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    Buddhist Literature and PÈramÊs

    1.A.0. Buddhist literature

    The moral, practical and ethical systems expounded by the

    Buddha, who was the founder of Buddhism, known as Gotama

    (Gautama) Buddha, are called the Dhamma, and are more popularly

    known as Buddhism. Buddhism is a course or a way that guides a

    disciple through pure living and pure thinking, to gain supreme

    wisdom and deliverance from all evils and defilements.

    Although the Buddha had passed away 2550 years ago, the

    lamp of the Dhamma was never extinguished. It is still lightening and

    this is the benefit which we have received today from the right

    endeavor through successive teaching and learning (VÈda) of the

    great elder disciples (Thera) of the Buddha.

    Those learned, very orthodox enlightened great elder disciples

    never changed the Teachings of the Buddha (Dhamma) into another

    style. They never removed anything from the original Dhamma, nor

    inserted or substituted new and modern words or ideas. Those pious

    learned orthodox great elder disciples of the Buddha maintained well

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    and guarded properly the Dhamma in its pristine purity. That was

    why, it is called ‗TheravÈda‘ (The Original Teachings of the Buddha

    carried by the Elders). 1 The original Teachings of the Buddha

    handed down generation to generation (from the beginning of the

    lineage of great elders) are divided into three divisions. These three

    (Ti) divisions (PiÔaka) are called ‗TipiÔaka‘ which literally means

    ‗three baskets‘.

    (1)Vinaya PiÔaka (The Basket of Discipline),

    (2) Suttanta PiÔaka (The Basket of Discourses) and,

    (3) Abhidhamma PiÔaka (The Basket of Higher Discourses).

    These TipiÔakas can be categorized as NikÈyas or


    1. DÊgha-NikÈya (The Collection of Long Discourses),

    (SÊlakkhandhavagga, MahÈvagga and PÈthikavagga.)

    2. Majjhima-NikÈya (The Collection of Middle Length Discourses),

    (M|lapaÓÓÈsa, MajjhimapaÓÓÈsa and UparipaÓÓÈsa)

    3. SaÑyutta-NikÈya (The Collection of Kindred Discourses),

    (I. SagÈthÈvagga, NidÈnavagga. II. Khandhavagga,

    SaÄÈyatanavagga. III. MahÈvagga.)

    4. A~guttara-NikÈya (The Collection of Gradual Discourses),

    (I. Ekaka, Duka, Tika and Catukka NipÈta. II. PaÒcaka, Chakka, Sattaka

    1 Vin.IV.480

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    and AÔÔhaka NipÈta. III. Navaka, Dasaka and EkÈdasaka NipÈta.) and

    5. Khuddaka-NikÈya (The Collection of Short Discourses)

    (KhuddakapÈÔha, Dhammapada, UdÈna, Itivuttaka, SuttanipÈta,

    VimÈnavatthu, Petavatthu, TheragÈthÈ, TherÊgÈthÈ, JÈtaka,

    MahÈniddesa, C|Äaniddesa, PaÔisambhidÈmagga, ApadÈna,

    BuddhavaÑsa, CariyÈpiÔaka, Netti, PeÔakopadesa and


    1.A.1. PÈramÊ and Buddhist Literature

    In the BuddhavaÑsa of Khuddaka NikÈya, the Buddha

    explained about PÈramis (perfections) to be fulfilled for gaining noble

    qualities. The vital role of fulfilling PÈramis is to be a noble person,

    such as Buddha (supreme self enlightenment), Pacceka Buddha

    (solitary Buddha), Agga SÈvaka (great chief disciples), MahÈ

    SÈvaka (great elder disciples), etc.

    The Bodhisatta (Bodhisattva- to be Buddha) SumedhÈ, who

    became known as Gotama (Gautama) Buddha, had got exact

    prophecy from DÊpa~kara Buddha. Right after hearing the prophecy,

    SumedhÈ (Bodhisatta) ardently and continually practised and fulfilled

    ten kinds of PÈramÊs for four incalculable world-cycles plus a

    hundred thousand aeons. Those fulfilled PÈramÊs made him

    perfect, unique and unsurpassed by human or Deva (deities) or

    Brahma world.

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    There are ten kinds of Perfections practiced by SumedhÈ, the

    Bodhisatta himself in his previous lives.

    1.A.2. Ten kinds of Perfections (PÈramitÈs)

    In BuddhavaÑsa of KhuddakanikÈya, the Perfections (PÈramÊs) are listed as Ten in number. They are as follows:

    (1) DÈna PÈramÊ - Generosity, (translated sometimes as Charity, Liberality or just alms-giving),

    (2) SÊla PÈramÊ - Morality or Virtue, Discipline, Proper conduct,

    (3) Nekkhamma PÈramÊ - Renunciation,

    (4) PaÒÒÈ PÈramÊ - Wisdom, Insight,

    (5) VÊriya PÈramÊ - Energy, Effort, Vigour, or Diligence,

    (6) KhantÊ PÈramÊ - Forbearance or Patience, Tolerance, Acceptance, Endurance,

    (7) Sacca PÈramÊ - Truthfulness,

    (8) AdhiÔÔÈna PÈramÊ - Determination or Resolution,

    (9) MettÈ PÈramÊ - Loving- kindness; and

    (10) UpekkhÈ PÈramÊ - Equanimity.

    These ten perfections are discussed in the following chapters

    primarily based on Buddhist Literatures in TheravÈda. Buddhist

    Sanskrit sources are not unanimous in the number as mentioned

    before. Perfections like nekkhamma, sacca, adhiÔÔhÈna, mettÈ and

    upekkhÈ are expressed only in the PÈÄi list. According to

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    DhammapÈla, the ten pÈramitÈs are reduced to six: DÈnapÈramÊ,

    SÊlapÈramÊ, KhantÊpÈramÊ, VÊriyapÈramÊ, JhÈnapÈramÊ

    (DhyÈna) and PaÒÒÈpÈramÊ.

    NekkhammapÈramÊ is taking up an ascetic life, JhÈna and

    general meritoriousness. Here Nekkhamma as taking up an ascetic

    life should be considered as SÊlapÈramÊ because they are of

    similar nature; in the same way Nekkhamma is JhÈna, free from

    hindrances (nÊvaraÓa) should be considered as JhÈnapÈramÊ.

