The Six Paramitas (Perfections)

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The Six Paramitas (Perfections)

Postby phantom59 » Wed Oct 21, 2009 3:17 pm

The Sanskrit word paramita means to cross over to the other shore. Paramita may also be translated as perfection, perfect realization, or reaching beyond limitation. Through the practice of these six paramitas, we cross over the sea of suffering (samsara) to the shore of happiness and awakening (Nirvana); we cross over from ignorance and delusion to enlightenment. Each of the six paramitas is an enlightened quality of the heart, a glorious virtue or attribute—the innate seed of perfect realization within us. The paramitas are the very essence of our true nature. However, since these enlightened qualities of the heart have become obscured by delusion, selfishness, and other karmic tendencies, we must develop these potential qualities and bring them into expression. In this way, the six paramitas are an inner cultivation, a daily practice for wise, compassionate, loving, and enlightened living. The paramitas are the six kinds of virtuous practice required for skillfully serving the welfare of others and for the attainment of enlightenment. We must understand that bringing these virtuous qualities of our true nature into expression requires discipline, practice, and sincere cultivation. This is the path of the Bodhisattva—one who is dedicated to serving the highest welfare of all living beings with the awakened heart of unconditional love, skillful wisdom, and all-embracing compassion.

1) The Perfection of Generosity (Dana Paramita)

This paramita is the enlightened quality of generosity, charity, giving, and offering. The essence of this paramita is unconditional love, a boundless openness of heart and mind, a selfless generosity and giving which is completely free from attachment and expectation. From the very depths of our heart, we practice generously offering our love, compassion, time, energy, and resources to serve the highest welfare of all beings. Giving is one of the essential preliminary steps of our practice. Our giving should always be unconditional and selfless; completely free of any selfish desire for gratitude, recognition, advantage, reputation, or any worldly reward. The perfection of generosity is not accomplished simply by the action of giving, nor by the actual gift itself. Rather, the true essence of this paramita is our pure motivation of genuine concern for others—the truly generous motivation of the awakened heart of compassion, wisdom, and love. In addition, our practice of giving should be free of discrimination regarding who is worthy and who is unworthy to receive. To cultivate the paramita of generosity, it is wise to contemplate the enormous benefits of this practice, the disadvantages of being miserly, as well as the obvious fact that our body and our wealth are impermanent. With this in mind, we will certainly be encouraged to use both our body and wealth to practice generosity while we still have them. Generosity is a cure for the afflictions of greed, miserliness, and possessiveness. In this practice of giving, we may offer our time, energy, money, food, clothing, or gifts so as to assist others. To the best of our ability, we may offer the priceless treasure of Dharma instruction, giving explanations on the Buddha's teachings. This offering serves to free others from misperceptions that cause confusion, pain, and suffering. We can offer fearless giving and protection by delivering living beings (insects, animals, and people) from harm, distress, fear, and terror. In this way, we offer care and comfort, helping others to feel safe and peaceful. We do this selflessly, without counting the cost to ourselves. We practice the perfection of generosity in an especially powerful way when we embrace all living beings continually in the radiant love of our heart.

2) The Perfection of Ethics (Sila Paramita)

This paramita is the enlightened quality of virtuous and ethical behavior, morality, self-discipline, impeccability, personal integrity, honor, and harmlessness. The essence of this paramita is that through our love and compassion we do not harm others; we are virtuous and harmless in our thoughts, speech, and actions. This practice of ethical conduct is the very foundation for progressing in any practice of meditation and for attaining all higher realizations on the path. Our practice of generosity must always be supported by our practice of ethics; this ensures the lasting results of our generosity. We should perfect our conduct by eliminating harmful behavior and following the Bodhisattva precepts. We abstain from killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, divisive speech, harsh speech, gossip, greed, malice, and wrong views. Following these precepts or guidelines is not meant to be a burden or a restriction of our freedom. We follow these precepts so we can enjoy greater freedom, happiness, and security in our lives, because through our virtuous behavior we are no longer creating suffering for ourselves and others. We must realize that unethical behavior is always the cause of suffering and unhappiness. If we give even the slightest consideration to the advantages of cultivating ethical behavior and the disadvantages of unethical behavior, we will certainly develop great enthusiasm for this practice of ethics. Practicing the perfection of ethics, we are free of negativity, we cause no harm to others by our actions, our speech is kind and compassionate, and our thoughts are free of anger, malice, and wrong views. When our commitment is strong in the practice of ethics we are at ease, naturally confident, without stress, and happy because we are not carrying any underlying sense of guilt or remorse for our actions; we have nothing to hide. Maintaining our personal honor and integrity, our moral impeccability, this is the cause of all goodness, happiness, and even the attainment of enlightenment.

