Praṇidhāna-pāramitā

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praṇidhāna-pāramitā (T. smon lam gyi pha rol tu phyin pa སྨོན་ལམ་གྱི་ཕ་རོལ་ཏུ་ཕྱིན་པ་; C. 願到彼岸) is translated as "perfection of aspiration," "perfection of aspiring prayer," "perfection of unshakable resolve," etc.[1] It is one of the ten paramitas of the Sanskrit tradition, which is mastered on the eighth bodhisattva ground (acalā-bhūmi) of the bodhisattva path.[2]

One Teacher, Many Traditions states:

The perfection of unshakable resolve entails making strong aspirations and resolute determinations to do specific great deeds for the benefit of sentient beings. In the Sanskrit tradition, these include the twelve pledges of the Medicine Buddha, forty-eight pledges of Amitābha Buddha, and ten pledges of Samantabhadra. According to the Gaṇḍavyūha Sūtra, the latter are to pay homage to all buddhas, praise all buddhas, make abundant offerings, confess destructive actions, rejoice in others’ virtues, request the buddhas to teach, request the buddhas to remain in the world, follow the teachings of the buddhas at all times, benefit and live harmoniously with all living beings, and dedicate all merit to sentient beings.
Bodhisattvas make unshakable resolves that may not be actualized, such as promising to lead each and every sentient being out of suffering. Making such pledges is not a pointless pursuit. It strengthens our determination to be of whatever benefit we can to whatever sentient being is in need, regardless of the difficulties it may entail for us personally. As ordinary beings with limited physical and mental abilities, we have to assess what we can actually do before acting. Nevertheless, making such wonderful resolutions, even if they seem unrealistic, expands the scope and strength of our minds so that gradually we will be able to increase our capacity to benefit others.[3]

Notes

  1. Rangjung a-circle30px.jpg Dictionaries/Sgra_bye_brag_tu_rtogs_byed_chen_mo/1029
  2. Buswell & Lopez 2014, s.v. praṇidhāna-pāramitā.
  3. Dalai Lama & Thubten Chodron 2014, s.v. Chapter 13, section "Perfections of Unshakable Resolve and of Determination".


Sources