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The female deity Prajñaparamita, known as the Great Mother Prajnaparamita.

Prajñāpāramitā (P. paññāpāramī; T. shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa ཤེས་རབ་ཀྱི་ཕ་རོལ་ཏུ་ཕྱིན་པ་; C. bore boluomiduo/zhidu; J. hannya-haramitta 般若波羅蜜多), translated as "the Perfection of Wisdom," is a central concept in Mahāyāna Buddhism. The term can refer to:[1]

  • the transcendental wisdom that sees things as they are; this wisdom corresponds to the last of the six paramitas in the Sanskrit tradition
  • the collection of Mahayana sutras that expound the method of attaining this wisdom, through the realization of emptiness (sunyata)
  • the female deity associated with this wisdom, known as the "Great Mother"

The development of prajñāpāramitā (in the sense of transcendental wisdom) is the goal of the Bodhisattva path.


The word Prajñāpāramitā combines the Sanskrit words prajñā "wisdom" with pāramitā "perfection". Thus, the term is often translated as "perfection of wisdom."

Transcendental wisdom

Prajñāpāramitā in the sense of transcendental wisdom is the wisdom that sees things as they are, which is empty of self and other. This is considered the highest form of wisdom (prajna), and it corresponds to the sixth of the six paramitas in the Sanskrit tradition.

Contemporary scholar Karl Brunnholzl states:

In general, in Buddhism, prajñā does not refer to some kind of passive knowledge or to merely knowing some facts. Rather, it stands for the vast range of actively investigating and realizing all the ways in which phenomena appear and the way they truly are. It means intelligence in its original sense of being able to know or cognize, which entails the capacity to clearly discriminate. Thus, the definition of prajñā is “that which fully discriminates the general and specific characteristics of phenomena.” This can be performed on the mundane or the supramundane level, the latter referring to the Buddhist path. Specifically, lesser supramundane prajñā refers to the prajñā on the paths of śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas, such as realizing the four realities of the noble ones and personal identitylessness. Great supramundane prajñā results from study, reflection, and meditation on the path of bodhisattvas, such as realizing that all phenomena are unarisen and empty of an inherent nature of their own.
Thus, prajñāpāramitā means the perfection of such prajñā since it is the most supreme among all prajñās, focuses on ultimate reality, and causes one to proceed to the nonabiding nirvāṇa. Thus, it refers to the great supramundane prajñā, which is the primary mental factor that actively engages in and experiences the progressive path of insight into the nature of all phenomena, thus leading to and finally manifesting as the wisdom of a buddha that is beyond both saṃsāra and the limited personal nirvāṇa of arhats. In this sense, it is used both in a fruitional sense (the highest wisdom of a buddha) and as referring to the main element of the path that leads there. The “transcendent” quality of prajñāpāramitā is especially highlighted in the more creative, but widely used, hermeneutical etymology of pāramitā as “having gone beyond or to the other shore” (reflected in the Tibetan pha rol tu phyin pa). During this process of going beyond both saṃsāra and nirvāṇa, on the first two of the five paths of the mahāyāna (the path of accumulation and the path of preparation), the prajñā that arises from meditation is still somewhat conceptual, though its conceptuality becomes increasingly refined and subtle... During the meditative equipoises of the paths of seeing and familiarization, this prajñā consists exclusively of nonconceptual yogic cognition since it directly realizes the nature of all phenomena without any mental reference points. During the phases of subsequent attainment[2] on these paths, however, there are still subtle traces of conceptuality in bodhisattvas, whereas there is no such difference in the omniscience of a buddha on the path of no more learning. Such omniscient wisdom is always nonconceptual and free from reference points since it is the constant and panoramic awareness of the nature of all phenomena and does not involve any shift between meditative equipoise and subsequent attainment. This prajñā of a buddha and the prajñā of bodhisattvas during their meditative equipoises on the bhūmis are called wisdom or prajñāpāramitā in the strict sense.[3]

Prajnaparamita sutras

According to scholar Edward Conze, the prajñāpāramitā sutras are "a collection of about forty texts ... composed in India between approximately 100 BC and AD 600."[4]

Contemporary scholar Rupert Gethin writes:

