangekyō Sharingan techniques as well. It is unknown how one can manifest a different colored set of eyes, some speculating it as a mutation or simply a fluke given that the person's genetics have been tampered with before. Either way, her eyes function normally as any Rinnegan pair and does not offer any other unique traits or powers.
- In the anime, the Rinnegan was depicted as being multicoloured in its first few appearances. Once coloured manga illustrations of the Rinnegan were released, this was corrected.
- In Naruto: Shippūden episode 203, a silhouette of the Sage of the Six Paths is shown. Here, the Sage's Rinnegan is shown to be red instead of the usual colour.
- Rinne (輪廻) is the Japanese term for Samsara, the cycle of reincarnation or rebirth in several Indian religions. This is reflected in the names of Six paths of Pain, which share the names with Samsaric realms of reincarnation.