    Truthfulness is of three kinds; truthful speech (vacÊsacca);

    abstaining from falsehood (viratisacca) which is mental concomitant

    of right speech (sammÈvÈcÈ); and truthful wisdom (ÒÈÓasacca)

    which is mental concomitant of wisdom (paÒÒÈ). (NibbÈna, which is

    Absolute Truth- Paramattha sacca, is not relevant here.) Out of

    these, vacÊsacca and viratisacca being related to SÊla, should be

    counted as SÊlapÈramÊ; ÒÈÓasacca being the concomitant of

    wisdom should be counted as PaÒÒÈpÈramÊ. UpekkhÈpÈramÊ

    consists of concomitant of TatramajjhattatÈ and PaÒÒÈ;

    TatramajjhattatÈ should be taken as the JhÈnapÈramÊ to which it is

    related; and concomitant of PaÒÒÈ which is the same as

    ©ÈnupekkhÈ should be taken as PaÒÒÈpÈramÊ. MettÈpÈramÊ is

    included in JhÈnapÈramÊ. AdhiÔÔhÈnapÈramÊ is included in all

    the six pÈramÊs. 2 Such evidence points to the fact that

    DhammapÈla, being aware of a theory of the six pÈramitÈs, gave it

    a new interpretation of his own, while adhering in principle to the way

    2 CariyÈpiÔakaaÔÔhakathÈ, p-313

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    pÈramitÈs were counted in the TheravÈda tradition. Concepts and

    practices expressed by these terms are as important as other items

    in the list in Buddhism. Har Dayal in this connection tries to see a

    gradual growth of the doctrine of pÈramitÈ out of three fundamental

    steps; namely, SÊla, SamÈdhi and PaÒÒÈ, which are often cited as

    the right direction of practice one must follow in order to attain the

    final goal, NibbÈna. Based on the usually accepted enumeration of

    six pÈramitÈs in MahÈyÈna Buddhism, Vasubandhu in his

    MahÈyÈna sutrÈla~kÈra commentary explains that the six

    pÈramitÈs are fundamentally related to the three "siksas (sikkhÈ

    pÈÄi)"; i.e. AdhisÊla, Adhicitta and AdhiprajÒÈ (AdhipaÒÒÈ pÈÄi).

    Har Dyal's contention and the authoritative explanation of

    Vasubandhu are based on the Buddhist Sanskrit sources and may

    not therefore be applicable to the TheravÈda tradition of

    enumeration, for the PÈÄi list does not end in PaÒÒÈ, a prerequisite

    to entertain such a theory. According to BuddhavaÑsa of PÈÄi3, ten

    kinds of perfections are expressed in that order and Venerable

    Buddhaghosa, the author of DÊghanikÈya 4 , MajjhimanikÈya 5 ,

    A~guttaranikÈya6 and Dhammasa~ganÊ7 Commentaries, also stated

    3 BuddhavaÑsa PÈÄ, p-2.315

    4 SÊlakkhandha aÔÔhakathÈ, p-1.60 (yathÈ kassapo bhagavÈ dÈnapÈramiÑ p|retvÈ,

    sÊlanekkhammapaÒÒÈ vÊriyakhantisaccaadhiÔÔhÈnamettÈupekkhÈpÈramiÑ p|retvÈ, imÈ dasapÈramiyo, dasapupa pÈramiyo, da paramattha pÈramiyoti samattiÑsa pÈramiyo p|retvÈ, a~gapariccÈgaÑ, nayanadhanarajjaputtadÈra pariccÈganti ime paÒca pariccÈge pariccajitvÈpubbayoga pubbacariyadhammakkhÈnaÒÈtatthacariyÈdayo puretvÈ buddhacariyÈya koÔiÑ vattvÈna Ègato, tathÈ amhÈkampi bhagavÈ Ègato.)

    5 M|lapaÓÓÈsa aÔÔhakathÈ, p-1.48

    6 AA. 1. 76., AA,2.208., AA. 3.312

    7 Dhammasa~ganÊ aÔÔhakathÈ, 54

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    ten kinds of Perfections in various places. Venerable Upasena, the

    author of Niddesa Commentary and Venerable MahÈnÈma, the

    author of PaÔisambidÈmagga Commentary have mentioned same

    number of perfections in their books. The antiquity of the teaching is

    suggested by a passage found in the CariyÈpiÔaka-aÔÔhakathÈ

    where all the ten perfections are mentioned under the heading of

    'buddhakÈradhammÈ' said to have been preached to SÈriputta by

    the Buddha himself8. The ten pÈramitÈs to the earlier doctrines in

    the Canon, since the practice of every item in the list of ten is aimed

    at the sublimation of social, ethical and intellectual exercises which

    will eventually become conducive to the attainment of NibbÈna9.

    SaddharmapuÓÉarika refers only to five pÈramitÈs. However

    in the MahÈyÈnia (MahÈyÈna) texts MahÈvastu (iii,226),

    Lalitavistara (340.21), KaruÓÈpuÓÉarika (127.1) and AvadÈna

    sataka (i.7.4), all the six pÈramitÈs are discussed in detail. They are

    as follows;

    1. DÈna pÈramitÈ: 2. SÊla pÈramitÈ: 3. KsÈnti (kshanti)

    pÈramitÈ: 4. VÊriya pÈramitÈ: 5. DhyÈna pÈramitÈ: (Meditation,

    Concentration, Contemplation) 6. PrajñÈ (PaÒÒÈ pÈÄi) pÈramitÈ:

    In the later phase, (7) the UpÈya (skillfulness in the choice of

    means for conversion), (8) PraÓidhÈna (aspiration or prayer), (9)

    Bala (power) and (10) JÒÈna (knowledge) were appended to the

    8 CariyÈpiÔaka-aÔÔhakathÈ,p-277

    9 Buddha in TheravÈda Buddhism, page-271, Toshiichi Endo, Second Edition, 2002

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    already existing list of six pÈramitÈs. These four may be subsumed

    respectively under DÈna, SÊla, VÊriya and PrajÒÈ. However,

    MahÈyÈna texts Dasabh|mikasutra and MahÈvyuttpatti dealt with all

    the ten (perfections) pÈramitÈs are noted10.

    1.A.3. The Meaning of PÈramÊs

    Let us see how the meaning of the word ‗PÈramÊs’ is explained

    in the PÈÄi canonical texts.

    In order to get an idea for a reader, the possible meanings of

    the word ‗pÈramÊ’ will be expressed that have been variously

    explained in the CariyÈ-Pitaka Commentary11.

    PÈramÊ is the combination of parama and Ê. Parama means

    'most excellent', which is used here in the sense of Future Buddhas

    who are the most excellent ones. ¢ is a suffix meaning actions.

    Therefore, pÈramÊ mean the work or the action of the most

    excellent ones.

    Or pÈrami derives from the root para with the suffix ma. The

    root para means 'to fulfill'.' Since they fulfill such virtues as dÈna

    (alms-giving), etc., Future Buddhas are called parama.


    Buddhism in Global Perspective, page-20, Edited by (Mrs) Kalpakam Sankarnarayan, Ravindra Panth, Ichijo Ogawa), Publsihed by G.D. Awashi for Somaiya Publications, Mumbai-400014, 2003, India. 11

    CpA. 269

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    Or para, a prefix, is attached to the root maya meaning 'to

    bind.' Because future Buddhas behave as though they bind on and

    attract other beings to them by means of special virtues, they are

    called parama.

    Or para°, a prefix, is attached to the root maja meaning 'to be

    pure'; paraÑ means 'more'. Because Future Buddhas are free of

    mental impurities and far purer than others, they are called parama.

