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date: 24 April 2017

Perfections (Six and Ten) of Bodhisattvas in Buddhist Literature

Summary and Keywords

The etymology of the Sanskrit and Pāli term pāramitā was a contested issue in classical India. One representation considered that the term was derived from pāram, “other (side),” plus the past participle ita, “gone.” This derivation is later preserved in the standard Tibetan translation pha-rol-tu phyin-pa, “gone to the other shore,” implying that such virtues lead to the blissful shore of nirvāṇa and away from the side of saṃsāra, the conditioned world of repeated rebirth and redeath. Other interpretations advocated that this etymology was misguided, and derived pāramitā from the term parama, “excellent, supreme.” The noun pāramitā is translated in early Chinese through “double translation” composed by tu wu-chi, meaning “crossed over” (tu) plus “limitless” (wu-chi), which brings together both of the traditional etymologies.

The conception of the perfections as a specific set of practices is not found in the earliest layers of Buddhist literature. Rather, the perfections as a set of practices developed sometime before the common era as an alternative group of spiritual practices in conjunction with revised notions of buddhahood as well as newly considered notions of what constitutes the path leading to buddhahood. The lists of perfections varied according to the genre of literature in which they appeared. What practices constituted the varied lists of perfections and how the perfections were conceived differed not only among groups but also among scholarly authors. The perfections appear in Buddhist literature as a group in varying lists, but the lists of perfections are notoriously unfixed, with six and ten perfections being the most common. The Theravāda tradition recognizes ten, although only eight are listed in the Buddhāpadāna and seven in the Cariyāpiṭaka. The ten perfections in the Theravāda tradition are (1) generosity (dāna), (2) morality (sīla), (3) renunciation (nekhamma), (4) insight (pañña), (5) energy (viriya), (6) patience (khanti), (7) truthfulness (sacca), (8) resolution (adhiṭṭhāna), (9) loving-kindness (metta), and (10) equanimity (upekkhā). This list differs from the list of ten perfections found in Buddhist Sanskrit literature. A set of six perfections became common among some genres of mainstream Buddhist literature and developed into a standard list in a number of Mahāyāna sūtras. However, other lists of four, five, or seven perfections also occurred. In time, a set of six perfections became standard in Mahāyāna sūtras. The six are (1) generosity (dāna), (2) morality (śīla), (3) patience (kṣānti), (4) vigor (vīrya), (5) concentration (dhyāna), and (6) wisdom (prajñā). This list was expanded to complement the ten stages (bhūmi) traversed by a bodhisattva in the course leading to full buddhahood. The additional perfections were (7) skill-in-means (upāya-kauśalya), (8) resolution (praṇidhāna), (9) strength (bala), and (10) knowledge (jñāna). The manner in which the perfections were understood in different Buddhist cultures, such as in East Asia, Tibet, or Southeast Asia, was dependent on the Buddhist literature that was accessible or acceptable to the particular culture and the interpretative attention given to that literature.

Keywords: perfection, supremacy, mastery, excellence, virtues, transcendental virtues, six perfections, bodhisattva practice

The Perfections in Buddhist Literature

The perfections (Sanskrit, pāramitā; Pāli, pāramī; Gāndhārī, paramida; Tibetan, pha rol tu phyin pa; Chinese, boluomi; Japanese, haramitsu) are the virtues or qualities that are fully developed by a bodhisattva (buddha-in-training) to become a buddha. A number of Buddhist traditions acknowledge that the perfections are practiced through multiple lifetimes extending over aeons of time for the purpose of achieving full buddhahood for the welfare of beings.

The Sanskrit and Pāli noun pāramitā is derived from the adjective parama, meaning “high, complete, perfect.” In this sense, pāramitā is an old noun denoting “the highest point.”1 The Theravāda tradition has consistently understood the term in this way and has commonly used another derivative, pāramī, as a synonym. In contrast, Mahāyāna traditions have analyzed the term as consisting of two words, pāram itā, meaning “gone to the beyond,” signifying its purport for progress in the bodhisattva path. The Chinese and Tibetan translations of the term pāramitā (du 度‎ and pha-rol-tu phyin-pa, respectively) reflect this latter understanding of its meaning. These interpretations may differ between mainstream Buddhist (nikāya) and Mahāyāna traditions, but the understandings they imply are found among most Buddhist schools. One representation regarded the term as derived from pāram, “other (side),” plus the past participle ita “gone.”2 This derivation is later preserved in the standard Tibetan translation pha-rol-tu phyin-pa “gone to the other shore.” Other interpretations advocated that this etymology was misguided, and derived pāramitā from the term parama, “excellent, supreme.” The noun pāramitā is translated in early Chinese through “double translation” composed of du wuji 度無極‎, meaning “crossed over” (du 度‎) plus “unexcelled, limitless” (wuji 無極‎), which brings together both of the traditional etymologies.3 A number of Buddhist works provide semantic etymologies (nirukti) for pāramitā, etymologies which explain the meaning of a term rather than its linguistic origin, based on contextual underlying factors that a text is trying to advocate. The understanding of pāramitā in the sense of “to reach the other shore” generally conveys the idea that a perfection enables one to go from the realm of saṃsāra, the world of repeated rebirth and redeath, to the blissful realm of nirvāṇa.

The conception of the perfections as a set is not found in the earliest layers of Buddhist literature.4 Rather, the perfections as a set of practices developed sometime before the common era as an alternative group of spiritual practices in conjunction with revised notions of buddhahood, as well as newly considered notions of what constitutes the path leading to buddhahood. The pāramitās furnished an arrangement of Buddhist thought and practice that focused on the ideal of the bodhisattva and how a bodhisattva was imagined to fulfill the immeasurable qualities and virtues necessary for the attainment of buddhahood. The qualities of the pāramitās and their outlines for practice were extensions of earlier mainstream Buddhist arrangements of practice, such as the three trainings (triśīkṣa) of morality (śīla), concentration (samādhi), and insight (prajñā), but were modified with the underlying ethos, aspirations, and commitments for attaining incomparable buddhahood for the welfare of all beings.

The lists of perfections varied according to the genre of literature in which they appeared. What practices constituted the varied lists of perfections and how the perfections were conceived differed not only among groups but also among scholarly authors. The pāramitās appear in Buddhist literature as a group in varying lists, but the lists of perfections are notoriously unfixed with six and ten perfections being the most common.