The ‘Perfection of Wisdom’ (prajñāpāramita) literature evolved over many centuries and comprises a variety of texts, including some of the oldest Mahāyāna sūtra material. Edward Conze, a pioneer of the scholarly study of this literature, considered the oldest and most basic text to be the Aṣṭasāhasrikā-Prajnāpāramitā (‘Perfection of Wisdom in 8,000 Lines’), which he dates from the first century BCE. Subsequent centuries saw the production of vast expanded versions, such as those of 100,000 lines, 25,000 lines, and 18,000 lines, as well as shorter versions, such as the Vajracchedikā and Hrṛdaya (the ‘Diamond’ and ‘Heart’ Sūtras)...[5]

Eight sutras listed in early Indian source

An Indian commentary on the Mahāyānasaṃgraha, entitled Vivṛtaguhyārthapiṇḍavyākhyā, lists eight Prajñāpāramitā sūtras; these are:[6]

  1. Śatasāhasrikā prajñāpāramitā: 100,000 lines
  2. Pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikā prajñāpāramitā: 25,000 lines
  3. Aṣṭadaśasāhasrikā prajñāpāramitā: 18,000 lines
  4. Aṣṭasāhasrikā prajñāpāramitā: 8000 lines
  5. Sārdhadvisāhasrikā prajñāpāramitā: 2500 lines, from the questions of Suvikrāntavikrāmin Bodhisattva
  6. Saptaśatikā prajñāpāramitā: 700 lines, the bodhisattva Mañjuśrī's exposition of Prajñāpāramitā# Pañcaśatikā prajñāpāramitā: 500 lines
  7. Triśatikā prajñāpāramitā: PP in 300 lines; aka Vajracchedikā prajñāpāramitā, aka Diamond Sutra

Seventeen texts listed in Tibetan sources

In the Tibetan tradition, the Abhisamayālaṃkāra is traditionally said to be a commentary to seventeen Prajñāpāramitā (PP) source texts which are collectively known as the "Seventeen Mothers and Sons" (Wyl. yum sras bcu bdun).[7]

The Six Mothers are:[7]

  1. Śatasāhasrikā prajñāpāramitā: 100,000 lines
  2. Pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikā prajñāpāramitā: 25,000 lines
  3. Aṣṭadaśasāhasrikā prajñāpāramitā: 18,000 lines
  4. Daśasāhasrikā prajñāpāramitā: 10,000 lines
  5. Aṣṭasāhasrikā prajñāpāramitā: 8000 lines
  6. Prajñāpāramitāratnaguṇasañcayagāthā (Verse Summary of the 8000 lines)

The Eleven Sons are:[7]

  1. The 700 Lines on Transcendent Wisdom (Skt. saptaśatikāprajñāpāramitā) (Toh 24)
  2. The 500 Lines (Skt. pañcaśatikāprajñāpāramitā) (Toh 15)
  3. The 50 Lines (Skt. bhagavatī­prajñāpāramitāpañcāśatikā) (Toh 18)
  4. The 150 Lines (Skt. prajñāpāramitānayaśatapañcaśatikā) (Toh 17)
  5. The 25 Doors (Skt. pañcaviṃśatikāprajñāpāramitāmukha) (Toh 20)
  6. The Few Syllables of Transcendent Wisdom (Skt. svalpākṣaraprajñāpāramitā) (Toh 22)
  7. The Single Syllable of Transcendent Wisdom (Skt. ekākṣarīmātāprajñāpāramitā) (Toh 23)
  8. The PP sutra Requested by Kaushika (Skt. kauśikaprajñāpāramitā) (Toh 19)
  9. The PP sutra Requested by Suvikrantavikrami (Skt. suvikrāntavikrāmiparipṛcchā­prajñāpāramitānirdeśa) (Toh 14)
  10. The Vajra Cutter Sutra (Skt. vajracchedikā) aka 300 Verses (Trishatika), aka Diamond Sutra (Toh 16)
  11. The Heart of Wisdom (Skt. Prajñahridaya) aka Heart Sutra (Toh 21)

Heart sutra and Diamond-Cutter Sutra

A Chinese translation of the Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra (Vajra Cutter Sutra) from Dunhuang (circa 868 CE).

The shortest and best-known Prajñāpāramitā sūtra is the Heart Sutra (Prajñāpāramitā Hṛdaya), which is said to present the essential meaning of the Prajnaparamita literature in condensed form.