    Or paraÑ, a prefix, is attached to the root maya meaning 'to

    go' paraÑ means 'superior.' Because Future Buddhas go to the

    superior state of NibbÈna in a special manner, they are called


    Or paraÑ, a prefix, is attached to the root mu meaning to

    determine.' Because Future Buddhas determine their next existence

    as they do in the case of the present, they are called parama. (This

    means that as Future Buddhas are able to ascertain precisely what

    should be done to make the present existence pleasant and

    faultless; they are able to do so with regard to the next existence.

    That is, they have the ability to improve their existences.)

    Or paraÑ, a prefix, is attached to the root mÊ meaning 'to put

    in'. Therefore altogether pÈramÊ means 'more.' Because Future

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    Buddhas 'put in' more and more such virtues as SÊla (morality). etc.,

    into their mind, they are called pÈramÊ12.

    Or paraÑ, means 'different from' or 'opposed to'; mÊ is the root

    meaning 'to crush', because Future Buddhas crush all their enemies,

    which are in the form of impurities and different from and opposed to

    all virtues, they are called pÈramÊ.

    Or pÈra, a noun, is attached to the root maja meaning 'to

    purify'; pÈra means 'the other shore.' Here saÑsÈra is to be taken

    as 'this shore' and NibbÈna is 'the other shore', because Future

    Buddhas make themselves purified as well as others on the other

    shore of NibbÈna. Therefore they are called pÈramÊ.

    Or pÈra, a noun, is attached to the root mava meaning 'to

    bind' or 'to put together.' Because Future Buddhas bind or put beings

    together in NibbÈna, they are called pÈramÊ.

    Or the root is maya, meaning 'to go.' Because Future Buddhas

    go to the other shore of NibbÈna, they are called pÈramÊ.

    Or the root is mu, meaning 'to understand.' Because Future

    Buddhas fully understand the other shore of NibbÈna as it really is,

    they are called pÈramÊ.


    The Great Chronicle of Buddhas, Page-41, Bhaddanta VicittasÈrÈbhivaÑsa, Trans, U KO LAY AND U TIN LWIN, Ti NI Publication, Yangon, Myanmar, 1991.

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    Or the root is mÊ meaning 'to put in.' Because Future

    Buddhas put in and convey beings to the other shore of NibbÈna,

    they are called pÈramÊ. Or the root is mÊ, meaning 'to crush.'

    Because Future Buddhas enter into NibbÈna by crushing and

    eradication all impurities which are enemies of beings, they are

    called pÈramÊ.

    These are the various meanings presented in accordance with

    sabhÈvanirutti (natural etymology).

    ParamÈnaÑ aya° pÈramÊ: pÈramÊ means property in the

    form of practices of Future Buddhas; (or) paramÈnaÑ kammaÑ

    pÈramÊ: pÈramÊ means duties of Future Buddhas; PÈramissa

    bhÈvo pÈramitÈ, pÈramissa kammaÑ pÈramitÈ: duties that bring

    about knowledge that such a person is a Future Buddha.

    The entire meaning is a series of duties such as dÈna and

    others to be fulfilled by Future Buddhas is called pÈramÊ (or


    In the JinÈla~kÈra Sub-commentary, it is said: "PÈraÑ

    nibbÈnaÑ ayanti gacchanti etÈhÊ ti pÈramiyo, nibbÈnasÈdhakÈ hi

    dÈnacetanÈdayo dhammÈ pÈramÊ ti vuccanti," meaning to say that

    "DÈnacetanÈ or the volition of alms-giving, etc., which forms the

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    way to NibbÈna, the other side of saÑsÈra, should be called


    In the CariyÈpiÔaka Commentary14 , it is said: tanhÈmÈna-

    diÔÔhÊhi anupahatÈ karun' upÈyakosalla-pariggahita dÈnÈdayo

    guÓÈ pÈramiyo. PÈramÊ is constituted by virtues such as dÈna,

    etc., that are to be grasped by means of compassion and

    cleverness. Compassion is shown towards beings who are not

    spoiled (overwhelmed) by craving, pride and wrong view. Cleverness

    means wisdom in seeking ways and means in dÈna, etc., (these are

    to be guided by compassion and wisdom) are to be named pÈramÊ

    (This explanation is made with special reference to pÈramÊ of


    1.A.4. Actions of PÈramÊs

    The noble ones who strive for escape from the wrong place of

    the ocean (saÑsÈra) and to get to the right place of the land of

    (NibbÈna) are called the SammÈsambuddhas, meaning the noblest

    of noble ones. All their actions or deeds are called ‗PÈramÊs‘. These

    actions or deeds cover up everything that they have done from the

    time they had received the prophesy that they will become the

    Buddhas up to the time of their passing away into NibbÈna. In truth,

    all the actions or deeds of the noble ones from kalyÈÓa


    The Great Chronicle of Buddhas, p-43, Mingun Sayadaw, Trns, U Ko Lay and U Tin Lwin, Published by Ti Ni Ministrative Body, Yangon Myanmar, 1991. 14

    CariyÈpiÔaka aÔÔhakathÈ, p-269

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    puthujjanas 15 (the persons who practice meritorious actions or

    deeds) up to the Paccekabuddhas are embraced by the actions or

    deeds of the Buddhas, just as the footprints of the elephant can

    contain the footprints of all other animals. To determine whether a

    deed amounts to an act of pÈramÊ, the actions or deeds of the

    Bodhisatta from the time he had received the prophesy up to the

    time of his final passing away should be studied and used as it is the

    yardstick for comparison.

    All actions or deeds done can be divided into three types-

    physical actions or deeds (kÈyakamma), verbal actions or deeds

    (vacÊkamma), mental actions or deeds (manokamma). All types of

    good actions or deeds are meritorious actions or deeds (kusala)

    while all types of evil actions or deeds are de-meritorious actions or

    deeds (akusala). There is no difference between ignoble and noble

    person's concern with the actions or deeds.

    For this reason, it is not possible to differentiate between noble

    and ignoble actions or deeds on the nature of the actions or deeds

    done. Referring to this, the Buddha teaches ‗CetanÈhaÑ bhikkhave

    kammaÑ vadÈmi,‘16 i.e., I say that determinate thought is action.

    According to this teaching, no differentiation can be made between

    noble and ignoble actions or deeds on the basis of the nature of the

    actions or deeds done. It should be understood that differentiation is


    M.T.1.159 16

    A.2.363 (Translated by E.M. Hare 3.294 first print edition Delhi 2006)

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    to be made only on the basis of the cetanÈ (intention, volition) in the

    doing of actions or deeds.

    Whether it is a physical, or verbal, or mental, or kusala or

    akusala deed, if it is done at the sacrifice of one‘s life for the well-

    being of the people in the world (loka), it is a noble deed called


    1.A.5. Main Characteristic of PÈramÊs

    To know if a deed is a pÈramÊ or not, there are two

    distinguishing characteristics to consider. They are: (1) its aim is to

    have compassion on others and (2) to liberate from the round of

    rebirths and actions or deeds done, such as almsgiving, etc. Such

    actions which are based on the above aims are PÈramÊs.