3) The Perfection of Patience (Kshanti Paramita)

This paramita is the enlightened quality of patience, tolerance, forbearance, and acceptance. The essence of this paramita of patience is the strength of mind and heart that enables us to face the challenges and difficulties of life without losing our composure and inner tranquility. We embrace and forbear adversity, insult, distress, and the wrongs of others with patience and tolerance, free of resentment, irritation, emotional reactivity, or retaliation. We cultivate the ability to be loving and compassionate in the face of criticism, misunderstanding, or aggression. With this enlightened quality of patience, we are neither elated by praise, prosperity, or agreeable circumstances, nor are we angry, unhappy or depressed when faced with insult, challenge, hardship, or poverty. This enlightened attribute of patience, acceptance, and tolerance is not a forced suppression or denial of our thoughts and feelings. Rather, it is a quality of being which comes from having our heart open and our mind deeply concentrated upon the Dharma. In this way, we have a clear and correct understanding of impermanence, of cause and effect (karma), and with strong determination and patience we remain in harmony with this understanding for the benefit of all beings. The ability to endure, to have forbearance, is integral to our Dharma practice. Without this kind of patience we cannot accomplish anything. A true Bodhisattva practices patience in such a way that even when we are hurt physically, emotionally, or mentally by others, we are not irritated or resentful. We always make an effort to see the goodness and beauty in others. In practicing this perfection of patience and forbearance, we never give up on or abandon others—we help them cross over the sea of suffering. We maintain our inner peace, calmness, and equanimity under all circumstances, having enduring patience and tolerance for ourselves and others. With the strength of patience, we maintain our effort and enthusiasm in our Dharma practice. Therefore, our practice of patience assists us in developing the next paramita of joyous effort and enthusiastic perseverance.

4) The Perfection of Joyous Effort / Enthusiastic Perseverance (Virya Paramita)

This paramita is the enlightened quality of energy, vigor, vitality, endurance, diligence, enthusiasm, continuous and persistent effort. In order to practice the first three paramitas of generosity, virtuous conduct, and patience in the face of difficulties, we need this paramita of joyous effort and perseverance. Joyous effort makes the previous paramitas increase and become even more powerful influences in our life. The essence of this paramita of joyous effort is the courage, energy, and endurance to continuously practice the Dharma and pursue the supreme goal of enlightenment for the highest good of all beings. From a feeling of deep compassion for the suffering of all sentient beings, we are urged to unfailing, persistent, and joyous effort. We use our body, speech, and mind to work ceaselessly and untiringly for the benefit of others, with no expectations for personal recognition or reward. We are always ready to serve others to the best of our ability. With joyous effort, devoted energy, and the power of sustained application, we practice the Dharma without getting sidetracked by anything or falling under the influence of laziness. Without developing Virya Paramita, we can become easily disillusioned and drop our practice when we meet with adverse conditions. The word virya means persistence and perseverance in the face of disillusionment, energetically striving to attain the supreme goal of enlightenment. When we cultivate this type of diligence and perseverance we have a strong and healthy mind. We practice with persistent effort and enthusiasm because we realize the tremendous value and benefit of our Dharma practice. Firmly establishing ourselves in this paramita, we also develop self-reliance, and this becomes one of our most prominent characteristics. With joyous effort and enthusiastic perseverance, we regard failure as simply another step toward success, danger as an inspiration for courage, and affliction as another opportunity to practice wisdom and compassion. To develop strength of character, self-reliance, and the next paramita of concentration, is not an easy achievement, thus we need enthusiastic perseverance on the path.