Edward Conze writes, "...the Diamond Sūtra and the Heart Sūtra are in a class by themselves and deservedly renowned throughout the world of Northern Buddhism. Both have been translated into many languages and have often been commented upon."[8]

Mahaprajnaparamita sutra

The Mahaprajnaparamita Sutra is a collection of sixteen Prajnaparamita sutras found in the Chinese Canon.

Commentaries and translations

There are various Indian and later Chinese commentaries on the Prajñāpāramitā sutras, some of the most influential commentaries include:

  • Dazhidu lun (大智度論, T no. 1509) (Skt. *Mahāprajñāpāramitopadeśa), a central Prajñāpāramitā commentary in the East Asian tradition; this text is only extant in the Chinese language.
  • Abhisamayālaṃkāra (Ornament of Clear Realization), the central Prajñāpāramitā commentary in the Tibetan tradition, attributed to the Indian scholar Asanga.
  • Abhisamayalankaraloka an Indian commentary on the Abhisamayālaṃkāra by Haribhadra. This text was influential on later Tibetan texts.
  • Another Indian commentary to the Abhisamayālaṃkāra by Vimuktisena.
  • Śatasāhasrikā-pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikāṣṭādaśasāhasrikā-prajñāpāramitā-bṛhaṭṭīkā, often attributed to Vasubandhu (4th century).[9]
  • Satasahasrika-paramita-brhattika, attributed to Daṃṣṭrāsena.
  • Dignāga's Prajnaparamitarthasamgraha-karika.
  • Ratnākaraśānti's Prajñāpāramitopadeśa.

History of Prajñāpāramitā literature

Prajñāpāramitā illustrated manuscript cover, circa 15th century

The Earliest Texts

Western scholars have traditionally considered the earliest sūtra in the Prajñāpāramitā class to be the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra or "Perfection of Wisdom in 8,000 Lines", which was probably put in writing in the 1st century BCE.[10] This chronology is based on the views of Edward Conze, who largely considered dates of translation into other languages. This text also has a corresponding version in verse format, called the Ratnaguṇasaṃcaya Gāthā, which some believe to be slightly older because it is not written in standard literary Sanskrit. However, these findings rely on late-dating Indian texts, in which verses and mantras are often kept in more archaic forms.[11]

According to Edward Conze, the PP literature developed in nine stages: (1) An urtext similar to the first two chapters of the Sanskrit Ratnagunasaṃcaya Gāthā; (2) Chapters 3 to 28 of the Ratnagunasaṃcaya are composed, along with the prose of the Aṣṭasāhasrikā. This base text was further expanded with (3) material from the Abhidharma, and (4) concessions to the "Buddhism of Faith" (referring to Pure Land references in the sūtra). This process led to (5) further expansion into larger PP sūtras as well as (6) contraction into the shorter sūtras (i.e. Diamond Sūtra, Heart Sūtra, down to the Prajñāpāramitā in One Letter). This expanded corpus formed the basis for the (7) Indian PP Commentaries, (8) Tantric PP works and (9) Chinese Chan texts.[12] Jan Nattier also defends the view that the Aṣṭasāhasrikā developed as various layers were added over time.[11] However, Matthew Orsborn has recently argued, based on the chiastic structures of the text that the entire sūtra may have been composed as a single whole (with a few additions added on the core chapters).[13]

A number of scholars have proposed that the Mahāyāna Prajñāpāramitā teachings were first developed by the Caitika subsect of the Mahāsāṃghikas. They believe that the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra originated amongst the southern Mahāsāṃghika schools of the Āndhra region, along the Kṛṣṇa River.[14] These Mahāsāṃghikas had two famous monasteries near Amarāvati and the Dhānyakataka, which gave their names to the Pūrvaśaila and Aparaśaila schools.[15] Each of these schools had a copy of the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra in Prakrit.[15] Guang Xing also assesses the view of the Buddha given in the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra as being that of the Mahāsāṃghikas.[15] Edward Conze estimates that this sūtra originated around 100 BCE.[15]

