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Paṇḍita (T. mkhas pa) was a title for a learned scholar in India.[1] An exceptionally great scholar is given the title of mahapandita.

In Tibetan Buddhism, scholars were encouraged to become learned in the "five sciences" (pañcavidyā), following the tradition of ancient India.[2]

For example, the Mahāyāna-sūtrālamkāra-kārikā, which was highly influential in Tibet, states:

Without becoming a scholar in the five sciences, not even the supreme sage can become omniscient. For the sake of refuting and supporting others, and for the sake of knowing everything himself, he makes an effort in these [five sciences].[2]

The Tibetan master Sakya Pandita was renowned for his scholarly achievements.


  1. Internet-icon.svg mkhas pa, Christian-Steinert Dictionary
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Dharma's Gatekeepers: Sakya Paṇḍita on Buddhist scholarship in Tibet by Jonathan C. Gold. SUNY Press. pg 14[1]
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