    Otherwise, they are not PÈramÊs.

    According to the first aim, it is necessary to work for the

    welfare of others without paying attention to one‘s own welfare; it is

    easy for a person with shallow loving-kindness (metta), shallow

    compassion (karuÓa) and shallow volition (cetanÈ) to perform it. As

    it is the nature of a worldling (puthujjana) to love himself best (atta

    samaÑ pemaÑ natthi17), a person who loves others is a noble man,

    he will think of his own welfare first.


    S. 1.6

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    Therefore, not to put one‘s welfare first, a person must have

    love for others more than he loves himself, otherwise it will be

    impossible for him not to think of his welfare and to work for the

    welfare of others. In truth, PÈramÊs are not for normal persons but

    are for the noble ones. Therefore, only the noble ones really know

    the meaning of PÈramÊs and practise it properly. Normal persons

    don‘t have the knowledge how to follow and practise it.

    1.A.6. Division of Level of Perfections

    There are thirty kinds of perfections to be fulfilled by

    Bodhisatta: ten in ordinary perfections, ten in higher perfections,

    and ten in supreme perfections.

    All external objects, such as a wife and children, animate and

    inanimate things belonging to a person, are the objects through

    which the ten ordinary perfections are fulfilled. One‘s own limbs or

    head or any organs of the body are the objects through which the

    ten higher perfections are fulfilled. One‘s own life (being sacrificed)

    is the object through which the ten supreme perfections are fulfilled.

    Of those three categories of objects, undertakings that

    forsake the first category are called ordinary perfections.

    Undertakings that forsake the second are called higher perfections.

    Those that forsake the third, i.e. one‘s own life, are called supreme

    perfections. Those perfections are explained in detail in the


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    (1) Giving away one's external objects such as wife, children,

    wealth and property is DÈnapÈramÊ; giving up one's limbs, such as

    hands, feet, etc. is DÈna UpapÈramÊ; giving up one's life is DÈna

    Paramattha pÈramÊ.

    (2) Likewise, observing a present and not making a breach on

    account of one's external objects such as wife, children, wealth and

    property is SÊlapÈramÊ; observing a present and not making a

    breach on account of one's limbs, such as hands, feet, etc. is SÊla

    UpapÈramÊ; observing a present and not making a breach on

    account of one's life is SÊla ParamatthapÈramÊ.

    (3) Cutting off attachment to one's external objects and going

    forth from household life is Nekkhamma PÈramÊ; Cutting off

    attachment to one's limbs such as hands, feet, etc and going forth

    from household life is Nekkhamma UpapÈramÊ; Cutting off

    attachment to one's life and going forth from household life is

    Nekkhammma ParamatthapÈramÊ.

    (4) Rooting out attachment to one's external objects and

    deciding deliberately what is beneficial to beings and what is not is

    PaÒÒÈpÈramÊ; Rooting out attachment to one's limbs such as

    hands, feet, etc. and deciding deliberately what is beneficial to

    beings and what is not is PaÒÒÈ UpapÈramÊ; Rooting out

    attachment to one's life and deciding deliberately what is beneficial

    to beings and what is not is PaÒÒÈ ParamatthapÈramÊ.

    (5) Striving to fulfill and become accomplished in the

    aforementioned PÈramÊs and those to be mentioned later is

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    VÊriyapÈramÊ; striving to fulfill and become accomplished in the

    aforementioned UpapÈramÊs and those to be mentioned later is

    VÊriya UpapÈramÊ; striving to fulfill and become accomplished in

    the aforementioned ParamatthapÈramÊs and those to be mentioned

    later is VÊriya ParamatthapÈramÊ.

    (6) Being with patience the vicissitudes which endanger one's

    external objects is KhantÊpÈramÊ; being with patience the

    vicissitudes which endanger one's limbs such as hands, feet, etc. is

    KhantÊ UpapÈramÊ; Being with patience the vicissitudes which

    endanger one's life is KhantÊ ParamatthapÈramÊ.

    (7) Not abandoning truth on account of one's external objects

    is SaccapÈramÊ; not abandoning truth on account of one's limbs

    such as hands, feet, etc. is Sacca UpapÈramÊ; not abandoning truth

    on account of one's life is Sacca ParamatthapÈramÊ.

    (8) Unshakeable determination in spite of destruction of one's

    external objects while holding firmly that 'PÈramÊ such as DÈna, etc.

    can be fulfilled only with indestructible determination is

    AdiÔÔhÈnapÈramÊ; unshakeable determination in spite of

    destruction of one's limbs such as hands, feet, etc. is AdiÔÔhÈna

    UpapÈramÊ; unshakeable determination in spite of destruction of

    one's life is AdiÔÔhÈna ParamatthapÈramÊ.

    (9) Not abandoning loving-kindness towards beings

    (continuous suffusion of beings with loving-kindness) even if they

    have caused destruction to one's external objects is MettÈpÈramÊ;

    not abandoning loving-kindness towards beings even if they have

  • 18

    caused destruction to one's limbs such as hands, feet, etc. is MettÈ

    UpapÈramÊ, not abandoning loving-kindness towards beings even if

    they have caused destruction to one's life is MettÈ


    (10) Maintaining a neutral attitude towards beings and their

    volitional activities irrespective of whether they have been helpful or

    harmful to one's external objects is UpekkhÈpÈramÊ; maintaining a

    neutral attitude towards beings and their volitional activities

    irrespective of whether they have been helpful or harmful to one's

    limbs such as hands, feet, etc. is UpekkhÈ UpapÈramÊ; maintaining

    a neutral attitude towards beings and their volitional activities

    irrespective of whether they have been helpful or harmful to one's life

    is UpekkhÈ ParamatthapÈramÊ.

    One who can fulfill only the first ten perfections can attain the

    enlightenment of a Noble Disciple (sÈvaka). One who fulfills only the

    first ten and the second ten in higher perfections can attain the

    enlightenment of a Solitary Buddha (paccekabuddha). One who can

    fulfill all thirty (ordinary perfections, higher perfections and supreme

    perfections) attains Supreme Self-Enlightenment. 18

    1.A.7. Disciples' PÈramÊs

    There are three classes of enlightenment of a Noble Disciple:


    A Manual of the Buddhism, page-484, Ledi Sayadaw, Trans, U Tin Oo (Myaung), Published by Mother Ayeyarwaddy Publishing House, Yangon, Myanmar, 2004.

  • 19

    (i) an Ordinary Noble Disciple (pakati sÈvaka),

    (ii) a Great Disciple (mahÈ sÈvaka), and

    (iii) a Chief Disciple. (agga sÈvaka)

    By fulfilling the first ten perfections for one aeon and a

    hundred thousand world cycles19, one can attain the enlightenment

    of a Chief Disciple. By the Chief Disciples are meant the Buddha‘s

    two principal Noble Disciples like the Venerable SÈriputta and

    MahÈ MoggallÈna for Gotama Buddha.

