Skip to main content

         * Index                            * Biographies          * Theosophical

         * Glossary of Terms      * Religion                    Organisations                                     

                                                  * Philosophy            * Contributors

Theosophical Encyclopedia

Pāramitā

From the Sanskrit prefix pāra (opposite side, further shore, utmost reach) + the infix m + ita (gone, attained). In Mahāyāna Buddhism a pāramitā is something which assists the aspirant to attain nirvāna. This attainment is often spoken of metaphorically as crossing over the stream of worldly existence, hence a pāramitā is, literally, that which enables the aspirant to attain the opposite side of the stream. It is usually identified as PRAJÑĀ-PĀRAMITĀ, translated “perfection of wisdom.”

The pāramitās are variously listed as six, seven, ten or twelve. In The Voice of the Silence, by Helena P. BLAVATSKY the following are listed:

dāna, “charity” — to which Blavatsky adds “love immortal”;
śīla, “moral conduct” or “harmony in word and deed”
ksānti, “forbearance” or, as Blavatsky puts it, “patience sweet which naught can ruffle”;
virāga, “indifference” to both pleasure and pain (compare vairāgya in the Hindu list of qualification for the Path);
vīrya, “energy” or “strength”;
dhyāna, “profound meditation”;v prajñā, “wisdom” or “intuitive knowledge.”

To these are often added:

adhishāna, “firmness,” “courage,” or “inflexibility” (Charles W. Leadbeater sometimes identified one of the qualifications for the Path as “meaning business,” which is the implication of this term);
upekā, “indifference,”
prabodha or sambuddhi, “awakening,” “illumination,” or “perfect knowledge.”

 

P.S.H./R.W.B.

© Copyright by the Theosophical Publishing House, Manila

Tag Cloud

Pilgram (2)
Poems (4)
Quotes (28)