Six paramitas (Sanskrit tradition)

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The six paramitas (S. ṣaṭpāramitā; T. pha rol tu phyin pa drug ཕ་རོལ་ཏུ་ཕྱིན་པ་དྲུག་) or six perfections present a gradual path in the training of a bodhisattva according to the Sanskrit Mahayana tradition.

The six paramitas are:

  1. dāna paramita: to cultivate the attitude of giving
  2. śīla paramita: refraining from harm
  3. kṣānti paramita: the ability not to be perturbed by anything
  4. virya paramita: to find joy in what is virtuous, positive or wholesome
  5. dhyana paramita: not to be distracted
  6. prajna paramita: the perfect discrimination of phenomena

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

The sixth paramita can be divided into four parts, resulting in ten paramitas.

Written Sources

In the Mahāyāna textual tradition, the six paramitas are identified in many sources, including:

Tibetan tradition

The following sources are emphasized in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition:



Indian commentaries:

Further reading

  • Dzogchen Ponlop, Rebel Buddha (Boston: Shambhala, 2010), pages 124-132.
  • Geshe Sonam Rinchen, The Six Perfections, translated by Ruth Sonam (Ithaca: Snow Lion, 1998), ISBN 978-1559390897
  • Khenpo Ngawang Pelzang, A Guide to the Words of My Perfect Teacher (Boston & London: Shambhala, 2004), pages 181-219.
  • Patrul Rinpoche, The Words of My Perfect Teacher (Boston: Shambhala, Revised edition, 1998), pages 234-261.
  • Khenpo Kunpal, The Nectar of Manjushri's Speech, translated by Padmakara Translation Group. Published by Shambhala. ISBN 978-1-59030-439-6
  • Khenpo Palden Sherab Rinpoche,Ceasless Echoes of the Great Silence, a Commentary on the Heart Sutra. Translated by Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche. Pages 81-96. Published by Sky Dancer Press. ISBN 1-880976-01-7


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