    By fulfilling the same perfections for a hundred thousand

    world cycles, one can attain the enlightenment of a Great Disciple.

    By the Great Disciples are meant the distinguished Noble Ones,

    numbering eighty for Gotama Buddha.

    There is no mention of duration for the maturity of an ordinary

    Noble Disciple. One has to infer it from such statements as are

    found in certain commentaries. In a commentary on Arahants‘

    supernormal power of recollecting former existences, an ordinary

    Noble One is said to be able to recall existences from a hundred to

    a thousand world cycles20. This has generally been taken as the

    maturity period for an ordinary Noble Disciple.

    Regarding the Chief and Great Disciples, the periods for

    maturity stated earlier refer only to the periods after these Noble

    Ones had received formal recognition by a living Buddha. The 19

    A.A.1. 121 20


  • 20

    Buddha predicts when, where, and under what circumstances he

    will attain which type of enlightenment. This is called ―receiving the

    word‖ (vyÈkaranaÑ).

    The scriptures are silent on the duration for fulfilling the

    perfections before such recognition or assurance. The interval

    between the arising of any two Buddhas is beyond reckoning. It

    may be any number of world cycles. A Noble Disciple (as the term

    signifies) can arise only when a Buddha becomes or his teaching is

    extant. So it is important to remember that those durations

    mentioned above refer only to those Noble Ones who encountered

    Gotama Buddha.

    As to the Noble Disciples: in the commentary on the

    SuttanipÈta there are three types: (i) one who depends on

    confidence for his enlightenment, (ii) one who depends on diligence,

    and (iii) one who depends on wisdom.

    1.A.8. Solitary Buddha's PÈramÊs

    Similarly, Solitary Enlightenment (Paccekabuddha) is also of

    three types. The commentaries say that the enlightenment of a

    Solitary Buddha is attained after fulfilling the ten perfections and the

    ten higher perfections for two aeons and a hundred thousand world




  • 21

    1.A.9. The Perfect Enlightened Buddha's


    There are three types of the Perfect Enlightenment of Buddha,

    which are also called:

    (i) PaÒÒÈdhika Buddha,

    (ii) SaddhÈdhika Buddha, and

    (iii) VÊriyÈdhika Buddha 22.

    (a) A Buddha who depends on wisdom (paÒÒÈ) for his

    enlightenment, after receiving the assurance, has to fulfill

    the ten perfections, the ten higher perfections, and the ten

    supreme perfections for four aeons and a hundred thousand

    world cycles.

    (b) A Buddha who depends on diligence (vÊriya) has to fulfill the

    perfections for eight aeons and a hundred thousand world


    (c) A Buddha who depends on confidence (saddhÈ) has to fulfill

    the perfections for sixteen aeons and a hundred thousand

    world cycles.

    This is what has been recorded in the ancient commentaries

    (KurundÊ, MahÈpaccarÊ AÔÔhakathÈ and MahÈ AÔÔhakathÈ).

    However, there are different views regarding the maturity periods for 22

    Dt. 1.298

  • 22

    the three types of Buddha. They are found in later works such as the

    ApadÈna Commentary and in sub-commentaries such as Sotattaki,

    TathÈgatuppatti, MahÈvaÑsaÔikÈ, etc.

    1.A.10. The Role of PÈramÊs

    In the birth stories of the Buddhas (jÈtakas), the reason for

    fulfilling PÈramÊs is found that for the welfare of beings (‗loka‘)

    bodhisattvas accumulate kammas (actions) and ÒÈÓa (wisdom).

    Sometimes they had to undergo many animal existences. In fact,

    being in animal existences is because of committing akusala

    (demeritorious) actions.

    From this point, it is evident that the Bodhisattas had

    committed akusala actions or deeds not only for their own good but

    also to prevent adhamma (wrong action) and to get the better of


    They had committed akusala actions or deeds, they were

    reborn as animals and they became leaders, such as kings,

    ministers, etc. When they were born as monkeys, they became kings

    of monkey, when they were born as haÑsÈ (ducks), they became

    kings of haÑsÈ (ducks). But they were mostly reborn as human

    beings and became leaders in those lives.

    Buddhas, Pacceka Buddhas, BuddhasÈvakas (disciples of

    Buddha), who practiced pÈramÊs in their previous lives, have got

  • 23

    (attained) enlightenment because they ardently had practiced


    The ten kinds of PÈramÊ will be discussed in three chapters

    respectively according to five NikÈyas; DÈnapÈramÊ, SÊlapÈramÊ

    and NekkhammapÈramÊ will be disscussed in the Second Chapter.

    PaÒÒÈpÈramÊ, VÊriyapÈramÊ, and KhantÊpÈramÊ will be

    discussed in the Third Chapter. In the Fourth Chapter SaccapÈramÊ,

    AdhiÔÔhÈnapÈramÊ, MettapÈramÊ and UpekkhÈpÈramÊ in will be


    1.A.11. DhyÈna PÈramitÈ (Perfection of


    This perfection is the fifth perfection of MahÈyana and they

    accepted six pÈramitas according to MahÈvastu, Lalitavistara,

    KaruÓÈpuÓÉarika and AvadÈna sataka. DhyÈna denotes

    meditation and also contemplation. The cultivation of stable and

    perfect mind, purged of all impure thoughts is a pre-requisite for the

    practice of DhyÈna. Quietude and serenity are achieved through

    meditation. Consequently the psychic powers are increased.

    Normally, renunciation and seclusion are prescribed for the

    cultivation of meditation and contemplation. Even those in the

    household life practise meditation for inner peace and calmness.

    However, this pÈramitÈ is special for recluses, though not prohibited

    for householders.

  • 24

    The MahÈyÈna texts KaruÓÈpuÓÉarika, Bodhisattva Bh|mi

    and MahÈyÈna S|trÈla~kÈra refer to the group of fourfold

    meditations, technically called "Brahma VihÈras", to be practiced by

    a Bodhisattva. They are known as (I) MaitrÊ (MettÈ pÈÄi)-bhÈvanÈ,

    (2) KaruÓÈ bhÈvanÈ, (3) MuditÈ bhÈvanÈ and (4) UpeksÈ

    (upekkhÈ pÈÄi) bhÈvanÈ. These BhÈvanÈs indicate the cultivation

    of four-fold good feelings viz. 23 , friendliness, compassion,

    sympathetic joy and equanimity. Since these four types of meditation

    are also found in PataÒjali's Yoga S|tra, it is presumed that they

    belong to the national stock of Indian Philosophy. However, it is

    pertinent to note that only the first three bhÈvanas viz, MaÊtri,

    KaruÓÈ and MuditÈ are found in many texts such as MahÈvastu and

    SamÈdhirÈja S|tra. In the MaÓimekalai, these three are prescribed

    for the eradication of hatred, one of the three evils being the

    impediments on the path to NirvÈÓa. CÈttanÈr has also prescribed

    Asubha bhÈvanÈ for the extirpation of lust. It denotes the meditation

    on the impermanence, sorrowfulness, soullessness and

    loathsomeness of all things. The cultivation of Asubha bhÈvanÈ cuts

    at the root of lust, the first obstacle on the spiritual journey.