The Perfections in the Jātakas

Perhaps the earliest genre of Buddhist literature in which the pāramitās appear are the collections of Jātakas, the stories of the Buddha’s previous lives. The pāramitās in these stories provide major underlying themes, such as self-sacrifice, ethical virtue, and patience, that demonstrate the magnificent qualities developed by the Buddha in his previous lives by carrying out moral acts as a bodhisattva on the bodhisattva path. In the Aviṣahya Jātaka, for example, the bodhisattva cultivates the perfection of generosity (dānapāramitā) by donating alms to supplicants in spite of being reduced to poverty. The bodhisattva is a boy who refuses to steal, even after encouragement from his Brahmin teacher to do so, in the Brāhmaṇa Jātaka, to illustrate the cultivation of the perfection of morality (śīlapāramitā). In the Kṣāntivādin Jātaka, the bodhisattva is an ascetic who cultivates the perfection of forbearance (kṣāntipāramitā) by tolerating being violently disfigured by an angry king.5 Most Buddhist groups (nikāya) had collections of Jātakas that differed in length and number. Buddhist groups and movements also understood the purport of the Jātakas differently, with mainstream groups like the Theravāda seeing the perfections in the Jātakas as qualities to be admired, while Mahāyāna movements understood the perfections in the Jātakas as models to emulate.

Theravāda Buddhist works, such as the Cariyāpiṭaka, arrange Jātaka tales on the basis of a hierarchy of perfections. The Theravāda tradition recognizes ten perfections, although only eight are listed in the Buddhāpadāna and seven in the Cariyāpiṭaka. In Theravāda traditions, the perfections provide Buddhists with a set of ideals to worship and venerate the Buddha as a model of incomparable spiritual significance and superiority. The ten perfections that have become commonly accepted among Theravāda traditions serve as guides to structuring the stories of the Buddha’s previous lives, the Jātakas, and give evidence to the supremacy of the Buddha who has fulfilled these virtues in his awakening. The ten perfections in the Theravāda tradition are (1) generosity (dāna), (2) morality (sīla), (3) renunciation (nekhamma), (4) insight (pañña), (5) energetic diligence (viriya), (6) patience (khanti), (7) truthfulness (sacca), (8) resolution (adhiṭṭhāna), (9) loving-kindness (metta), and (10) equanimity (upekkhā). A commentator on the Cariyāpiṭaka, Dhammapāla (post–5th century), posits two possible explanations for their sequence. The first explanation, as mentioned, is that the order of the perfections reflects the sequence in which they are undertaken. The second explanation is based on a certain order that does not follow a specific sequence of practice. Dhammapāla’s commentary also expands the list of perfections into thirty perfections: ten (ordinary) perfections (pāramī), ten intermediate perfections (upapāramī), and ten supreme perfections (paramatthapāramī).6

The Perfections in Mahāyāna Sūtras

A set of six perfections became common among some genres of mainstream Buddhist literature and developed into a standard list in a number of Mahāyāna sūtras. However, other lists of four, five, or seven also occurred. For instance, the Māhavibhāṣa of the Sarvāstivādin tradition defends a list of four perfections (dāna, śīla, vīrya, and prajñā), claiming that the other perfections are subsumed under these.7 The Saddharmapuṇḍarīka-sūtra, or “Lotus sutra,” recognizes a tradition with six perfections but also lists five perfections in some sections of the text. Likewise, the Rāṣṭrapālaparipṛcchā-sūtra (“Inquiry of Rāṣṭrapāla”) provides lists of five or six but also provides lists at two places in the text that include seven or eight perfections. Aberrant lists of pāramitās may be found in several other works as well, including the Lalitavistara (“The Extensive Play”), the larger Sukhāvatīvyūha (“The Sūtra on the Display of the [World] of Bliss”), the Vimalakīrtinirdeśa (“Teachings of Vimalakīrti”), and the Mahāvastu (“Great Story”).8 In time, a set of six perfections became standard in Mahāyāna sūtras. The social and historical processes that led to the standardization of the perfections into a set of six developed, as far as currently known, off camera—that is, were never documented in written form. The six perfections are (1) generosity (dāna), (2) morality (śīla), (3) patience (kṣānti), (4) vigor/diligence (vīrya), (5) concentration (dhyāna), and (6) wisdom (prajñā). This list was expanded to complement the ten stages (bhūmi) traversed by a bodhisattva in the course leading to full buddhahood. The additional perfections were (7) skill-in-means (upāya-kauśalya), (8) resolution (praṇidhāna), (9) strength (bala), and (10) knowledge (jñāna).

The perfections are discussed in varying ways in Mahāyāna sūtras, and it is important to recognize the heterogeneous character of the presentation of perfections in early Mahāyāna discourses. The perfections as they appear in sūtras that become classified as Mahāyāna provide the themes and practices entailed in the bodhisattva ideal and constitute the practices a bodhisattva seeks to fulfill in carrying out his initial spiritual resolution (bodhicitta) and vows (praṇidhāna) to achieve buddhahood for the welfare of all beings. The discussion of pāramitās found in the great and diverse variety of Mahāyāna sūtras generally appears in three different ways: those sūtras that center on the pāramitās, those which partially discuss the pāramitās, and sūtras that focus on a specific perfection. For instance, the Ugraparipṛcchā focuses on the perfection of generosity (dāna) and the Upāliparipṛcchā discusses morality (śīla).9 A sūtra that focuses on a particular perfection may incorporate other perfections into its emphasis on that particular perfection. For example, while the Ugraparipṛcchā focuses on the perfection of generosity (dāna), the sūtra explains:

If he [the householder bodhisattva] gives while relying upon the spirit of

enlightenment [*bodhicitta], in that way his cultivation of the perfection of

morality [*śīlapāramitā] will be fulfilled.

If he gives while bringing to mind loving-kindness toward those beggars and not

producing anger or hostility toward them, in that way his cultivation of the

perfection

of endurance [*kṣāntipāramitā] will be fulfilled.

If he is not depressed due to a wavering mind that thinks “If I give this away, what will

become of me?” in that way his perfection of exertion [*vīryapāramitā] will be fulfilled.10

In this way, a bodhisattva is instructed to focus on generosity while fulfilling the other perfections.

