Ten qualities leading to Buddha-hood:
- (1) perfection in giving (or liberality; dāna-pāramī)
- (2) morality (sīla-p.)
- (3) renunciation (nekkhamma-p.)
- (4) wisdom (paññā-p.)
- (5) energy (viriya-p.)
- (6) patience (or forbearance; khanti p.)
- (7) truthfulness (sacca-p.)
- (8) resolution (adhitthāna-p.)
- (9) loving-kindness (mettā-p.)
- (10) equanimity (upekkhā-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
Bodhisatta, i.e. '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
- they give alms (dāna) to all beings so
that they may be happy, without Investigating whether they are worthy or
- 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 to all.
- 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; Parami (BPS)
- 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) .