In 2012, Harry Falk and Seishi Karashima published a damaged and partial Kharoṣṭhī manuscript of the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā.[16] It is radiocarbon dated to ca. 75 CE, making it one of the oldest Buddhist texts in existence. It is very similar to the first Chinese translation of the Aṣṭasāhasrikā by Lokakṣema (ca. 179 CE) whose source text is assumed to be in the Gāndhārī language; Lokakṣema's translation is also the first extant translation of the Prajñāpāramitā genre into a non-Indic language. Comparison with the standard Sanskrit text shows that it is also likely to be a translation from Gāndhāri as it expands on many phrases and provides glosses for words that are not present in the Gāndhārī. This points to the text being composed in Gāndhārī, the language of Gandhara (the region now called the Northwest Frontier of Pakistan, including Peshawar, Taxila and Swat Valley). The "Split" manuscript is evidently a copy of an earlier text, confirming that the text may date before the 1st century CE.

In contrast to western scholarship, Japanese scholars have traditionally considered the Diamond Sūtra (Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra) to be from a very early date in the development of Prajñāpāramitā literature.[17] The usual reason for this relative chronology which places the Vajracchedikā earlier is not its date of translation, but rather a comparison of the contents and themes.[18] Some western scholars also believe that the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra was adapted from the earlier Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra.[17]

Examining the language and phrases used in both the Aṣṭasāhasrikā and the Vajracchedikā, Gregory Schopen also sees the Vajracchedikā as being earlier than the Aṣṭasāhasrikā.[19] This view is taken in part by examining parallels between the two works, in which the Aṣṭasāhasrikā seems to represent the later or more developed position.[19] According to Schopen, these works also show a shift in emphasis from an oral tradition (Vajracchedikā) to a written tradition (Aṣṭasāhasrikā).[19]

Later Indian Developments

Illustration from a 100000 line PP sutra manuscript

The Pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikā prajñāpāramitā Sūtra (T. Shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa stong phrag nyi shu lnga pa; C. Mohe bore boluomi jing, 摩訶般若波羅蜜經) is one of the largest PP sutras, comprising three volumes of the Tibetan Kangyur (26-28). It was also one of the most important and popular PP sutras in India, seeing as how there are numerous Indian commentaries on this text, including commentaries by Vimuktisena, Haribhadra, Smṛtijñānakīrti, and Ratnakarashanti. The sutra also survives in the original Sanskrit, which was found in Gilgit. It also exists in four Chinese translations.[20]

According to Nattier, the Pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikā is basically the Aṣṭasāhasrikā base text which has been "sliced" up and filled with other material, increasing the length of the text considerably.[11] This process of expansion continued, culminating in the massive Śatasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra (100,000 lines), the largest of the PP sutras.

According to Joseph Walser, there is evidence that the Pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra (25,000 lines) and the Śatasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra (100,000 lines) have a connection with the Dharmaguptaka sect, while the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra (8,000 lines) does not.[21]

Other PP texts were also composed which were much shorter and had a more independent structure from the Aṣṭasāhasrikā. Regarding the shorter PP texts, Conze writes, "two of these, the Diamond Sūtra and the Heart Sūtra are in a class by themselves and deservedly renowned throughout the world of Northern Buddhism. Both have been translated into many languages and have often been commented upon.".[22] Jan Nattier argues the Heart Sutra to be an apocryphal text composed in China from extracts of the Pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikā and other texts c. 7th century.[23] Red Pine, however, does not support Nattiers argument and believes the Heart Sutra to be of Indian origin.[24]

Tantric texts

After the rise of Tantric Buddhist traditions, Tantric Prajñāpāramitā texts were produced from the year 500 CE on and include sutras such as the Adhyardhaśatikā Prajñāpāramitā (150 lines). Additionally, Prajñāpāramitā terma teachings are held by some Tibetan Buddhists to have been conferred upon Nāgārjuna by the "King of the Nāgas" (Nāgarāja), who had been guarding them in the Naga realm.

Central Asia

By the middle of the 3rd century CE, it appears that some Prajñāpāramitā texts were known in Central Asia, as reported by the Chinese monk Zhu Shixing, who brought back a manuscript of the Prajñāpāramitā of 25,000 lines:[25]

When in 260 AD, the Chinese monk Zhu Shixing chose to go to Khotan in an attempt to find original Sanskrit sūtras, he succeeded in locating the Sanskrit Prajñāpāramitā in 25,000 verses, and tried to send it to China. In Khotan, however, there were numerous Hīnayānists who attempted to prevent it because they regarded the text as heterodox. Eventually, Zhu Shixing stayed in Khotan, but sent the manuscript to Luoyang where it was translated by a Khotanese monk named Mokṣala. In 296, the Khotanese monk Gītamitra came to Chang'an with another copy of the same text.


