The Rinnegan (輪廻眼, Literally meaning: Saṃsāra Eye) is reputed as the most exalted eyes amongst the Three Great Dōjutsu (三大瞳術, San Daidōjutsu, Literally meaning: Three Great Eye Techniques), the others being the Byakugan and the Sharingan. Rinnegan wielders are said to be sent down from the heavens to become either a "God of Creation" who will calm the world's disorder or a "Destroyer" who will reduce everything to nothingness. Rinnegan are characterised by light purple sclerae and irides with a ripple-pattern that spreads over the eyeball.
The Rinnegan was first manifested by Hagoromo Ōtsutsuki, inherited as a kekkei mōra[Notes 1] from his mother's Rinne Sharingan. With his Rinnegan he saved the world from the Ten-Tails and created ninshū, the precursor of modern ninjutsu. For his contributions to the world, Hagoromo became revered as the "Sage of the Six Paths" and rose to mythological status through the centuries, with his Rinnegan coming to be deemed by many a legend or a mutation.
The Rinnegan can be awakened by combining the chakra of Hagoromo's sons, Indra and Asura, in order to create Hagoromo's chakra. Black Zetsu spent centuries attempting to do so, trying to manipulate the reincarnations of Indra and Asura to awaken the Rinnegan. It was not until the time of Madara Uchiha - Indra's reincarnation - that Black Zetsu was successful, when Madara infused himself with the DNA of Hashirama Senju - Asura's reincarnation. However, Madara's Sharingan did not become Rinnegan until decades later, at the end of his natural lifespan; this also seemingly restored the eyesight lost from his use of Izanagi. When Kabuto Yakushi reincarnated Madara, he operated under a similar hypothesis that Sharingan can be evolved into Rinnegan through combination with Hashirama's DNA. To that end he successfully recreated the Rinnegan in Madara's reincarnated body, though these fake eyes didn't have full access to the original's abilities.
Sasuke Uchiha's left Sharingan became a Rinnegan when Hagoromo's spirit gave half of his power to Sasuke. His Rinnegan has six tomoe split between its first two ripples. If overused and weakened enough, Sasuke's Rinnegan will temporarily lose the tomoe and its full strength until fully recharged. The recharging period seems to be a very long one. Sasuke will also lose the ability to even form his Mangekyō Sharingan and access its powers until they have recharged.
As with any dōjutsu, the Rinnegan can be transplanted into others. Madara implanted both of his into Nagato without the boy's knowledge, and Nagato was able to make effective use of the Rinnegan throughout his life due to his Senju lineage. After Nagato's death, the Rinnegan were taken by Tobi, who implanted the left eye into himself and hid the other because he could not handle the power of both eyes at once. Even so, he was able to use one Rinnegan to devastating effects in the Fourth Shinobi World War. Madara later reclaimed both of his Rinnegan after he was revived and ultimately died with them.
The Rinnegan grants the wielder a wide range of abilities without any known chakra requirements to keep the eyes active. Certain abilities are only available to the original owner of the Rinnegan, but the possession of even a single transplanted Rinnegan can grant overwhelming power. Rinnegan are able to see chakra, its flow and tenketsu within the body  but cannot detect it through obstructions such as smoke bomb. With the Rinnegan, the wielder can master any jutsu as well as all five nature transformations with ease. A Rinnegan user is able to create chakra receivers, into which they can transmit their chakra across long distances. The Rinnegan can also fully decipher the contents of Hagoromo's stone monument.
Possessing the Rinnegan grants the user a family of abilities collectively known as the Six Paths Techniques: the gravitational powers of the Deva Path; the menagerie of summons available to the Animal Path; the limitless absorptive potential of the Preta Path; the control over others' souls with the Human Path; the different options of mechanisation of the Asura Path; access to the King of Hell through the Naraka Path. Nagato distributed one of these abilities to each of his Six Paths of Pain — six corpses embedded with chakra receivers. A seventh ability, the Outer Path, is said to allow the user to preside over life and death so that they may revive the dead, summon and control the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path, and manifest chakra chains to bind others.
Certain Rinnegan abilities have only been demonstrated by single users: Madara can perform Limbo: Border Jail to create corporeal shadows which are only visible to the Rinnegan; Sasuke's Rinnegan allows him to shift spaces within a certain range of himself.
- Rinne (輪廻, Literally meaning: Wheel Cycle) 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 their names with the six Samsaric realms of reincarnation.
- The kanji "Rin" (輪, Literally meaning: Wheel) is also used in Sharingan and Rinne Sharingan, potentially linking the three terms etymologically.
- The anime depicts the Rinnegan as being multicoloured in its first few appearances. This is corrected after the Rinnegan starts being depicted in colour in the manga. However, whereas the Rinnegan in the manga is a uniform shade of purple, the anime tends to make the centre-most ring a slightly darker shade of purple, likely for realism purposes.
- In Naruto: Shippūden episode 203, the Sage of the Six Paths' Rinnegan are shown as red.
- After Deidara and Sasori brought Gaara to the Akatsuki hideout, Pain is depicted with tomoe in his Rinnegan once, this is corrected in the tankōbon version.
- Sasuke's Rinnegan has been shown many times with less or more than six tomoe:
- Prior to Sasuke's Rinnegan appearing in colour illustrations by Masashi Kishimoto, the Naruto: Colour Edition depicted it as being red. This is corrected in subsequent chapters.
- ↑ In the fourth databook, Hagoromo is only classified as a kekkei mōra user, suggesting his Rinnegan was no kekkei genkai.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Third Databook, page 313
- ↑ Chapter 375, page 17
- ↑ Chapter 373, page 2
- ↑ Chapter 425, page 9
- ↑ Chapter 462, page 11
- ↑ Chapter 671, page 6
- ↑ Chapter 681, pages 10-15
- ↑ Chapter 681, pages 13-14
- ↑ Chapter 560, pages 14-15
- ↑ Chapter 659, page 7
- ↑ Chapter 673, pages 15-16
- ↑ Chapter 700+8, pages 17
- ↑ Chapter 700+8, pages 17
- ↑ Chapter 606, pages 13-15
- ↑ Chapter 509, page 4
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 Chapter 675, page 4
- ↑ Chapter 658, page 17
- ↑ Chapter 672, page 1
- ↑ Chapter 433, page 13
- ↑ Chapter 375, page 11
- ↑ Fourth Databook, page 255
- ↑ Chapter 467, page 11
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 Chapter 449, page 1
- ↑ Chapter 606, pages 12-14
- ↑ Chapter 569, page 10
- ↑ Chapter 674, page 6
- ↑ Chapter 685, page 17
- ↑ Chapter 254, page 15
- ↑ Volume 29
- ↑ Chapter 673, page 17
- ↑ Chapter 674, page 10