5) The Perfection of Concentration (Dhyana Paramita)

This paramita is the enlightened quality of concentration, meditation, contemplation, samadhi, mindfulness, mental stability. Our minds have the tendency to be very distracted and restless, always moving from one thought or feeling to another. Because of this, our awareness stays fixated in the ego, in the surface layers of the mind and emotions, and we just keep engaging in the same habitual patterns of behavior. The perfection of concentration means training our mind so that it does what we want it to. We stabilize our mind and emotions by practicing meditation, by being mindful and aware in everything we do. When we train the mind in this way, physical, emotional, and mental vacillations and restlessness are eliminated. We achieve focus, composure, and tranquility. This ability to concentrate and focus the mind brings clarity, equanimity, illumination. Concentration allows the deep insight needed to transform the habitual misperceptions and attachments that cause confusion and suffering. As we eliminate these misperceptions and attachments, we can directly experience the joy, compassion, and wisdom of our true nature. There is no attainment of wisdom and enlightenment without developing the mind through concentration and meditation. This development of concentration and one-pointedness requires perseverance. Thus the previous paramita of joyous effort and perseverance brings us to this paramita of concentration. In addition, when there is no practice of meditation and concentration, we cannot achieve the other paramitas, because their essence, which is the inner awareness that comes from meditation, is lacking. To attain wisdom, compassion, and enlightenment, it is essential that we develop the mind through concentration, meditation, and mindfulness.

6) The Perfection of Wisdom (Prajna Paramita)

This paramita is the enlightened quality of transcendental wisdom, insight, and the perfection of understanding. The essence of this paramita is the supreme wisdom, the highest understanding that living beings can attain—beyond words and completely free from the limitation of mere ideas, concepts, or intellectual knowledge. Beyond the limited confines of intellectual and conceptual states of mind, we experience the awakened heart-mind of wisdom and compassion—prajna paramita. Prajna paramita is the supreme wisdom (prajna) that knows emptiness and the interconnectedness of all things. This flawless wisdom eliminates all false and distorted views of the absolute. We see the essential nature of reality with utmost clarity; our perception goes beyond the illusive and deceptive veils of material existence. With the perfection of wisdom, we develop the ability to recognize the truth behind the temporary display of all appearances. Prajna paramita is a result of contemplation, meditation, and rightly understanding the nature of reality. Ultimately, the full realization of prajna paramita is that we are not simply a separate self trying to do good. Rather, virtuously serving the welfare of all beings is simply a natural expression of the awakened heart. We realize that the one serving, the one being served, and the compassionate action of service, are all the same totality—there is no separate ego or self to be found in any of these. With this supreme wisdom, we go beyond acceptance and rejection, hope and fear, dualistic thoughts, and ego-clinging. We completely dissolve all these notions, realizing everything as a transparent display of the primordial truth. If our ego is attached even to the disciplines of these paramitas, this is incorrect perception and we are merely going from one extreme to another. In order to free ourselves from these extremes, we must release our ego attachment and dissolve all dualistic concepts with the insight of supreme wisdom. This wisdom transforms the other five paramitas into their transcendental state as well. Only the illumination of supreme wisdom makes this possible.
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Re: The Six Paramitas (Perfections)

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Wed Oct 21, 2009 9:13 pm

Why is compassion not itself considered a perfection?
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Re: The Six Paramitas (Perfections)

Postby hungryghost » Wed Oct 28, 2009 5:22 am

I'll take a stab at the question. Compassion IMHO is a by-product of practicing the Bodhisattva path. That is, if your self consciously practicing compassion, it isnt pure compassion. I guess you could say that of any of these perfections. But what then? What would we do? This is all from my own viewpoint of course, as an american zen practicioner. Anyway, my knowledge and wisdom are deficient, but I thought I would throw this into the arena.

