Dasa Pāramīs : Ten Perfections

The word pāramīs literally means perfections. The southern Buddhist commentaries define the Pāramīs as “noble qualities beginning with giving, accompanied by compassion and skillful means, and untainted by craving, conceit, and wrong views.”

Originally, in southern Buddhists texts as explained in the Buddhavangsa, the idea of the Pāramīs was introduced to explain the practices that a bodhisattva undertakes in striving for supreme buddhahood. As time went by, the pāramīs were given an extended interpretation so that they became not exclusively that which a Bodhisattva aiming for Supreme Buddhahood has to fulfill, but they became the qualities that any aspirant for enlightenment — in any mode — has to fulfill. Generally, we speak about people as being engaged in the development of the Pāramīs that correspond to their spiritual aspiration.

In the Southern tradition, these are the Ten Pāramīs; in the Northern tradition they are the Six Paramitās, which are elaborated to ten paramitās. The two sets overlap to a great extent and are in no way mutually exclusive.

In this series, Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi explains the Ten Pāramīs in a general way but according to the way that they are explained within the Theravada commentaries in reference to the practice of a Bodhisattva aiming at Supreme Buddhahood.

Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi
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Perfections TITLE Lecture No. DATE
Introduction Lecture 1 3/8/2003
1 The Perfection of Giving Lecture 2 3/15/2003
2 The Perfection of Virtue Lecture 3 3/29/2003
3 The Perfection of Renunciation
4 The Perfection of Energy Lecture 4 4/5/2003
5 The Perfection of Patience Lecture 5 4/20/2003
6 The Perfection of Truthfulness Lecture 6 5/10/2003
7 The Perfection of Determination Lecture 7 6/7/2003
The Perfection of Determination -- continued Lecture 8 6/14/2003
The Perfection of Determination -- continued Lecture 9 7/5/2003
8 The Perfection of Lovingkindness Lecture 10 8/2/2003
The Perfection of Determination -- continued Lecture 11 8/9/2003
9 The Perfection of Equanimity Lecture 12 9/6/2003
10 The Perfection of Wisdom Lecture 13 9/6/2003
Conclusion Lecture 14 9/6/2003

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Ten Perfections

  1. The Perfection of Giving
  2. The Perfection of Virtue
  3. The Perfection of Renunciation
  4. The Perfection of Energy
  5. The Perfection of Patience
  6. The Perfection of Truthfulness
  7. The Perfection of Determination
  8. The Perfection of Lovingkindness
  9. The Perfection of Equanimity
  10. The Perfection of Wisdom

Taught by Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi at Bodhi Monastery during March 2003 - September 2003