Works that partially discuss the pāramitās may only briefly summarize the six perfections in the context of broader thematic issues. For instance, the Lalitavistara, a work related to the Sarvāstivāda tradition that is classified as a Mahāyāna sūtra in manuscript and in Tibetan translation, briefly summarizes the six perfections in the following manner in the broader context of discussing the life of Śākyamuni Buddha:

The perfection of generosity (dānapāramita) is a gateway to the light of dharma, for it leads to the marks and signs [of a Buddha], to the complete purification of the buddha realms, and to the maturing of beings who are greedy. The perfection of morality (śīlapāramitā) is a gateway to the light of dharma, for it enables one to pass beyond unfortunate states of existence and to mature immoral beings. The perfection of patience (kṣāntipāramitā) is a gateway to the light of the dharma, for it enables one to eliminate all ill will, aggression, anger, pride, infatuation, and arrogance, and to mature evil-minded beings. The perfection of diligence (vīryapāramitā) is a gateway to the light of dharma, for it enables one to practice all the roots of virtue and to mature beings who are lazy. The perfection of concentration (dhyānapāramitā) is a gateway to the light of dharma, for it enables one to arise to all states of supersensory knowledge and equipoise while maturing beings who are distracted. The perfection of wisdom (prajñāpāramitā) is a gateway to the light of dharma, for it enables one to eliminate the dark fog of ignorance and delusion, to abandon false views, and to mature foolish beings.11

Although the Vimalakīrinirdeśa12 does not fully elucidate the perfections, the sūtra often makes reference to them in illustrating various themes in the work. In this work, the six perfections are found in the buddha-field (buddhakṣetra) of the bodhisattva (I, §13), are individually explained by Vimalakīrti in order to convert various groups of people (II, §2), are qualities that constitute the seat of awakening (III, §56), and are part of the sounds of the dharma that permeates Vimalakīrti’s house (VI, §13). The Vimalakīrinirdeśa also briefly explains that generosity is opposed to greed (mātsarya), that morality opposes immorality (dauśilya), patience opposes animosity (vyāpāda), energetic diligence opposes idleness (kauśīdya), concentration opposes distraction (vikṣepa), and wisdom opposes foolishness (dauḥprajñyā) (XI, §1).

Sūtras that discuss the pāramitās as a set of six group them into subsets based on their overall orientation. For instance, the Prajñāpāramitā literature will group the six perfections into a subset of five, which is supported by the overarching perfection of wisdom (prajñāpāramitā). The Aṣṭasāhasrikā states in this regard:

What do you think, Ānanda, does giving undedicated to omniscience get the name “pāramitā”? Ānanda: No, Lord. The Lord: What do you think, Ānanda, do morality, forbearance, diligence, concentration, and wisdom undedicated to omniscience get the name “pāramitās”? Ānanda: No, Lord. The Lord: What do you think, Ānanda, is that wisdom inconceivable which dedicates the roots of good by dedicating them to omniscience? Ānanda: Yes, inconceivable, is that wisdom, supremely inconceivable is that wisdom which dedicates the roots of good by dedicating them to omniscience. The Lord: Therefore, Ānanda, it is on account of its supremacy that wisdom gets the name “pāramitā,” by means of which the roots of good, dedicated to omniscience, get the name “pāramitās.” Therefore, Ānanda, it is on account of the roots of good being dedicated to omniscience that the Perfection of Wisdom (prajñāpāramitā) goes ahead of and is the leader, the guide, of the five perfections.13

The same text will also later state:

However, Kauśika, when giving, morality, patience, diligence, and concentration are taken hold of by the perfection of wisdom, then they get the name, the appellation “perfection.” For these five perfections receive an eye which leads to entrance onto the path to omniscience and to the attainment of omniscience.14

Other sūtras outline the perfection into subsets that approach the pāramitās in terms of whether they constitute the equipment for merit (puṇyasaṃbhāra), usually including the perfections of dāna, śīla, and kṣānti, or the equipment of knowledge (jñānasaṃbhāra), usually including dhyāna and prajñā, with vīrya as a shared member between the equipment subsets.15

The Perfections in Indian Mahāyāna Buddhist Scholarly Works

In addition to Mahāyāna sūtras, a number of Indian Mahāyāna Buddhist śāstras that have been preserved directly discuss the perfections. Nāgārjuna, considered to be one of the major figures in the rise of Mahāyāna traditions and famous for his articulation of the philosophy of emptiness (śūnyatā), composed two letters addressed to kings that advocate practicing the perfections on the bodhisattva path. Nāgārjuna’s “Letter to a Friend” (Suhṛllekha, vs. 8) and Ratnāvalī (iv.80), or “Precious Garland,” both mention the six perfections to be carried out by an aspiring bodhisattva. Maitreyanātha, a figure who is considered one of the founders of the Yogācāra tradition, elucidates the perfections in several works attributed to him that are preserved in Tibetan and Chinese. The Ornament for Clear Realization (Abhisamayālaṃkāra) and the Ornament of the Mahāyāna Sūtras (Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkāra) both have sections that discuss the perfections. The Ornament for Clear Realization (Abhisamayālaṃkāra), an important technical digest that outlines the bodhisattva path, discusses the perfections throughout the text, and the sixteenth chapter of the Ornament of the Mahāyāna Sūtras provides a summary on the six perfections.

The Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra, an enormous commentary on the “Larger Prajñāpāramitā” composed in the 4th century, attributed to Nāgārjuna and preserved in Kumārajīva’s Chinese translation, the Dazhidulun 大智度論‎, contains numerous chapters that extensively outline the perfections.16 Āryaśūra (4th century) composed his Compendium of the Perfections (Pāramitāsamāsa), a Sanskrit text in verse that outlines doctrines and practices for the six perfections. Candrakīrti, an important seventh century Indian Buddhist Madhyamaka thinker, composed his Madhyamakāvatāra (“Introduction to the Middle Way”), which outlines the bodhisattva path in ten stages (bhūmi) based on the Daśabhūmika sūtra (“Discourse on the Ten Stages”) and correlates the stages with ten perfections leading to buddhahood from a Madhyamaka perspective. Śāntideva, a 7th-century Indian Buddhist scholar-monk who is also considered a Madhyamaka philosopher, composed two major works that survive in Sanskrit, the Bodhicaryāvatāra (“Introduction to the Practice of Awakening”) and Śikṣāsamuccaya (“Compendium of Training”), which both discuss the Mahāyāna path of perfections. The Bodhicaryāvatāra is one of the earliest major Madhyamaka works to take the perfections of the bodhisattva as a focus for articulating the Mahāyāna path. The work outlines how the first five perfections are guided by, and auxiliary to, the sixth perfection, the perfection of wisdom (prajñāpāramitā).

The diversity of Mahāyāna Buddhist sources provided various and specific accounts of the perfections, and the perfections did not become systematized into a set of six or ten until Mahāyāna movements became more developed. Even after Mahāyāna Buddhist movements became more popular in India, authors provided different accounts of the six or ten perfections, emphasizing distinctive points for their practice. Nevertheless, the characteristics of the six or ten perfections as found in Mahāyāna Buddhist literature share a number of general features. In general, the perfections were sequentially ordered in the Mahāyāna path to reflect a progressively developed cultivation of virtues leading to the goal of buddhahood. According to Candrakīrti, the bodhisattva may simultaneously practice acts of generosity, morality, patience, and so forth, but they are mastered or perfected in a sequential order beginning with generosity (dāna) and culminating with awareness (jñāna). The perfections were infused with the spiritual intent for awakening (bodhicitta), and the resolutions (praṇidhāna) to attain the goal for others, as well as the dedication or turning over (pariṇāmana) of the merit from one’s cultivation of virtues for the benefit of all living beings in the course of reaching buddhahood.17 The most common occurrence of the perfections among Indian Mahāyāna Buddhist sūtras and śāstras was in a set of six, which have the following general characteristics.