    UpeksÈ (UpekkhÈ pÈÄi) means equanimity, balanced and

    serene outlook. It is the same state of mind both in adversity and

    prosperity. He who practices this BhÈvanÈ is free from love and hate.

    To him gold and stone remain the same. This mental condition is


    The Bodhisattva Doctrine in Buddhist Sanskrit Literature, p. 226, Har Dayal, M.A, Ph.D. Published by Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, 1999, 2004.

  • 25

    known as "Sama Citta"24.

    Saddharma-puÓÉarika S|tra expresses that the Bodhisattvas

    also fulfill the fifth PÈramitÈ, i.e. DhyÈna or Meditation Perfection in

    order to attain enlightenment as below:

    "One could also see bodhisattvas entering deep into

    meditation practices, their bodies and minds still and unmoving, in

    that manner seeking the unsurpassed way."25

    According to PÈÄi TipiÔaka, if one wants to get JhÈna or

    enlightment (Magga and Phala), he will get that knowledge but he

    has to practice the path which was guided by the Buddha. The

    Buddha showed the path to practice in the following way. One has to

    resort to some secluded spot; which should be in forest or, under

    tree (tree-root) or, mountain or, glen or, rock-cave or, cemetery or,

    wooded upland or, open space or heap of straw; and under tree

    (tree-root) or empty hut, he should sits cross-legged, with body erect,

    seting mindfulness in front of him. Putting away all hankering, he

    abides with heart free therefrom; he cleanses his mind of hankering:

    putting away ill-will and hatred, he abides with heart free therefrom;

    kindly and compassionate to all creatures, he cleaness his mind of

    ill-will and hatred: putting away sloth and torpor, he abides free

    therefrom; conscious of light, mindful and self-possessed, he

    cleanses his mind of sloth and torpor: putting away flurry and worry,

    he abides poised; with heart serene within, he cleanses his mind of


    Buddhism in Global Perspective, page-29, Edited by (Mrs) Kalpakam Sankarnarayan, Ravindra Panth, Ichijo Ogawa), Publsihed by G.D. Awashi for Somaiya Publications, Mumbai-400014, 2003, India 25

    Bodhisattva and S|nyatÈ, page-316, Bhikkuni Gioi Huong, Published by Eastern Book Linker, Delhi, 110007, India, 2005.

  • 26

    flurry and worry: putting away doubt, he abides with doubt passed by;

    no more he questions Why? of right things; he cleanses his mind of


    He, by getting rid of these five hindrances-defilements of the

    mind and weakening to intuitive wisdom-aloof from pleasures of the

    senses, aloof from unsilled states of mind, enters and abides in the

    first meditation, which is accompanied by initial thought and

    discursive thought, is born of aloofness and is rapturous and joyfull.

    By allaying initial and discursive thought, the mind subjectively

    tranquillised and fixed on one point, he enters and abides in the

    26 YodhÈjÊvasutta, page-2-81, A~guttaranikÈya, Pa~caka. (So vivittaÑ senÈsanaÑ bhajati

    araÒÒaÑ rukkham|laÑ pabbataÑ kandaraÑ giriguhaÑ susÈnaÑ vanapatthaÑ abbhokÈsaÑ

    palÈlapu~jaÑ. So pacchÈbhattaÑ piÓÉapÈtappaÔikkanto nisÊdati pall~kaÑ ÈbhujitvÈ ujuÑ

    kÈyaÑ paÓidhÈya parimukhaÑ satin upaÔÔhapetvÈ. So abhijjhaÑ loke pahÈya vigatÈbhijjhena

    cetasÈ viharati, abhijjhÈya cittaÑ parisodheti. VyÈpÈdappadosaÑ pahÈya avyÈpannacitto

    viharati sabbapÈÓabh|tahitÈnukampÊ, vyÈpÈdappadosÈ cittaÑ parisodheti. ThinamiddhaÑ

    pahÈya vigatathinamiddho viharati ÈlokasaÒÒÊ sato sampajÈno, thinamiddhÈ cittaÑ

    parisodheti. UddhaccakukkuccaÑ pahÈya anuddhato viharati ajjhattaÑ v|pasantacitto,

    uddhaccakukkuccÈ cittaÑ parisodheti. VicikicchaÑ pahÈya tiÓÓavicikiccho viharati

    akathaÑkathÊ kusalesu dhammesu, vicikicchÈya cittaÑ parisodheti.

    So ime pa~ca nÊvaraÓe pahÈya cetaso uppakkhilese paÒÒÈya dubbalÊkaraÓe vivicceva

    kÈmehi(p) pÊtiyÈ ca virÈgÈ upekkhako ca viharati sato sampajÈno, sukha~ca kÈyena

    paÔisaÑvedeti yaÑ taÑ ariyÈ Ècikkhanti-'upekkhako satimÈ sukhavihÈrÊ'ti tatiyaÑ jhÈnaÑ

    upasampajja viharati. Sukhassa ca pahÈnÈ dukkhassa ca pahÈnÈ, pubbeva

    somanassadomanassÈnaÑ attha~gamÈ adukkhamasukhaÑ upekkhÈsatipÈrisuddhiÑ catutthaÑ

    jhÈnaÑ upasampajja viharati.

    So evaÑ samÈhite cite parisuddhe pariyodÈte ana~gaÓe vigat|pakkilese mudub|te kammaniye

    thite Ène~jappatte ÈsavÈnaÑ khayaÒÈÓÈya cittaÑ abhininnÈmeti. So 'idaÑ dukkhan'ti

    yathÈb|taÑ pajÈnÈti, 'ayaÑ dukkhasamudayo'ti yathÈb|taÑ pajÈnÈti, 'ayaÑ dukkhanirodho'ti

    yathÈb|taÑ pajÈnÈti, 'ayaÑ dukkhanirodhagÈmitÊ paÔipadÈ'ti yathÈb|taÑ pajÈnÈti, 'ime

    ÈsavÈ'ti yathÈb|taÑ pajÈnÈti, 'ayaÑ Èsavasamudayo'ti yathÈb|taÑ pajÈnÈti, 'ayaÑ

    Èsavanirodho'ti yathÈb|taÑ pajÈnÈti, 'ayaÑ ÈsavanirodhagÈminÊ paÔipadÈ'ti yathÈb|taÑ

    pajÈnÈti. Tassa evaÑ jÈnato evaÑ passato kÈmÈsavÈpi cittaÑ vimuccati, bhavÈsavÈpi cittaÑ

    vimuccati, avijjÈsavÈpi cittaÑ vimuccati, vimuttasmiÑ vimuttamiti ÒÈÓÑ hoti. 'KhÊÓÈ jÈti,

    vusitaÑ brahmacariyaÑ, kataÑ karaÓÊyaÑ, nÈparaÑ etthattÈyÈti pajÈnÈti.)

