Six paramitas

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Bodhisattva sangha from the Longchen Nyingtik Field of Merit

The six paramitas or 'transcendent perfections' (Wyl. pha rol tu phyin pa drug) comprise the training of a bodhisattva, which is bodhichitta in action.

  1. Generosity (Skt. dāna; Tib. jinpa): to cultivate the attitude of generosity.
  2. Discipline (Skt. śīla; Tib. tsultrim): refraining from harm.
  3. Patience (Skt. kṣānti; Tib. zöpa): the ability not to be perturbed by anything.
  4. Diligence (Skt. vīrya; Tib. tsöndrü): to find joy in what is virtuous, positive or wholesome.
  5. Meditative concentration (Skt. dhyāna; Tib. samten): not to be distracted.
  6. Wisdom (Skt. prajñā; Tib. sherab): the perfect discrimination of phenomena, all knowable things.

The first five paramitas correspond to the accumulation of merit, and the sixth to the accumulation of wisdom.

Written Sources

The six paramitas are mentioned and explained in many of the most important Indian sources, such as Nagarjuna’s Letter to a Friend, Chandrakirti’s Introduction to the Middle Way and Shantideva’s Bodhicharyavatara.

Further Reading

  • Geshe Sonam Rinchen, The Six Perfections, translated by Ruth Sonam, Snow Lion, 1998