The perfection of generosity (dānapāramitā) is often listed first and foremost among the perfections. Dāna means to give an ordinary gift, to give the gift of the dharma, or to give the gift of mental peace and tranquility to another being as a symbol of self-sacrifice.18 The perfected act of giving is a statement of great compassion, which indicated how a bodhisattva is dedicated to others and for the sake of omniscience. The perfection of giving is based on the earlier models of giving found in mainstream Buddhist literature, particularly the Jātakas. The story of Sadāprarudita in the Aṣṭasāhasrikā prajñāpāramitā (“The Perfecion of Wisdom in Eight Thousand Lines”) reflects the importance of giving for the perfection of wisdom as he gives away everything for the sake of highest awakening. The multiple types of giving include dharmadāna, the gift of the teaching, and āmiṣadāna, material gifts. Mahāyāna sūtras also mention abhayadāna, the giving of fearlessness. Bodhisattvas seek to mentally renounce the body as well as thought of ownership. Sūtras often speak of the dharmayajña “dharma-offering” to fulfill this perfection. Mahāyāna sūtras and technical digests will often describe the perfection of generosity as acts of giving that are perfected acts free of concept (nirvikalpakapāramitā), being triply pure (trimaṇḍalapariśuddha) in making no distinction between the thing given (deya), the donor (dāyaka), and the recipient (pratigrāhaka). The Pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā (“The Perfecion of Wisdom in Twenty-five Thousand Lines”) explicitly states this in regard to giving:

The supramundane perfection of giving consists in the threefold complete purity. What is the threefold complete purity? In that case a bodhisattva-mahāsattva giving a gift does not apprehend a self, does not apprehend a recipient, and does not apprehend a gift; also he does not apprehend its [i.e., giving’s] result.19

The passage continues by explaining that the triply pure act infuses all the perfections:

He surrenders that gift to all beings, but does not apprehend those beings, or himself either. And, although he dedicates that gift to the supreme awakening, he does not apprehend any awakening. This is called the supra-mundane perfection of giving, and it is called “supra-mundane” because one swerves away from the world, departs from it, passes beyond it. In the same way should the difference between the worldly and the supra-mundane perfections of morality, patience, diligence, and concentration be understood.20

Śāntideva sums up dānapāramitā by stating that “the perfection of generosity is said to result from the mental attitude of relinquishing all that one has to people, together with the fruit of the act.”21

The perfection of morality or ethical discipline (śīlapāramitā) is the attitude of abstention that refrains from harming others and, in turn, helping sentient beings by encouraging them to cultivate moral virtue. In this manner, bodhisattvas must purify their own conduct before installing others in practice. The sūtras primarily discuss the perfection of morality in relation to the ten virtuous paths of actions (daśakuśalapatha), pure modes of conduct based on compassion and service to sentient beings.22 The ten modes of pure conduct were often combined with the five precepts (pañcaśīla) as a synthetic list of eleven moral precepts (śikṣāpada).23 The ten virtuous paths of actions, as listed, for example, from the Saddharmasmṛtyupasthāna sūtra, consists of the following abstentions: abstention from taking life (prāṇātighātād virati), abstention from taking what was not given (adattādānād virati), abstention from wrong conduct regarding the passions (kāmamithyācārād virati), abstention from speaking falsehood (mṛṣāvādāt prativirati), abstention from calumny (paiśunyāt prativarati), abstention from harsh speech (pāruṣyāt prativarati), abstention from frivolous speech (saṃbhinnapralāpāt prativirati), abstention from covetousness (abhidhyāyāḥ prativirati), abstention from malice (vyāpādāt prativirati), and abstention from wrong views (mithyādṛṣṭeḥ prativirati). Later technical digests will arrange the perfection of morality into three categories: the discipline of vows (saṃvara–śīla), the discipline of collecting virtuous dharmas (kuśaladharmasaṃgrāhaka–śīla), and the discipline of effecting the aims of sentient beings (sattvārthakriyā–śīla). The discipline of vows (saṃvara-śīla) is constituted by the ten virtuous paths of action. The discipline of collecting virtuous dharmas (kuśaladharmasaṃgrāhaka–śīla) seeks to increase virtuous qualities in the mind and not degenerate virtues already developed. The discipline of effecting the aims of sentient beings (sattvārthakriyā–śīla) focuses on the welfare of living beings and accomplishing their aims in a suitable manner without wrongdoing.24 Śīla as a perfection is not concerned only with one’s own morality but focuses on the moral condition of the entire world.25

The perfection of forbearance or patient endurance (kṣāntipāramitā) signifies cultivating a range of emotional and intellectual qualities to endure numerous types of hardship for the benefit of living beings. The Pañviṃśatisāhasrikā prajñāpāramitā mentions a twofold division of this perfection in terms of forbearance in regards to sentient beings (sattvakṣānti) and forbearance with regard to dharma (dharmakṣānti). Śāntideva notes in both his Bodhicaryāvatāra26 and Śikṣāsamuccaya,27 based on the Dharmasaṅgīti Sūtra, that kṣānti has three aspects: forbearance toward the endurance of suffering, forbearance in discerning the dharma; and forbearance in the endurance of injuries from others (kṣāntis trividhā dharmsaṅgītisūtre’bhihitā duḥkhādhivāsanakṣāntiḥ dharmanidhyānakṣāntiḥ parāpakāramarṣanakṣāntiś ceti). Forbearance is considered to be an interior mental quality that is developed within one’s own mind and is not contingent upon changing other people’s behavior or other external circumstances. The mental cultivation of the perfection of patient forbearance consists just in the perfect fulfillment of the mind’s proficiency in ceasing one’s own anger.

The fourth perfection, vīrya may be translated as “energy,” “striving,” “exertion,” “vigor,” “joyous perseverance,” or “diligence.” Śāntideva sums up vīrya as a perfection in his Bodhicaryāvāra (7.2): “What is vīrya? The endeavor to do what is skillful.” Vīryapāramitā is the enthusiastic engagement in accumulating virtuous qualities and working for the welfare of all living beings. A number of Mahāyāna sūtras classify vīrya into two types: corporeal striving and mental striving.28 Mahāyāna scholastic texts, such as the Bodhisattvabhūmi (“The Stage of a Bodhisattva”), recognize three types of vīrya: armor-like exertion (saṃnāhavīrya), exertion which collects virtuous qualities (kuśaladharmasaṃgrāhakavīrya), and exertion carried out for the benefit of sentient beings (sattvārthakriyāvīrya).29 Vīrya is devotion to courageous bodhisattva action, which aims at universal liberation, and is committed to working for the benefit of sentient beings. Vīrya strives for the strengthening of virtue and supports steadfastness to persevere in cultivating the other five perfections.