In China, there was extensive translation of many Prajñāpāramitā texts beginning in the second century CE. The main translators include: Lokakṣema (支婁迦讖), Zhi Qian (支謙), Dharmarakṣa (竺法護), Mokṣala (無叉羅), Kumārajīva (鳩摩羅什, 408 CE), Xuanzang (玄奘), Faxian (法賢) and Dānapāla (施護).[26] These translations were very influential in the development of East Asian Mādhyamaka and on Chinese Buddhism.

Xuanzang (fl. c. 602–664) was a Chinese scholar who traveled to India and returned to China with three copies of the Mahaprajnaparamita Sutra which he had secured from his extensive travels.[27] Xuanzang, with a team of disciple translators, commenced translating the voluminous work in 660 CE using the three versions to ensure the integrity of the source documentation.[27] Xuanzang was being encouraged by a number of the disciple translators to render an abridged version. After a suite of dreams quickened his decision, Xuanzang determined to render an unabridged, complete volume, faithful to the original of 600 fascicles.[28]

An important PP text in East Asian Buddhism is the Dazhidulun (大智度論, T no. 1509), a massive commentary on the Pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā translated by Kumārajīva (344–413 CE).[29] There are also later commentaries from Zen Buddhists on the Heart and Diamond sutra and Kūkai's commentary (9th century) is the first-known Tantric commentary.


The PP sutras were first brought to Tibet in the reign of Trisong Detsen (742-796) by scholars Jinamitra and Silendrabodhi and the translator Ye shes sDe.[30] Tibetan Buddhist scholasticism generally studies the PP sutras through the Abhisamayālaṅkāra and its numerous commentaries. The focus on the Abhisamayālaṅkāra is particularly pronounced in the Gelug school, who according to Georges Dreyfus "take the Ornament as the central text for the study of the path" and "treat it as a kind of Buddhist encyclopedia, read in the light of commentaries by Je Dzong-ka-ba, Gyel-tsap Je, and the authors of manuals [monastic textbooks]."[31]

Great Mother (female deity)

In the tantric period of Indian Buddhism, Prajñāpāramitā came to be personified in the form of a female deity called the "Great Mother" (Tibetan: Yum Chenmo). This deity is said to be the "mother" of all the buddhas in the sense that all buddhas are born from the transcendental wisdom of Prajñāpāramitā. This deity is invoked in various tantras associated with Prajñāpāramitā.

There are different forms of this deity described in different texts. Karl Brunnholzl describes one form of this deity as follows:

She is yellow in color, sits in a cross-legged position, and has four arms, with her upper left hand holding a text, her upper right hand raising a flaming sword, and the lower two arms being in the gesture of meditation. Respectively these represent the three types of prajñā: knowledge through study, cutting through and illuminating delusion, and direct insight into the true nature of all phenomena. These are also called the prajñās resulting from study, reflection, and meditation, which represent a progression from the conceptual and coarse forms of prajñā to its most subtle and nonconceptual form.[3]

