Ten qualities leading
- (1) perfection in giving (or liberality; dāna-pāramī)
- (2) morality (sīla-p.)
- (3) renunciation (nekkhamma-p.)
- (5) energy (viriya-p.)
- (6) patience (or
forbearance; khanti p.)
- (7) truthfulness (sacca-p.)
- (9) loving-kindness (mettā-p.)
These qualities were developed and brought to maturity by the
Bodhisatta in his past existences, and his way of practising them is illustrated
in many of the Birth Stories (Jātaka), of which, however, only the verses are
regarded as canonical. Apart from the latter, the 10 pāramī are
mentioned in only two other canonical works which are probably apocryphal, the
Buddhavamsa (in the Story of Sumedha) and the
Cariyapitaka. A long and
methodical exposition of the pāramī is given in the concluding
Miscellaneous Section (pakinnakakathā) of the Com. to Cariyapitaka
In Vis.M. IX it is said that through developing the 4 sublime
states (loving-kindness, compassion, altruistic joy, equanimity; s.
one may reach these 10 perfections, namely:
"As the Great Beings (mahā-satta; a synonym
often found in the Mahāyana scriptures for
'Enlightenment Being or Being destined for Buddha-hood) are concerned about the
welfare of living beings, not tolerating the suffering of beings, wishing long
duration to the higher states of happiness of beings, and being impartial and
just to all beings, therefore:
- they give alms (dāna) to all
beings so that they may be happy, without Investigating whether they are worthy
- By avoiding to do them any harm, they observe morality (sīla).
- In order to bring morality to perfection, they train themselves in
- In order to understand clearly what is
beneficial and injurious to beings, they purify their wisdom (paññā).
- For the sake of the welfare and happiness of others they constantly exert
their energy (viriya).
- Though having become heroes through utmost
energy, they are nevertheless full of forbearance (khanti) toward s the
manifold failings of beings.
- Once they have promised to give or do
something, they do not break their promise ('truthfulness'; sacca).
- With unshakable resolution (adhitthāna) they work for the weal and
welfare of beings.
- With unshakable kindness (mettā) they are helpful
- By reason of their equanimity (upekkhā) they do not expect
anything in return" (Vis.M. IX.24).
In the Mahāyana scriptures, where the pāramī occupy a
much more prominent place, a partly differing list of six is given:
- Ten Jātaka Stories (illustrating the 10 pāramī),
by I. B. Horner (London 1957, Luzac & Co.);
- Buddhavamsa &
Cariyapitaka. tr. by I. B. Horner (Minor Anthologies III, Sacred Books of
the Buddhists. PTS).
- Narada Thera, The Buddha & His Teachings, Ch. 41;
- The treatise on the perfections from the Com. to Cariyapitaka
has been translated in The Discourse on the All-Embracing Net of Views (Brahmajala
Sutta, with Com.). tr. by Bhikkhu Bodhi (BPS) .