The fifth perfection, dhyāna, the perfection of meditative absorption or meditative stabilization, is a one-pointed state of mind, stabilized on virtue, that is able to fixate on an object of meditation without distraction.30 Dhyāna is therefore a technical term used by Buddhists to describe higher levels of consciousness that are attained through the practice of quiescence or śamatha meditation.31 Bodhisattvas cultivate and master all forms of meditations, including liberations (vimokṣa), concentrations (samādhi), and attainments (samāpatti).32 The discussion on dhyānapāramitā in Mahāyāna sūtras focuses on the ways in which meditative absorption may contribute to the actualization of the bodhisattva vow to be of benefit to sentient beings.33 The preliminary practices leading up to dhyānapāramitā build upon practices found in mainstream Buddhist meditative practices, and therefore Mahāyāna discourses on dhyānapāramitā center upon the mastery of suspensory knowledge (abhijñā) and cognitive knowledge (jñāna). Through dhyānapāramitā, the bodhisattva is said to attain five supersensory powers (abhijñā) that assist the bodhisattva in helping other beings and installing them in the practice of the six perfections. The five supersensory powers are the divine eye (divyacakṣus), the divine ear (divyaśrota), knowledge of others’ thoughts (paracitttajñāna), remembrance of previous births (pūrvanivāsānusmṛti), and supernormal power (ṛddhi).34

The sixth perfection, prajñā, often translated as “wisdom” or “insight,” is the analytical discernment that cognizes the ontological status of things. The acquisition of prajñā was considered essential for establishing the other perfections of generosity, morality, patience, striving, and meditative absorption as actual “perfections.” Prajñā as a perfection served as a guide for directing the other perfections toward buddhahood, and the other perfections worked synergistically with prajñā to actualize awakening. Prajñāpāramitā was the insight or wisdom that constituted Omniscient cognition (sarvajñatā) and was identified with the end itself, perfect awakening (saṃbodhi). Prajñāpāramitā was considered to be nondual (advaya) awareness that was beyond all thought constructions (vikalpa), permeated with insight that was absolutely pure (atyantaviśuddhi), neither born nor extinguished (anutpādānirodha), and imperishable (akṣaya). Prajñāpāramitā was generally regarded as exclusively teaching the realization of emptiness (śūnyatā), the reality of the essencelessness of things (dharmanairatyma) and of people (pudgalanairatyma). Buddhist sources provide multiple classifications for prajñā, including worldly (laukika) and supermundane (lokottara), along with a number of different forms of analysis and reasonings. Within Buddhist scholastic sources, prajñā as a perfection developed within a sequence of understanding, beginning with the discernment or wisdom acquired from hearing (śrutamāyi-prajñā), leading to discernment or wisdom acquired from reflection (cintamayā-prajñā), that culminates in discernment or wisdom cultivated in meditation (bhāvanāmayī-prajñā).

In the course of the development of Mahāyāna Buddhist literature, perfections were added to the list of six to complement the ten stages or levels (bhūmi) traversed by a bodhisattva on the way to buddhahood. Four perfections—skillful means (upāya-kauśalya), resolution (praṇidhāna), power (bala), and knowledge (jñāna)—were added to establish a group of ten perfections (daśapāramitā). Skillful means (upāya-kauśalya) refers to the deft and proficient strategies or expedients that a bodhisattva utilizes to benefit sentient beings. Praṇidhāna refers to the vow or resolution that bodhisattvas make to save all living beings from saṃsāra. Bala refers to the strengths or powers of bodhisattvas to guide sentient beings in their practices. Jñāna-pāramitā is the perfection of awareness or transcendental knowledge, and is the highest wisdom of a bodhisattva correlated with the tenth stage of practice.

The perfections were incorporated into the rituals and iconography of Tantric or Vajrayāna forms of Buddhism in the forms of feminine powers and forces. The pāramitās in Vajrayāna Buddhist literature were worshipped as deities (pāramitādevī) in human form with attributes of color and ornaments, and their number was increased to twelve, by adding ratnapāramitā (“jeweled perfection”) and vajrakarmapāramitā to the list of ten found in Mahāyāna works.

Throughout the history of Buddhist forms of culture, the perfections have shaped the ideals and practices of those devoted to, or those seeking to emulate, buddhas and bodhisattvas. The manner in which the perfections were understood in different Buddhist cultures, such as in Tibet, Southeast Asia, or East Asia, was dependent on the Buddhist literature that was accessible or acceptable to the particular culture and the interpretative attention given to that literature.

Review of the Literature

Euro-North American35 scholarship related to the understanding of pāramitās in Buddhist literature began, in part, with the analysis of the components of the Tibetan canonical collection known as the Kanjur (bka’ ’gyur) in the 1830s by such scholars as H. H. Wilson and Alexander Csoma de Körös (1784–1842).36 These scholars proposed the translation of pāramitā as “transcendent virtue” based on the Tibetan pha-rol-tu phyin-pa, literally, “reaching the other shore.”

As discussed by J. W. de Jong, primary Buddhist sources in Pāli and Sanskrit only began to be studied in the 19th century.37 Eighty-eight manuscripts were received by the Société Asiatique in 1837 from Brian Houghton Hodgson (1800–1894) in Kathmandu.38 Eugène Burnouf (1801–1852), a prominent French scholar of Sanskrit, immediately began studying these manuscripts, particularly the Saddharmapuṇḍarīka. Burnouf’s French translation of the Saddharmapuṇḍarīka, published after his death in 1852, contains an extended note on the six perfections, which examines a brief excerpt on each perfection found in the Lalitavistara.39