Selected English translations

Author Title Publisher Notes Year
Edward Conze Selected Sayings from the Perfection of Wisdom ISBN 978-0877737094 Buddhist Society, London Portions of various Perfection of Wisdom sutras 1978
Edward Conze The Large Sutra on Perfect Wisdom ISBN 0-520-05321-4 University of California Mostly the version in 25,000 lines, with some parts from the versions in 100,000 and 18,000 lines 1985
Edward Conze Buddhist Wisdom Books ISBN 0-04-440259-7 Unwin The Heart Sutra and the Diamond Sutra with commentaries 1988
Edward Conze The Perfection of Wisdom in Eight Thousand Lines and its Verse Summary ISBN 81-7030-405-9 Four Seasons Foundation The earliest text in a combination of strict translation and summary 1994
Edward Conze Perfect Wisdom; The Short Prajnaparamita Texts ISBN 0-946672-28-8 Buddhist Publishing Group, Totnes. (Luzac reprint) Most of the short sutras: Perfection of Wisdom in 500 Lines, 700 lines, The Heart Sutra and The Diamond Sutra, one word, plus some Tantric sutras, all without commentaries. 2003
Geshe Tashi Tsering Emptiness: The Foundation of Buddhist Thought, ISBN 978-0-86171-511-4 Wisdom Publications A guide to the topic of emptiness from a Tibetan Buddhist perspective, with English translation of the Heart Sutra 2009
Lex Hixon Mother of the Buddhas: Meditation on the Prajnaparamita Sutra ISBN 0-8356-0689-9 Quest Selected verses from the Prajnaparamita in 8000 lines 1993
R.C. Jamieson The perfection of wisdom, ISBN 978-0-67088-934-1 Penguin Viking Foreword by H.H. the Dalai Lama; illustrated with Cambridge University Library Manuscript Add.1464 & Manuscript Add.1643 -
Richard H. Jones The Heart of Buddhist Wisdom: Plain English Translations of the Heart Sutra, the Diamond-Cutter Sutra, and other Perfection of Wisdom Texts, ISBN 978-1478389576 Jackson Square Books Clear translations and summaries of the most important texts with essays 2012
Lopez, Donald S. Elaborations on Emptiness ISBN 0-691-00188-X Princeton The Heart Sutra with eight complete Indian and Tibetan commentaries 1998
Lopez, Donald S. The Heart Sutra Explained ISBN 0-88706-590-2 SUNY The Heart Sutra with a summary of Indian commentaries 1987
Rabten, Geshe Echoes of Voidness ISBN 0-86171-010-X Wisdom Includes the Heart Sutra with Tibetan commentary 1983
Thich Nhat Hanh The Heart of Understanding ISBN 0-938077-11-2 Parallax Press The Heart Sutra with a Vietnamese Thiền commentary 1988
Thich Nhat Hanh The Diamond that Cuts Through Illusion ISBN 0-938077-51-1 Parallax Press The Diamond Sutra with a Vietnamese Thiền commentary 1992
Red Pine The Diamond Sutra: The Perfection of Wisdom; Text and Commentaries Translated from Sanskrit and Chinese ISBN 1-58243-256-2 Counterpoint The Diamond Sutra with Chán/Zen commentary 2001
Red Pine The Heart Sutra: the Womb of Buddhas ISBN 978-1593760090 Counterpoint Heart Sutra with commentary 2004
14th Dalai Lama Essence of the Heart Sutra, ISBN 978-0-86171-284-7 Wisdom Publications Heart Sutra with commentary by the 14th Dalai Lama 2005
Doosun Yoo Thunderous Silence: A Formula For Ending Suffering: A Practical Guide to the Heart Sutra, ISBN 978-1614290537 Wisdom Publications English translation of the Heart Sutra with Korean Seon commentary 2013
Kazuaki Tanahashi The Heart Sutra: A Comprehensive Guide to the Classic of Mahayana Buddhism, ISBN 978-1611800968 Shambhala Publications English translation of the Heart Sutra with history and commentary 2015
Brian Chung Heart of Prajna Paramita Sutra Purelandsutras English liturgical translation of Heart Sutra with decorative calligraphy. In Public Domain. 2018


