The Six Paramitas

Paramita is a Sanskrit word for perfection, perfection in attitude, action, and practice. We sometimes call them the six transcending or beyond personal actions. However, in more modern language we can call them the six liberating actions. There are six or ten of them depending on how the last one, wisdom, is being explained. The paramitas form the very basis of the Bhodisattva practice as the student develops Bhodichita or the enlightened mind. They form the foundation of how the Mahayana or Vajrayana student interacts with the world in general much like the eightfold path works in Theravada Buddhism. They represent the two accumulations of merit and wisdom. The two accumulations are generated by a bodhisattva practising the six perfections and result in the realisation of the three bodies of a Buddha, the Dharmakaya, Nirmanakaya and Shambhogakaya.

They are as follows:

  1. Generosity
  2. Meaningful Behavior
  3. Patience
  4. Joyful Effort or Diligence
  5. Meditation
  6. Wisdom

Practicing the Six Paramitas is the most direct way to develop and apply Bhodicitta, Bhodicitta is the inner power of a Bhodisattva. Mastering the Six Paramitas results in enlightenment.


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