Robert C. Childers (1838–1876) published the first Pāli dictionary in Europe in 1875 containing an entry on pārami and pāramitā.40 From this time onwards more primary sources in Pāli and Sanskrit related to the pāramitās were published. This included Viggo Fausbøll’s edition of The Jātaka,41 E. Senart’s edition of the Mahāvastu,42 and Salomon Lefmann’s critical edition of the Lalitavistara.43 Seven volumes of Jātaka, stories of the anterior lives of the historical Buddha illustrating various perfections, were translated into English and published in 1895 under the editorship of E. B. Cowell.44 F. W. Thomas emphasized in a brief note that pāramī is an old noun denoting “the highest point.”45 L. De La Vallée Poussin wrote an encyclopedia entry on bodhisattva published in 1909 that contains sections outlining the perfections.46 Har Dayal published in 1932 an analysis of pāramitās based on Buddhist Sanskrit literature that was reprinted in 2004.47 This survey, although outdated, still remains the most thorough overview on the perfections in Indian Buddhist literature. Franklin Edgerton’s dictionary on Buddhist Sanskrit published in 1953 contains entries on pārami and pāramitā that outline the use of these terms in several primary sources.48 Edward Conze edited a survey of excerpts from Buddhist texts in 1954 (reprinted in 2012) that contains a brief section on the six perfections.49 I. B. Horner published in 1957 a selection of ten Jātaka stories, with each one illustrating one of the ten perfections in Pāli based traditions.50

In 1959, Herbert Guenther published an English translation of a 12th-century Tibetan Kagyu-pa (bka’ brgyud pa) work by sGam-po-pa (1079–1153) that outlines the Mahāyāna path to awakening with a special section on the perfections.51 In 1960, Conze published The Prajñāpāramitā Literature, an indepth survey of the Perfection of Wisdom (prajñāpāramitā) literature with emphasis on Indian editions and Tibetan translations and commentaries.52 Conze published in 1962 his Buddhist Thought in India, which contains a succinct discussion on the six perfections.53 Margaret Cone and Richard Gombrich’s edition of the Prince Vessantara Jātaka illustrates the perfection of generosity in a Pāli text.54 Carol Meadows published in 1986 a Sanskrit edition, translation, and analysis of Ārya-Śūra’s Compendium of the Perfections (Pāramitāsamāsa) which contains essays outlining the perfections.55 Alex Wayman translated in 1992 a section of Tsong-kha-pa’s The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment (lam rim chen mo) containing a discussion and analysis of the six perfections.56 The perfections were outlined from a Zen Buddhist perspective by Robert Aitken57 in 1994.

A modern and normative Gelukpa (dge lugs pa) perspective on the six perfections is found in Geshe Sonam Rinchen and Ruth Sonam’s book published in 1998.58 Tadeusz Skorupski published an abridged version in English of Étienne Lamotte’s French translation of Nāgārjuna’s Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra that focuses on the exegesis of the six perfections from a classical Indian Buddhist perspective.59 Ven. Pandita M. Dhammagavesi’s text on the ten perfections provides a normative account of the ten virtues from a modern Theravāda understanding.60 Joshua Cutler and Guy Newland supervised the definitive team translation of Tsong-kha-pa blo bzang grags pa’s The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment in three volumes. The second volume contains Tsong-kha-pa’s exegesis on the six perfections.61 Three separate scholarly encyclopedia entries on the perfections were published in the mid-2000s, one by D. Saddhasena on the perfections in Pāli sources,62 an entry by Leslie Kawamura63 and another by Charles Hallisey.64 Ṭhānissaro published a study guide on the ten perfections in the Theravāda tradition.65 Volume 3 of Geshe Sopa’s commentary on Tsong-kha-pa’s Lam-rim chen-mo, published in 2008, outlines the six perfections from a contemporary Gelukpa Tibetan Buddhist orientation.66 Dale Stuart Wright published a guide to the six perfections in 2009 that offers separate chapters on each of the six perfections, describing how each perfection is understood in traditional Buddhist sources, and then provides a critical assessment of how they may or may not contribute to dimensions of contemporary human character.67 Naomi Appleton’s work on the Jātakas contains sections that analyze the perfections in Pāli Buddhist sources.68 Finally, Robert Buswell and Donald Lopez’s Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism contains an entry on pāramitā.69

Further Reading

Appleton, Naomi. Jātaka Stories in Theravāda Buddhism: Narrating the Bodhisatta Path. Farnham: Ashgate, 2010.Find this resource:

Crosby, Kate, and Andrew Skilton. The Bodhicaryāvatāra. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.Find this resource:

Cutler, Joshua W. C., and Guy Newland, eds. The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, translated by Joshua W. C. Cutler, Guy Newland, et al. 3 vols. Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion, 2002–2004.Find this resource:

Dayal, Har. The Bodhisattva Doctrine in Buddhist Sanskrit Literature. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2004.Find this resource:

Dhammapāla, Acariya, and Bhikkhu Bodhi. A Treatise on the Pāramis: From the Commentary to the Cariyāpiṭaka. Kandy, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society, 1996.Find this resource:

Eimer, Helmut. Buddhistische Begriffsreihen als Skizzen des Erlösungsweges. Vienna: Arbeitskreis für tibetische und buddhistische Studien, Universität Wien, 2006.Find this resource:

Furuyama Ken’ichi 古山健一‎. “Pāri jipparamitsu ni tsuite” パーリ十波羅蜜について‎[The Dasa-pāramī (or Dasa-pāramitā) in Pāli Buddhism]. Komazawa Daigaku Daigakuin Bukkyōgaku Kenkyūkai Kiyō 駒沢大学大学院仏教学研究会年報‎ 30: 126–104 (81–103), 1997.Find this resource:

Guenther Herbert, V., ed. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation. The Clear Light Series. Boston: Shambhala, 1986.Find this resource:

Hallisey, Charles. “Pāramitās.” In Encyclopedia of Religion. Edited by Lindsay Jones, 6993–6994. 2d ed. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2005.Find this resource:

Huntington, C. W., Namgyal Wangchen, and Candrakīrti. The Emptiness of Emptiness: An Introduction to Early Indian Mādhyamika. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1989.Find this resource:

Kawamura, Leslie S. “Pāramitā [Perfection].” In Encyclopedia of Buddhism. Edited by Robert E. Buswell, 631–632. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2004.Find this resource:

Lamotte, Étienne. Le Traité de la Grande Vertu de Sagesse (Mahāprajňāpāramitāśāstra). 5 vols. Publications de l’Institut Orientaliste de Louvain. Louvain: Bibliothèque de l’Université, 1944–1980.Find this resource:

Meadows, Carol, ed. Ārya-Śūra’s Compendium of the Perfections: Text, Translation and Analysis of the Pāramitāsamāsa. Translated by Carol Meadows. Indica Et Tibetica, 8. Bonn: Indica-et-Tibetica-Verl., 1986.Find this resource:

Pagel, Ulrich. The Bodhisattvapiṭaka: Its Doctrines, Practices and Their Position in Mahāyāna Literature. Buddhica Britannica, 5. Tring, U.K.: Institute of Buddhist Studies, 1995.Find this resource:

Shyu, Ching-mei. “A Few Good Women: A Study of the Liu du ji jing (A Scripture on the Collection of the Six Perfections) from Literary, Artistic, and Gender Perspectives.” PhD diss., Cornell University, 2008.Find this resource:

Skorupski, Tadeusz, ed. The Six Perfections: An Abridged Version of E. Lamotte’s French Translation of Nāgārjuna’s Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra, chapters XVI–XXX, Buddhica Britannica, 9. Tring: Institute of Buddhist Studies, 2002.Find this resource:

Sonam Rinchen, Geshe, and Ruth Sonam. The Six Perfections: An Oral Teaching. Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion, 1998.Find this resource:

Suzuki, Hirotaka 鈴木 広隆‎. “Haramitsu no keifu” 波羅蜜の系譜‎ [Genealogy of pāramitā] Indotetsugaku bukkyōgaku 印度哲学仏教学‎ [Hokkaido Journal of Indological and Buddhist studies] 14 (1999): 55–69.Find this resource:

Ṭhānissaro. The Ten Perfections: A Study Guide. Singapore: Palelai Buddhist Temple, 2009.Find this resource:

Wright, Dale Stuart. The Six Perfections: Buddhism and the Cultivation of Character. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.Find this resource:

Notes:

(1.) F. W. Thomas, “Pāramitā in Pali and Sanskrit Books,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (July 1904): 547–548.

(2.) Jan Nattier, A Few Good Men: The Bodhisattva Path According to the Inquiry of Ugra (Ugraparipṛcchā), Studies in the Buddhist Traditions (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2003), 153 n. 35.

(4.) Charles Hallisey, “Pāramitās,” in Encyclopedia of Religion, ed. Lindsay Jones, 6993, 2d ed. (Detroit, Macmillan Reference USA, 2005).

(5.) Reiko Ohnuma, Head, Eyes, Flesh, and Blood: Giving Away the Body in Indian Buddhist Literature (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007), 36–37.

(6.) Naomi Appleton, Jātaka Stories in Theravāda Buddhism: Narrating the Bodhisatta Path (Farnham: Ashgate, 2010), 101–102; and Peter Skilling, “Vaidalya, Mahāyāna, and Bodhisatva in India: An Essay towards Historical Understanding,” in The Bodhisattva Ideal: Essays on the Emergence of Mahāyāna, ed. Bhikkhu Nyanatusita himi, 115 (Kandy, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society 2013).

(7.) Daniel Boucher, Bodhisattvas of the Forest and the Formation of the Mahāyāna: A Study and Translation of the Rāṣṭrapālaparipr̥cchā-sūtra (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2008), 184 n. 25.

(8.) Nattier, A Few Good Men, 153 n. 36.

(9.) Ulrich Pagel, The Bodhisattvapiṭaka: Its Doctrines, Practices and Their Position in Mahāyāna Literature, Buddhica Britannica, 5 (Tring, U.K.: Institute of Buddhist Studies, 1995), 107–109.

(10.) Nattier, A Few Good Men, trans. 244, §11G(2)–(4).

(11.) English translation from Salomon Lefmann, Lalita Vistara: Leben und Lehre des Çâkya-Buddha (Halle a.S.: Buchhandlung des Waisenhauses, 1902), 34.20–35.7.

(12.) The following chapter and section numbers follow Lamotte’s French translation and the edition of Study Group on Buddhist Sanskrit Literature. See Étienne Lamotte, Le Traité de la Grande Vertu de Sagesse (Mahāprajňāpāramitāśāstra), 5 vols. Publications de l’Institut Orientaliste de Louvain (Louvain: Bibliothèque de l’Université, 1944–1980), rendered into English by Sara Boin, The Teaching of Vimalakīrti (Vimalakīrtinirdeśa): From the French Translation with Introduction and Notes (L’enseignement de Vimalarkirti) (Oxford: Pali Text Society, 1994); and Taishō Daigaku, Bon-Zō-Kan taishō “Yuimakyō” “Chikōmyō shōgongyō”/Vimalakīrtinirdeśa and Jñānālokālaṃkāra: Transliterated Sanskrit text Collated with Tibetan and Chinese Translations, ed. Study Group on Buddhist Sanskrit Literature (Tōkyō: Taishō Daigaku Shuppankai, 2004).

(13.) Edward Conze, The Perfection of Wisdom in Eight Thousand Lines & Its Verse Summary, Wheel Series, 1 (Bolinas: Four Seasons Foundation; distributed by Book People, Berkeley, CA, 1973), 111–112.

(14.) Ibid., p. 136.

(15.) Carol Meadows, ed., Ārya-Śūra’s Compendium of the Perfections: Text, Translation and Analysis of the Pāramitāsamāsa, trans. Carol Meadows, 53–64, Indica Et Tibetica, 8 (Bonn: Indica-et-Tibetica-Verl., 1986).

(16.) Lamotte, Le Traité de la Grande Vertu de Sagesse (Mahāprajňāpāramitāśāstra).

(17.) Meadows, Ārya-Śūra’s Compendium of the Perfections, pp. 54–54.

(18.) Ibid., p. 70.

(19.) Nalinaksha Dutt, The Pañcaviṁśatisāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā (London: Luzac, 1934), 264; see also Meadows, Ārya-Śūra’s Compendium of the Perfections, p. 58.

(20.) Edward Conze, The Large Sutra on Perfect Wisdom: With the Divisions of the Abhisamayālaṅkāra (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975), 199.

(21.) Kate Crosby and Andrew Skilton, The Bodhicaryāvatāra (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), 34.

(22.) Meadows, Ārya-Śūra’s Compendium of the Perfections, p. 80.

(23.) Nattier, A Few Good Men, pp. 107–111.

(24.) Mark Tatz, Asaṅga, and Tsong-kha-pa Blo-bzang-grags-pa, Asanga’s Chapter on Ethics with the Commentary of Tsong-Kha-Pa, The Basic Path to Awakening, the Complete Bodhisattva, vol. 4., Studies in Asian Thought and Religion (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen, 1986).

(25.) Meadows, Ārya-Śūra’s Compendium of the Perfections, p. 86.

(26.) Crosby and Skilton, The Bodhicaryāvatāra, pp. 51–61.

(27.) P. L Vaidya, Śikṣasamuccaya of Śantideva (Darbhanga: Mithila Institute of Post-Graduate Studies and Research in Sanskrit Learning, 1961), 100.

(28.) Meadows, Ārya-Śūra’s Compendium of the Perfections, pp. 93–94.

(29.) Pagel, The Bodhisattvapiṭaka, pp. 208–209.

(30.) Unrai Ogiwara and Asaṅga, Bodhisattvabhūmi: A Statement of Whole Course of the Bodhisattva (Being Fifteenth Section of Yogācārabhūmi) (Tokyo: Sankibo Buddhist Book Store, 1971), 206–207.