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Re: The Six Paramitas (Perfections)

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Oct 28, 2009 5:32 am

Perhaps compassion (karuna) is also intertwined with the dana (generosity) paramita. I suppose real generosity could not happen without compassion.
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Re: The Six Paramitas (Perfections)

Postby Dana » Wed Nov 04, 2009 6:49 pm

Every teaching I have ever had by any lama always started with an introductory note on Bodhichitta . Sometimes this intro would be of great length, the higher the teacher, the longer this topic would be used as an intro to the teaching. Bodhicitta and dedication of merit.
All in Mahayana that i have seen starts this way, with the cultivation of compassion as a preliminary and often the first one.
So, perhaps it is the same with the paramitas - it is implied as a basic premise?
And develops further as we practice the paramitas (there are 10?)

To practice patience, one needs compassion to begin.
Generosity and even ethics perhaps; why would one wish to be ethical?
Would not prajna paramita be entirely compassionate?

Dunno either,
just thought I'd chime in.

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Re: The Six Paramitas (Perfections)

Postby Luke » Thu Nov 05, 2009 6:29 pm

According to my lama, one must gain considerable ability in the first five paramitas before one is capable of truly practicing the sixth paramita (wisdom).
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Re: The Six Paramitas (Perfections)

Postby malalu » Thu Nov 05, 2009 10:51 pm

Yes, absolutely Luke. In studying Tsongkhapa and Lam Rim, this is agreed.

I also think that in order for one to generate a good deal of actual (or natural, or non-contrived?) bodhicitta (and compassion), then one must gain at least a certain degree of wisdom in order to see the emptiness and selfless nature of all phenomena. Up until that point, it may be strong bodhicitta but still aspiring bodhicitta all the same. Until then there is usually some degree of clinging present.

I know the subject matter was more to do with compassion, but I thought I'd approach it from the basis of bodhicitta.
Just thinking out loud...
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The past is but a present memory or condition, the future but a present projection, and the present itself vanishes before it can be grasped.- Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
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Re: The Six Paramitas (Perfections)

Postby ground » Mon Nov 23, 2009 2:34 pm

Luke wrote:According to my lama, one must gain considerable ability in the first five paramitas before one is capable of truly practicing the sixth paramita (wisdom).

malalu wrote:Yes, absolutely Luke. In studying Tsongkhapa and Lam Rim, this is agreed.


Dear all

But that does not mean that one has to pracitice wisdom after method, right? Because method and wisdom have to be practiced in parallel ... at least according to Lam Rim.

Kind regards
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Re: The Six Paramitas (Perfections)

Postby KeithBC » Mon Nov 23, 2009 6:31 pm

TMingyur wrote:But that does not mean that one has to pracitice wisdom after method, right? Because method and wisdom have to be practiced in parallel ... at least according to Lam Rim.

Well, one would not stop practicing the first five paramitas when starting to practice the sixth, so, yes, at that point one would be practicing them in parallel.

Om mani padme hum
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Re: The Six Paramitas (Perfections)

Postby ground » Mon Nov 23, 2009 7:59 pm

KeithBC wrote:
TMingyur wrote:But that does not mean that one has to pracitice wisdom after method, right? Because method and wisdom have to be practiced in parallel ... at least according to Lam Rim.

Well, one would not stop practicing the first five paramitas when starting to practice the sixth, so, yes, at that point one would be practicing them in parallel.

Om mani padme hum
Keith


But one would be practicing wisdom in parallel to starting with paramita 1-5, too. So the practice of wisdom should be accompanying paramita 1-5, right?

