Ninjutsu, Dōjutsu, Kekkei Genkai
The Rinnegan is reputed as the most exalted eyes amongst the Three Great Dōjutsu (三大瞳術, San Daidōjutsu; Literally meaning "Three Great Eye Techniques"). It is characterized by its ripple-like pattern which spreads over the eyeballs, with light purple irides and sclerae.
It was admired as being able to bring forth all ninjutsu. It was said that in times when the world is in disorder, a person is sent down from the heavens to become either a "God of Creation" who will calm the world, or a "Destroyer" who will reduce everything to nothingness. The Rinnegan allows the user to use the Six Paths Technique. The Sharingan and Byakugan originated from this eye, and because the Sharingan originated from the Rinnegan, it is possible for the dōjutsu to change into the Rinnegan as part of a "natural evolution".
One who gains the Rinnegan has access to a multitude of abilities. On its own, the Rinnegan allows the user to see energy, including otherwise hidden barriers. The holder of these eyes have the potential to completely master all five basic nature transformations that form the basis of ninjutsu. The Rinnegan can also allow its user to summon and control the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path.
One of the Rinnegan's trademark techniques is the Six Paths Technique, which grants the user multiple abilities, known as Paths. The Animal Path can summon several different creatures. The Naraka Path can summon the King of Hell, which could be used for interrogation and restoration. The Preta Path can absorb any chakra-based ninjutsu. The Asura Path can clad the user in mechanised armour and grant them various weapons. The Human Path can read minds, at the cost of ripping out the victim's soul. The Deva Path allows the manipulation of gravity-based forces to either repel or pull in an enemy.
Finally the user is granted the Outer Path, also known as the seventh Path. It granted the user control over life and death. It can be used to control tailed beasts in a similar fashion to the Sharingan and the Wood Release with its chakra chains. The Outer Path also granted a shared field of vision between its user and their summoned creatures and Six Paths of Pain, which gave multiple angles of vision and neutralised any blind spots. At this point all of their eyes would also sport the Rinnegan.
The users of the Rinnegan also gain access to a special set of tools, the chakra receivers; black rods which one can use as a medium to channel chakra or produce chakra chains.
- 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 all Six Paths of Pain, which share the names with Samsaric realms of reincarnation.