  • 27

    second meditation, which is devoid of initial and discursive thought,

    is born of concentration and is rapturous and joyful. By the fading out

    of rapture, he dwells with equanimity, attentive and clearly conscious,

    and experiences in his person that joy of which the ariyans say:

    'joyful lives he who has equanimity and is mindful', and he enters

    and abides in the third meditation. By getting rid of joy, by getting rid

    of anguish, by the going down of his former pleasures and sorrows,

    he enters and abides in the fourth meditation, which has neither

    anguish nor joy, and which is entirely purified by equanimity and


    With the heart thus serene, purified, cleansed, spotless, devoid

    of defilement, supple, ready to act, firm and imperturbable, he bends

    the mind to know the destruction of the cankers. As it really is, he

    understands: this is ill-as it really is, he understands: this is the origin

    of ill-as it really is, he understands: this is the ending of ill-as it really

    is, he understands: this is the way leading to the ending of ill. As it

    really is, he understands the thought: these are the cankers, this is

    the origin of the cankers, this is the ending of the cankers, and this is

    the way leading to the ending of the cankers.

    Knowing this, seeing this, his heart will be free from the canker

    of lust, free from the canker of becomings, free from the canker of

    ignorance, and in the freedom will come the knowledge of that

    freedom, and he will know: Birth is destroyed; lived is the godly life;


    NÈgasuttaÑ, page-3-233, NavakanipÈta A~guttaranikÈya. GanÓakamoggallÈna suttaÑ, page-3-53, UparipannÈsa.

  • 28

    done is what had to be done; there is no more of this state28.

    Next, let us move on to briefly present the remaining

    pÈramitÈs which are in a later period appended to the earlier list of

    six pÈramitÈs. They are supplementary pÈramitÈs.

    1.A.12. UpÈya Kausalya PÈramitÈ Perfection

    of Skillfulness or Perfection in the

    expedients of conversion

    The supreme knowledge in the Buddhist principles and

    scriptures, the Bodhisattva (Bodhisatta pÈÄi) should be equipped

    with the efficient techniques to impart the wisdom to the followers of

    Buddhism. He is expected to be a good preacher. He should also

    find out the expedients to make the non-believers and adherents of

    other systems believe and follow the Buddhist way life.

    In the MahÈyÈna texts liberality (dÈna), pleasant speech (priya

    vacanam), sagacious conduct (artha-caryÈ) (atthacariya pÈÄi) and

    practicing the virtues which are preached to others (SamÈn-Èrhat)

    (samÈnattatÈ pÈÄi 29 ) are said to be the four requisites for an

    efficient preacher to convince others to turn to his faith. The Tamil

    Buddhist manual Tiruppatikam mentions that the Bodhisattva's


    The book of the Gradual Sayings, Volume III, (Five) page-76, translated by E.M.HARE, First Indian Edition: Delhi, 2006. 29

    PÈthikavagga pÈÄi, p-3.156, A~guttara (catuttukka) p-1.341

  • 29

    preaching pertains to the destruction of transmigration. His way it

    called Peruvali, a Tamil equivalent to the word MahÈyÈna and he

    gets the epithet 'Peruvaliyan' that is, one who practices and

    preaches the peruvali, the great path. In the Buddhist Tamil epic

    MaÓimekalai, Bodhisattva AravaÓa AÔikaÄ is depicted to be an

    excellent preacher, having erudition in the perfection of UpÈya and

    converting also the royal persons, merchants, courtesans and others

    to Buddhism. SaÑgha Dharma, another character of the same epic

    preached the greatness of the Buddha and bodhisattva, their selfless

    service to all living beings and their turning the Wheel of Dharma for

    the welfare of the world.

    According to MahÈyÈna, the Buddha used this expedient or

    partial method in his teaching until near the end of his days, when he

    enlarged it to the revelation of reality, or the preaching of his final

    and complete truth. Saddharma PunÓÉarika S|tra relates some

    interesting parables. Among them one 'Parable is the Lost Son, in

    Chapter IV which is briefly as follows:

    A certain poor man lost a loved son who left his home and

    went out to a far country. Later father became rich, his son

    wandering about in search of food and raiment. The father suddenly

    saw a young poor man whom he knew to be his son but his son was

    filled with fear at the thought that he had perhaps come into wrong

    street and might be punished for his rashness. So, he ran away in

    great haste. His father now exhibited his UpÈya-Kausalya by letting

    the poor fellow go away. Then, he called two poor men of humble

  • 30

    origin and said to them to hire him as a labourer for cleaning the

    refuge-barrel in his house. Then, the father put on dirty clothes, took

    a basket in his hand, and going near to his son, said: "Work here, my

    man; do not go anywhere Look upon me as your own father

    henceforward you are to me like my son". In this way, the father

    found the chance of speaking to his son, who thereupon felt happier

    in the house. But he continued to live in his hovel straw and did the

    same menial work for twenty years. At last, the rich man fell sick and

    felt that his days were numbered. So, he first gave much wealth to

    the young man, and then he gathered together all his kinsfolk and

    citizens, said to them: "He is my son; I am his father. To him, I leave

    all my possessions". The son was greatly astonished at this, and

    enjoyed exceedingly in his heart.

    In this parable, father is the Buddha; the son is every pious

    Buddhist; the labour of cleaning the refuge-barrel is the lower

    teaching about NirvÈÓa (Liberation); the declaration of the filial

    relation is the higher doctrine of MahÈyÈna.30

    MahÈkaruÓÈ and UpÈyakosalla ©ÈÓa form basic conditions

    for all the perfections. Through them Bodhisattas are able to promote

    constantly the welfare and happiness of other beings, without

    concern for their own interest. Although performing the duties of

    Bodhisattas which are beyond the capability of ordinary men, they do

    not consider them too wearisome. Because MahÈkaruÓÈ and

    UpÈyakosalla ©ÈÓa exist in them, welfare and happiness accrue to


    Bodhisattva and S|nyatÈ, page-324, Bhikkuni Gioi Huong, Published by Eastern Book Linker, Delhi, 110007, India, 2005.

  • 31

    those who develop confidence in them, who show respect to them,

    who have occasion to see Bodhisatta or recollect their virtues.

    To explain further: out of compassion and wisdom, it is through

    wisdom that a Boddhisatta attains omniscience; it is through

    compassion, that he performs the duties of a Buddha. Through

    wisdom, he is able to cross the ocean of SaÑsÈra; through

    compassion, he goes to the rescue of beings. Through wisdom, he

    understands thoroughly suffering of others; through compassion, he

    endeavours to alleviate their suffering; through wisdom he becomes

    wearied of suffering; through compassion, he accepts the same

    disgusting suffering as happiness in order to work for the liberation of

    beings. Through wisdom he aspires after NibbÈna; through

    compassion, he continues to go round and round in SaÑsÈra.

    Thus, compassion and wisdom are beneficial in many ways.