Kind regards
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Re: The Six Paramitas (Perfections)

Postby ground » Sat Nov 28, 2009 3:38 pm

Extracts from Lam Rim Chenmo

"With the knowledge of wisdom you completely eliminate all afflictions. With knowledge of method you include all living beings" (Sky Treasure sutra)

"After you put on armor of love and station yourself in a state of great compassion, you stabilize your mind in meditation on an actual emptiness that has the supremacy of being associated with all aspects. What is an emptiness that has the supremacy of being associated with all aspects? It is one that is not divorced from generosity, that is not divorced from ethical discipline, that is not divorced from patience, that is not divorced from joyous perseverance, that is not divorced from stabilization, that is not divorced from wisdom, that is not divorced from method." (Questions of Crest Jewel Sutra)


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Re: The Six Paramitas (Perfections)

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Thu Jan 07, 2010 7:59 pm

TMingyur,

Although I haven't been specifically instructed this way by a teacher, even someone who focuses entirely on the paramitas, it seems very logical that the perfections would be practiced in tandem. Practicing the paramitas could be work for a lifetime!

So I agree with your conclusion entirely.

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Re: The Six Paramitas (Perfections)

Postby Luke » Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:30 pm

TMingyur wrote:"After you put on armor of love and station yourself in a state of great compassion, you stabilize your mind in meditation on an actual emptiness that has the supremacy of being associated with all aspects.


The part I highlighted seems to imply these are the preparations needed to realize wisdom. It takes a while to develop compassion which could be called "great" and to develop love which is as strong as armor. Although Tsongkhapa had practiced to the point where this was as natural as breathing to him, I'm sure.

While it's true that emptiness (wisdom) interpenetrates the other five--and, after all, permeates everything--, I don't think that most people are able to realize this without first developing some ability with the preceeding five. Many people probably practice all six to varying degrees, but I think the question is one of emphasis: Which ones should they spend the most time practicing, giving their current level?

I think it takes a while to understand Buddhist teachings on emptiness and to realize them through vipasyana or completion stage meditations. I certainly haven't done this yet.
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Re: The Six Paramitas (Perfections)

Postby ronnewmexico » Thu Jan 07, 2010 10:37 pm

To add a little bit abeit from a personal perspective(that of a layperson with limited understanding)...

To Quote the definition index from the Tibetan Book of the Dead,
on the six perfections, a partial quote on a specific point..
" As an aspiration, the word paramita is used to denote a means to perfection; but when describing; the perfect result, at the attainment of buddhahood, it means 'transcendent perfection', in accord with its literal meaning, 'gone beyond'.

To my personal view (as I would interpret the initial statement at the start of the thread) this is not things or qualities which ultimately considered must be added onto our selves or aspects of our awarenesses but inherant to them when they present. AS a means we must employ them to attain realization of things but as a result they are not result as product but result as uncovered or found to be present.

To reinforce this point.. a quote from T T Namgyal..
"The spirit of enlightenment (bodhicitta) is defined as the union of compassion and emptiness, which is the quintessence of the path, the luster of unceasing compassion that cannot bear the suffering of sentient beings, and the nondual awareness that cognizes the compassion as being empty of any essence or self-nature. This is the essence of Mahayana Buddhism.

The Hevajra-tantra comments:
The union of emptiness and compassion
Is described as the spirit of enlightenment.

The Vajrapanjara explains:
The meditation on the union
Of emptiness and compassion.
Is indeed the teaching
Of the buddha dharma and sangha

The Samputa says:
The nondiscriminatory simplicity(of mind)
Is described as wisdom:
That which fulfills the wishes of sentient beings,
The way a wish-granting gem does, as compassion." (end quote).

To quote Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche...
in explaining deity yoga....
" The basis out of which development of a deity takes place is primordial purity. From this unfolds the manifest aspect, the spontaneous presence. This spontaneous presence is sometimes called magical compassion, as the luminous cognizance is identical with the compassion."

So to my personal view compassion is inherant to awareness.
This is not to state awareness (nor compassion hence) are inherantly existant. They are not. But when they present they always present(in primordial or fundamental form) together and equal in presence.

So the means becomes the product as referenced in the first quote from the book of the dead. Luminous cognizance being identical with compassion as Urgyen Rinpoche states, (Dieties don'r reflect aspects that are not our aspects but only in more pure form).

So compassion is inevitable ultimately by my take.Till we realize that we work at it.