  1. Harding 2003, glossary.
  2. This is usually translated as “postmeditation,” which at best seems to be too neutral a word or just has the connotation of taking a break. Actually, the term refers to the level of realization of emptiness that is attained when emerging from meditative equipoise. This realization is then actively applied to seeing the illusionlike nature of all appearances and experiences in one’s practice of the six pāramitās during the time between the sessions of meditative equipoise. Thus, a synonym for “subsequent attainment” is “illusionlike samādhi.” (Brunnholzl, fn 35)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Brunnholzl 2011, Introduction.
  4. Conze, E. Perfect Wisdom: The Short Prajnaparamita Texts, Buddhist Publishing Group, 1993
  5. Gethin 1998, s.v. Chapter 9: The Mahayana, The Great Vehicle.
  6. Hamar, Imre. Reflecting Mirrors: Perspectives on Huayan Buddhism. 2007. p. 94
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Karma Phuntsho (2005). Mipham's Dialectics and the Debates on Emptiness: To Be, Not to Be or Neither, p. 232. Routledge.
  8. Conze, Edward. The Short Prajñāpāramitā Texts. 1973. p. 9
  9. Karl Brunnhölzl "Prajñāpāramitā, Indian "gzhan ston pas", And the Beginning of Tibetan gzhan stong" (2011) 197p.
  10. Mäll, Linnart. Studies in the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā and other essays. 2005. p. 96
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Nattier, Jan. (2003). A few good men : the Bodhisattva path according to The Inquiry of Ugra (Ugraparip̣rcchā). University of Hawai'i Press. pp. 62 n19. ISBN 0-8248-3003-2. OCLC 62933513. 
  12. Conze, Edward, 1904-1979. (2000). Thirty years of Buddhist studies : selected essays. Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt Ltd. pp. 123–147. ISBN 81-215-0960-2. OCLC 46913071. 
  13. Orsborn 2012, pp. 364–365.
  14. Guang Xing. The Concept of the Buddha: Its Evolution from Early Buddhism to the Trikaya Theory. 2004. pp. 65-66 "Several scholars have suggested that the Prajnaparamita probably developed among the Mahasamghikas in Southern India, in the Andhra country, on the Krsna River."
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Guang Xing. The Concept of the Buddha: Its Evolution from Early Buddhism to the Trikaya Theory. 2004. p. 66
  16. Harry Falk and Seishi Karashima, A first‐century Prajñāpāramitā manuscript from Gandhāra — parivarta 1 (Texts from the Split Collection 1). Annual Report of the International Research Institute for Advanced Buddhology at Soka University XV (2012), 19-61.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Williams, Paul. Mahāyāna Buddhism: the Doctrinal Foundations. London, UK: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-02537-0. p.42
  18. Schopen, Gregory. Figments and Fragments of Mahāyāna Buddhism in India. 2005. p. 55
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Schopen, Gregory. Figments and Fragments of Mahāyāna Buddhism in India. 2005. pp. 31-32
  20. "Perfection of Wisdom | 84000 Reading Room". 84000 Translating The Words of The Budda. Retrieved 2021-12-14. 
  21. Williams, Paul. Mahāyāna Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations. 2008. p. 6
  22. Conze, Edward. The Short Prajñāpāramitā Texts. 1973. p. 9
  23. Nattier, Jan (1992). "The Heart Sūtra". Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies. 15 (2): 153–223. doi:10.2143/JIABS.15.2.3286001. 
  24. "The Heart Sutra Translation and Commentary", 2004. p.22-24
  25. Heirman, Ann. Bumbacher, Stephan Peter. The Spread of Buddhism. 2007. p. 100
  26. Orsborn 2012, p. 41.
  27. 27.0 27.1 Wriggins, Sally Hovey (2004). The Silk Road Journey with Xuanzang. Boulder, Colorado: WestviewPress. ISBN 0-8133-6599-6. p.206
  28. Wriggins, Sally Hovey (2004). The Silk Road Journey with Xuanzang. Boulder, Colorado: WestviewPress. ISBN 0-8133-6599-6. p.207
  30. Brunnholzl, Karl; Gone Beyond: The Prajnaparamita Sutras The Ornament Of Clear Realization And Its Commentaries In The Tibetan Kagyu Tradition (Tsadra) 2011, page 42.
  31. Dreyfus, Georges B.J. (2003) The Sound of Two Hands Clapping: The Education of a Tibetan Buddhist Monk, pp. 175-176. University of California Press.


  • Brunnholzl, Karl (2011), Gone Beyond (Volume 1): The Prajnaparamita Sutras The Ornament Of Clear Realization And Its Commentaries In The Tibetan Kagyu Tradition, Snow Lion 
  • Book icoline.svg Gethin, Rupert (1998), Foundations of Buddhism (Kindle ed.), Oxford University Press 
  • Harding, Sarah (2003), Machik's Complete Explanation: Clarifying the Meaning of Chöd, Snow Lion 
  • Nattier, Jan (January 2003). A Few Good Men: The Bodhisattva Path According to the Inquiry of Ugra (Ugraparipṛcchā): a Study and Translation. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-2607-9. 


  • Vaidya, P.L, ed. (1960). Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā with Haribhadra’s Commentary Called āloka. Buddhist Sanskrit Texts. 4. Darbhanga: The Mithila Institute. 

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