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It is shown that the Sage of the Six paths was the first to have the Rinnegan.

Now for an Uchiha these are the stages of their eyes:

  1. Normal eyes
  2. Sharingan (activated after facing life threatening situation)
  3. Mangekyo Sharingan (activated after a very close person dies)
  4. Eternal Mangekyo Sharingan (activated after replacing the existing Mangekyo Sharingan with another mangekyo sharingan)
  5. Rinnegan (conditions for activation have not yet been mentioned)

All these stages have covered by Madara Uchiha, he took his brother's Mangekyo Sharingan to activate the Eternal Mangekyo Sharingan.

Now if the same logic was to be applied to the Sage of the Six Paths, then whose Mangekyo Sharingan did he take for his own?

He being the first shinobi should not have anyone to take a Sharingan from.

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    As details from Chapter 646 of the manga, the accepted answer is outdated. Please take some time to consider if there are any other more up-to-date answers. – кяαzєя Dec 4 '13 at 0:14
  • Which part is outdated? I can't find anything in 646 that differs. – krikara Dec 4 '13 at 16:20
  • The answers to the titled question and the question within the post still don't change – krikara Dec 4 '13 at 17:03
  • @krikara While the current answers do fulfill most of the criteria, certain parts are could use some updates or revisions. Since this question has a fairly good amount of views, it's best to make sure the all of the information is fairly up-to-date for anyone that happen to stumble upon this. Instead of details of some (older) answer that was changed by a later retcon. – кяαzєя Dec 4 '13 at 19:13
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    @MalicahCaruthers asking a question in comments or as an answer to a question is not encouraged. Please ask a new question using the "Ask Question" link. – debal May 22 '14 at 15:50
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Awakening the Rinnegan

I think you have misunderstood something here.

The Rinnegan was the original form. It required no activation and was permanent to the Sage of the Six Paths.

His children, the Uchiha and the Senju inherited the two different feats:

  • The life force and physical energy went to the Senju
  • The visual prowess and strength of chakra went to the Uchiha clan.

This visual prowess manifested in the Sharingan as a visible component of the Rinnegan. The Senju had some second components to the Rinnegan embedded in their DNA.

When one brings the DNA of an Uchiha and a Senju together, one can awaken the Rinnegan.

The problem now is that the possibility to awaken the Rinnegan (when they also have Senju DNA) is in every Sharingan user, but only "under the radar". To activate the Rinnegan, it seems one must go through different stages:

The Mangekyou Sharingan and the [Eien]{Eternal} no Mangekyou Sharingan

Madara accomplished this. By implanting Hashirama's DNA to his cells when he was close to death, he finally awakened the Rinnegan.

It may also be possible to awaken the Rinnegan without undergoing the two higher stages of the Sharingan, but that is only speculative. As of chapter 674 of the manga, the DNA of Hashirama (or moreover, Senju DNA) is not required to awaken the Rinnegan.

Sasuke awakens the Rinnegan, even though there is no actual explanation as to why. It probably has to do with the fact that Sasuke is possessed by the reincarnated spirit of Rikudo's son.

Origin of the Rinnegan

If you read Chapter 646 of the Naruto manga, you can see

the Ten-Tails' awakening. And when he opens his eyes, you should be able to notice that they have a similar pattern to the Rinnegan. Actually, the eyes look like a Rinnegan with some Tomoe 巴 scattered in the circles of the Rinnegan.

We also witness the Ten-Tails' awakened form (the Tree of God), which uses a more complex form of the Preta Path when he absorbs the chakra of people he caught.

From this information, we can conclude that the Tree of God/Ten Tails was the original "wielder" of the "perfect Rinnegan" (well, it hasn't got a name yet), and that most probably, the chakra was not the only thing the Sage got at birth.

  • Correction, Sasuke's Rinnegan was awaken by the Sage of Six Path. It was when Rikudo asked Naruto and Sasuke to raise their dominant hand. – 絢瀬絵里 Sep 8 '14 at 10:17
  • @TendouKishi IIRC it was never explicitly mentioned, that the SOSP actually awakened the Rinnegan of Sasuke "himself". I'd still say that every piece of evidence points to the reincarnated spirits, but I think a discussion would be moot ;) – Vogel612 Sep 8 '14 at 10:19
  • @Vogel612 +1 for your answer. I have to agree with Ayase , After sasuke receives chakra from the sage of 6 paths, that's when he awakens his Rinnegan. Yes, it's not explicitly mentioned in the manga, but in retrospect, this is how. – SeasonalShot Jul 23 '16 at 8:38
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This question seems to be pretty complicated and is asking a lot of things, so I'm going to break this down piece by piece.

How did the Sage of Six Paths obtain his Rinnegan?

Well, we really don't know whether he was born with it or obtained it after birth. What's important to know is that he was the first one that had it.

The stages/evolution of an Uchiha's eyes

Regular -> Sharingan (1->2->3 Tomoe) -> Mangekyou Sharingan -> Eternal MS -> Rinnegan

You are right about the progression, however you are mistaken when you ask

Now if the same logic was to be applied to the Sage of the Six Paths, then whose Mangekyo Sharingan did he take for his own?

The Sage of Six Paths did not have the Mangekyou Sharingan nor did he take the Mangekyou Sharingan from someone. He had the strongest and final form of the eye : Rinnegan.

When the Sage of Six Paths had two sons, his powers were split between them. One was Senju and inherited the Sage of Six Path's body strength. The other son was Uchiha and received the Sage of Six Path's ocular powers.

Keep in mind that both sons only received a fraction of what the Sage of Six Paths had. This is why all Uchiha always bore the Sharingan, which is a younger eye form for an Uchiha and has a fraction of the power of the Rinnegan.

Thus when a person wants to awake the Rinnegan, the requirements are both body and eye. An example of this is Uchiha Madara with the Sharingan and acquiring Senju Hashirama's DNA. With both DNA from Uchiha and Senju, he can finally become a Sage of the Six Paths and obtain the Rinnegan. And even while using the Rinnegan, Uchiha Madara is still able to use Mangekyou techniques like Susanoo, which confirms that Rinnegan is the final evolutionary state of the eyes.

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I believe your grasp of the dojutsu is flawed. Sharingan and Rinnegan are two separate jutsu, though one descended from the other. The final stage that an Uchiha can hope to achieve naturally of their Sharingan is the Eternal Mangekyo Sharingan. To achieve the Rinnegan, one needs to be born with the chakra of both the Senju and Uchiha as the Sage once did. However, this can be bypassed by acquiring the DNA of one and introducing it into another.

In short, the Sage of Six Paths was born with the Rinnegan. Seeing that it manifested itself naturally, he did not need to steal DNA (Senju) or eyes (Uchiha), as neither clans were present during his lifetime.

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