    These two kinds not only form the foundation of the PÈramÊ; they

    are the basic condition of the aspiration after Buddhahood as well.

    But these two kinds were not accepted as perfections according to


    1.A.13. PraÓidhÈna PÈramitÈ (Perfection of

    Compassion and Prayer)

    This perfection is known as DayÈ in the Tamil Buddhist poems. 31

    The Great Chronicle of Buddhas, page-27, Baddanta VicittasÈrÈbhivaÑsa (MingonSayadaw) trans, U Kolay and U Tin Lwin, Ti Ni Publication Series, Yangon Myanmar, 1992.

  • 32

    However, the specialists translated praÓidhÈna to mean prayer,

    compassion, entreaty and supplication. It also denotes the prayers

    and vows. It also means solemn aspiration. In the Dharma-

    Samhraha (section 112), three features of praÓidhÈna are described:

    (1) The aspiration to happy births, (2) the aspiration to the welfare of

    all and (3) the aspiration for the purification of Buddha-fields.

    According to the MahÈyÈna texts, PraÓidhÈna denotes the wishful

    thinking of a liberated Bodhisattva for the deliverance of other beings.

    The cultivation of this pÈramitÈ is associated with the devotion to the

    Buddhist pantheon. In the Tamil Buddhist tradition, DayÈ pÈramitÈ

    takes the place of PraÓidhÈna. DayÈ denotes the consummation of

    compassion. This perfection has been elucidated through the

    narration of many JÈtaka stories such as the avadÈna of drstivisa,

    sacrifice of the hare, the avadÈnas of monkey and matsya etc.

    According to Mahatma Gandhi's won words, PraÓidhÈna is: "the key

    of the morning and the belt of the evening". That is, if we start the

    day with it, prayer can become the spring of hope and courage to

    deal with routine activities. Also, closing the day with a prayer would

    enable us to cease worrying about what has been done or left

    undone. Thus, on the one hand PraÓidhÈna helps us in sanctifying

    our daily work as an offering to the Buddha and on the other in

    perfecting our observance of the vows. PraÓidhÈna, thus is a

    'necessary spiritual disciplines.'

    It is so not merely because it is indispensable for the practice

    of truth and ahiÑsÈ but because it helps in the observance of the

  • 33

    other vows too.

    The essence of PraÓidhÈna is its conduciveness to peace and

    order in the individual and social life. This is born out by the following

    words of his: "without prayer there is no inward peace", "the man of

    prayer will be at peace with himself and with the whole world...

    Prayer is the only means of bringing about orderliness and peace

    and repose in our daily acts".32

    1.A.14. Bala PÈramitÈ (Perfection of


    In the MahÈyÈna texts, the Bodhisattva is accorded an equal

    position with the Buddha who was known by the epithet Dasabala.

    Different lists of balas are found in the Buddhist scriptures. Among

    the thirty seven principles and practices that mould the personality of

    a Bodhisattva to attain enlightenment, five balas are treated very

    important. They are: faith (sraddhÈ, saddhÈ pÈÄi), energy (vÊrya),

    mindfulness (smrti, sati pÈÄi), concentration (samÈdhi) and wisdom

    (prajÒÈ). In some texts, merit (puÓya), wisdom (prajÒÈ) knowledge

    (jÒÈna), ksÈnti (mental peace) and vÊrya (energy) are projected. All

    these balas constitute the moral, mental and physical power of the


    Bodhisattva and S|nyatÈ, page-326, Bhikkuni Gioi Huong, Published by Eastern Book Linker, Delhi, 110007, India, 2005

  • 34

    super human being, that is, Bodhisattva. The balas are essential for

    him to discharge the social obligations and missionary activities.

    Tiruppatikam described this pÈramitÈ, by praising the Bodhisattva

    possessing full vigour and strength and bereft of any blame. Next in

    the series comes the last perfection known as JÒÈna pÈramitÈ.

    1.A.15. JÒÈna PÈramitÈ (Perfection of


    This perfection is the last perfection known as JÒÈna pÈramitÈ.

    JÒÈna means spiritual knowledge. According to the Buddhist

    tradition, preserved in the commentary of the Jain Tamil epic

    NÊlakesi (A.D 850), this pÈramitÈ denotes the perfection in the

    study and realization of the contents of AbhidharmapiÔaka. It is to

    be understood that the Abhidhamma (PÈÄi) denotes the piÔaka of

    TheravÈda while the Abhidharma (Sanskrit) indicates the piÔaka of

    MahÈyÈna Buddhism. According to W. M. Mcgovern, the

    Abhidharma piÔaka of the YogÈcÈra Buddhist consisted twelve

    texts including Maitreya's Yoga VihÈga SÈstra, Asang's S|trÈla~kara

    SÈstra, Vasubandhu's Dasabh|mike SÈstra and DignÈga's

    PramÈÓa Samuccaya SÈstra. It seems that YogÈcÈra teachers

    named the piÔaka as sÈstra. Hence, JÒÈna pÈramitÈ is a special

    perfection in the sÈstras of the YogÈcÈra philosophy. It is different

    from PrajÒÈ PÈramitÈ in the sense that the latter emphasized the

    study of all texts including the TipiÔakas. The Tamil poem of

  • 35

    Tiruppatikam, quoted already to illustrate the PrajÒÈ PÈramitÈ is

    again presented to elucidate JÒÈna pÈramitÈ also in the

    commentaries of Nilakesi and SivajÒÈna SiddhiyÈr Parapakkam. 33

    According to the book of Boddhisattva and S|nyatÈ, it is

    difficult to draw any definite distinction between PrajÒÈ PÈramitÈ

    and JÒÈna PÈramitÈ. It is evident that non-dualistic knowledge is

    inseparable from the Boddhisattva's experience in all its aspects. It is

    this experience, in both its conceptual and perceptual aspects.

    JÒÈna is the essential clarity and unerring sensibility of a mind that

    no longer clings to reified concepts of any kind. It is direct and

    sustained awareness of the truth, for a Boddhisattva, that meaning

    and existence are found only in the interface between the

    components of an unstable and constantly shifting web of

    relationships, which is everyday life, while PrajÒÈ is the strength of

    intellectual discrimination elevated to the status of a liberating power,

    a precision tool capable of slicing through obstructions that take the

    form of afflictions and attachments to deeply engrained hereditary

    patterns of thought and action. PrajÒÈ has an analysis quality which

    does not seem to figure as a specific characteristic of non-dualistic

    knowledge developed by the Boddhisattva of JÒÈna PÈramitÈ. In

    other words, JÒÈna PÈramitÈ is similar to PrajÒÈ PÈramitÈ, but

    JÒÈna refers more to intellectual knowledge and PrajÒÈ to


    Buddhism in Global Perspective, page-32, Edited by (Mrs) Kalpakam Sankarnarayan, Ravindra Panth, Ichijo Ogawa), Publsihed by G.D. Awashi for Somaiya Publications, Mumbai-400014, 2003, India