Those of you who have read my blog for a while or have studied independently on Buddhism have likely come across the idea of the Ten Perfections (Dasa Pāramī in Pali) at least once. In my attempt to better study the ideas associated with these ten perfections, I have decided I will write a series of articles for the blog on each and (hopefully) a little bit on how I feel they can be practice by a lay Buddhist living in modern USA, such as myself.
The ten perfections are a Theravada concept, although Mahayana traditions have a parallel with a list of six perfections. It probably isn’t fair to say one list is better than the other, I simply feel like the list of ten is more “complete” because it lists some ideas that are not as well represented (at least in English) in the shorter list.
The Dasa Pāramī are as follows:
- Dāna: Generosity
- Sīla: Virtue
- Nekkhamma: Renunciation
- Paññā: Wisdom
- Viriya: Energy
- Khanti: Patience
- Sacca: Honesty
- Adhitthana: Determination
- Mettā: Loving-kindness
- Upekkhā: Equanimity
As I post each article, I will link to it above.
As I understand it, the list originates in a text called the Buddhavamsa, the “History of the Buddhas.” This is a portion of a collection of texts known as the Khuddaka Nikaya, of which the Dhammapada and Udana also make up a portion. I haven’t been able to find the full text of the Buddhavamsa online or at our local library — it rarely has the more obscure texts — although I have found copies for sale on Amazon.
It seems that scholars have generally come to the conclusion that the Buddhavamsa (and thus, the ten perfections) is probably a later addition to the Buddhist canon, but I don’t feel that it necessarily detracts from its value in practice.
In my experience, I have found that some of these ideas are more difficult to put into practice (at least as a layperson) than others, but I believe each is possible none-the-less. I’m going to set aside a little time over the next month (or so) to write and share my thoughts on each of these ten subjects.
This will hopefully have the benefit of pushing me to study each subject in a bit more detail, as well as giving me a reason to write on the blog. And, you never know who might be looking for information on the subject…
Stay tuned. Maybe we’ll all learn something together.
Please be well, friends!