paramī

Paramī: Pāramitā: ‘perfection’. Ten qualities leading to Buddhahood: 1 perfection in giving or generosity; dāna - pāramī 2 morality sīla - p 3 renunciation nekkhamma - p 4 understanding paññā - p 5 energy viriya - p 6 patience or forbearance; khanti 7 truthfulness sacca - p 8 resolution adhitthāna - p 9 loving-kindness mettā - p 10 equanimity upekkhā - p. .

These qualities were developed and brought to maturity by the Bodhisatta in his past existences, and his way of practising them is illustrated in many of the Birth Stories Jātaka, of which, however, only the verses are regarded as canonical. Apart from the latter, the 10 pāramī are mentioned in only two other canonical works which are probably apocryphal, the Buddhavamsa in the Story of Sumedha and the Cariyapitaka. A long and methodical exposition of the pāramī is given in the concluding Miscellaneous Section pakinnakakathā of the Com. to Cariyapitaka

In Vis.M IX it is said that through developing the 4 sublime states loving-kindness, Pity, altruistic joy, equanimity; see: brahma-vihāra one may reach these 10 perfections, namely:

As the Great Beings mahā - satta a synonym often found in the Mahāyana scriptures for Bodhisatta, i.e. ’Enlightenment Being or Being destined for Buddhahood are concerned about the welfare of living beings, not tolerating the suffering of beings, wishing long duration to the higher states of happiness of beings, and being impartial and just to all beings, therefore 1: They give food dāna to all beings so that they may be happy, without Investigating whether they are worthy or not. 2: By avoiding to do them any harm, they observe morality sīla. 3: In order to bring morality to perfection, they train themselves in renunciation nekkhamma 4: In order to understand clearly what is beneficial and injurious to beings, they purify their understanding paññā 5: For the sake of the welfare and happiness of others they constantly exert their energy viriya 6: Though having become heroes through utmost energy, they are nevertheless full of forbearance khanti toward s the many failings of beings. 7: Once they have promised to give or do something, they do not break their promise ‘truthfulness’; sacca 8: With unshakable resolution adhitthāna they work for the weal and welfare of beings. 9: With unshakable kindness mettā they are helpful to all. 10: By reason of their equanimity upekkhā they do not expect anything in return; Vis.M IX. 24.

In the Mahāyana scriptures, where the pāramī occupy a much more prominent place, a partly differing list of six is given: generosity, morality, patience, energy, meditation. and understanding.

Literature: Ten Jātaka Stories illustrating the 10 pāramī by I. B. Horner London 1957, Luzac & Co.; Buddhavamsa & Cariyapitaka. tr. by I. B. Horner Minor Anthologies III, Sacred Books of the Buddhists. PTS. - Narada Thera, The Buddha & His Teachings, Ch. 41; Parami BPS - The treatise on the perfections from the Com. to Cariyapitaka has been translated in The Discourse on the All-Embracing Net of Views Brahmajala Sutta, with Com.. tr. by Bhikkhu Bodhi BPS.