(31.) Crosby and Skilton, The Bodhicaryāvatāra, p. 75.

(32.) Jens Braarvig, Akṣayamatinirdeśasūtra (Oslo: Solum, 1993), 183.

(33.) Pagel, The Bodhisattvapiṭaka, p. 217.

(34.) Meadows, Ārya-Śūra’s Compendium of the Perfections, pp. 99–100.

(35.) The following brief historiography focuses on major works related to the perfections published in Europe and North America. For a brief survey of related sources in modern Japanese literature, see James B. Apple, “Perfections (Six and Ten)-Buddhism,” Oxford Bibliographies.

(36.) H. H. Wilson, “Analysis of the Kah-gyur.” Journal of The Asiatic Society 9 (September 1832): 375–392; and Alexander Csoma de Körös, “Analysis of the Sher-chin–P’hal ch’hen–Dkon-séks–Do-dé–Nyáng-dás–and Gyut; Being the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th Divisions of the Tibetan work, Entitled the Kah-gyur,” Asiastic Researches 20.2 (1839): 393–552.

(37.) J. W. de Jong, A Brief History of Buddhist Studies in Europe and America (Varanasi: Bharat-Bharati, 1976), 13.

(38.) Ibid., p. 19.

(39.) Eugène Burnouf, Le lotus de la bonne loi, traduit du sanscrit, accompagné d’un commentaire et de vingt et un mémoires relatifs au bouddhisme (Paris: Imprimerie nationale, 1852); no. VII, sur les six perfections, Vol. 2, 544–553.

(40.) Robert Cæsar Childers, A Dictionary of the Pāli Language (London: Trübner, 1875), 334–335.

(41.) Viggo Fausbøll, ed., The Jātaka Together with Its Commentary Being Tales of the Anterior Births of Gotama Buddhism, 6 vols. (London: Trübner, 1877–1896).

(42.) E. Senart, Le Mahâvastu; texte sanscrit publié pour la première fois et accompagné d’introductions et d’un commentaire par É. Senart (Paris: Imprimé par autorisation du garde des sceaux à l’Imprimerie nationale, 1882).

(43.) Salomon Lefmann, Lalita Vistara: Leben und Lehre des Çâkya-Buddha (Halle a.S.: Buchhandlung des Waisenhauses, 1902).

(44.) Edward B. Cowell, Robert Chalmers, W. H. D. Rouse, H. T. Francis, Robert Alexander Neil, and Charles Lang Freer, The Jātaka; or, Stories of the Buddha’s Former Births, trans. Edward B. Cowell (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1895).

(45.) F. W. Thomas, “Pāramitā in Pali and Sanskrit Books,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (July 1904): 547–548.

(46.) L. De La Vallée Poussin, “bodhisattva,” in Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics, ed. James Hastings, Vol. 2 (New York: T. & T. Clark, 1909), 739–753.

(47.) Har Dayal, The Bodhisattva Doctrine in Buddhist Sanskrit Literature (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1932).

(48.) Franklin Edgerton, Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Grammar and Dictionary (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1953), 341–342.

(49.) Edward Conze, Buddhist Texts Through the Ages: Newly Translated from the Original Pali, Sanskrit, Chinese, Tibetan, Japanese and Apabhramsa (New York: Philosophical Library, 1954), 135–139.

(50.) I. B. Horner, Ten Jātaka Stories, Each Illustrating One of the Ten Pāramitā with Pali Text (London: Luzac, 1957).

(51.) Herbert V. Guenther, ed., The Jewel Ornament of Liberation, trans. Herbert V. Guenther (London: Rider, 1959).

(52.) Edward Conze, The Prajñāpāramitā Literature (‘s-Gravenhage: Mouton, 1960). 2d ed. revised and enlarged. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 2000.

(53.) Edward Conze, Buddhist Thought in India (London: Allen & Unwin, 1962), 211–217.

(54.) Margaret Cone and Richard F. Gombrich, The Perfect Generosity of Prince Vessantara: A Buddhist Epic (Oxford: Clarendon, 1977).

(55.) Carol Meadows, Ārya-Śūra’s Compendium of the Perfections.

(56.) Alex Wayman, Ethics of Tibet: Bodhisattva Section of Tsong-Kha-Pa’s Lam Rim Chen Mo, translated from the Tibetan original (Delhi: Sri Satguru, 1992).

(57.) Robert Aitken, The Practice of Perfection: The Pāramitās from a Zen Buddhist Perspective (New York: Pantheon Books, 1994).

(58.) Geshe Sonam Rinchen and Ruth Sonam, The Six Perfections: An Oral Teaching (Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion, 1998).

(59.) Tadeusz Skorupski, The Six Perfections: An Abridged Version of E. Lamotte’s French Translation of Nāgārjuna’s Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra, chapters XVI–XXX, Buddhica Britannica, 9 (Tring: Institute of Buddhist Studies, 2002).

(60.) Ven. Pandita M. Dhammagavesi, Ten Perfections: The Ten Virtues for Those Who Seek Enlightenment (Schofield, N.S.W.: Lankarama Vihara, 2002).

(61.) Joshua W. C. Cutler and Guy Newland, eds., The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, trans. Joshua W. C. Cutler, Guy Newland, et al., 3 vols. (Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion, 2002–2004).

(62.) D. Saddhasena, “Pāramitā,” in Encyclopaedia of Buddhism, ed. W. G. Weeraratne, Vol. 7, fascicle 1, 312–314 (Mind-Nyāyapravesa). (Kandy: Government of Sri Lanka, 2003).

(63.) Leslie S. Kawamura, “Pāramitā [Perfection],” in Encyclopedia of Buddhism, ed. Robert E. Buswell, 631–632 (New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2004).

(64.) Charles Hallisey, “Pāramitās,” in Encyclopedia of Religion, ed. Lindsay Jones, 2d ed., 6993–6994 (Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2005).

(65.) Ṭhānissaro, The Ten Perfections: A Study Guide (Singapore: Palelai Buddhist Temple, 2009).

(66.) Geshe Lhundub Sopa, Dalai Lama, and Beth Newman, Steps on the Path to Enlightenment, A Commentary on Tsongkhapa’s Lamrim chenmo, Vol. 3, The Way of the Bodhisattva (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2008).

(67.) Dale Stuart Wright, The Six Perfections: Buddhism and the Cultivation of Character (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2009).

(68.) Naomi Appleton, Jātaka Stories in Theravāda Buddhism: Narrating the Bodhisatta Path (Farnham: Ashgate, 2010).

(69.) Robert E. Buswell and Donald S. Lopez, The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014), 624.