The fully knowing of any thing and the wanting to know implying always....compassion(sans self concept or perhaps conceptual focus). Compassionate intent(to my view). Ultimately awareness is wanting to know and understand. Hence the interconnectedness. To attain full enlightenment we must be compassionately motivated. Attaining full enlightenment is (by my take) understanding all things as they are. The understanding is understanding that understanding is compassion. Hence the fundamental connectiveness with attaining enlightenment and compassion. ONe cannot happen without another. Other things perhaps point in this direction as well such as our human physiology being only productive of happy states when we are productive of compassion and usually compassionate effect.

JUst my personal view of a uneducated layperson so feel free to take it with a grain of salt, but it may explain some of that stated above. If that particular view is shared or found substantial.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: The Six Paramitas (Perfections)

Postby Luke » Fri Jan 08, 2010 2:46 pm

Hi Ron,

Those are some great quotes that you dug up.

ronnewmexico wrote:To my personal view (as I would interpret the initial statement at the start of the thread) this is not things or qualities which ultimately considered must be added onto our selves or aspects of our awarenesses but inherant to them when they present. AS a means we must employ them to attain realization of things but as a result they are not result as product but result as uncovered or found to be present.

I agree that great compassion, love, and wisdom are all inherent in the true nature of our minds, although we can't access their full potential until we've uncovered them. I suppose all the paramitas could be inherent in the true nature of our minds, but I haven't read or heard this exact statement anywhere before, so I won't declare it as truth quite yet.

ronnewmexico wrote:So to my personal view compassion is inherant to awareness.

Hmmm. I think this depends on what you mean by "awareness." Compassion is certainly inherent to the deepest nature of our minds, and therefore is ultimately lurking beneath all our mental processes, but I think that we can only access this great compassion during certain types of awareness. There are so many different types of awareness and states of consciousness.

Although I admit that I'm rambling here a bit too because I haven't read any hardcore Tibetan Abhidharma text which elaborates all the various states of mind and their natures.
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Re: The Six Paramitas (Perfections)

Postby ronnewmexico » Fri Jan 08, 2010 8:27 pm

Hi Luke

"Hmmm. I think this depends on what you mean by "awareness." Compassion is certainly inherent to the deepest nature of our minds, and therefore is ultimately lurking beneath all our mental processes, but I think that we can only access this great compassion during certain types of awareness. There are so many different types of awareness and states of consciousness."

Regarding that and my point; to venture exactly the mechanism of compassion and to furthur a guess as to how it works in that context is not perhaps exactly my intent.

The context I would reference in this specific is as the nature of awareness itself. If one removes self and other concept, inherant existant subtle belief, removes all those things, awareness does not subside or cease to exist. That is fact.

Now then what exactly is awareness if it operates not in relation to better protecting or furthuring a self, is it just a random process.....well it seems not.

Awareness left to itself(again not to state it is inherantly existant) is essentially how we would define compassion. If we really truly understand anything we it seems can feel only what could be most closely called compassion for it. This is most evident in our relationship with other beings. That is my basic premesis.
or
Is not the wanting to know of and about a object whatever object that arrives or interacts with us not in wanting to know and understand a act of compassion?

The reasoning:
If we know that whatever does arrive to us is actually part of us as we are exchanging with it to perceive it, and we also know that what we are seeing and knowing of it is actually ourselves only in relationship to it......how could we presuppose we could act or not have compassion for what is us?

It cannot be....in a very fundamental sense we want to know to understand as in the absence of conceptual formation and self to know and understand is to know and understand the perceiver.

So we as measurer(the holder of aware mechanism) are measuring only our relationship to other, and not really other. Hence what we do with awareness closely resembles compassion. As in why do we want to know ourselves.....it is to become happy to produce happy states. Why do we want to know other.....other ultimately being us(to the extent we can perceive it).....to become happy or produce happy states. So even in this form the act of awareness is a act of compassion.

See if we remove other and self as being inherantly existant and we apply what we already know, that what we perceive is not other but our relationship our exchange of energy(energy which is not other but as we are) we are understanding ourselves when we perceive object as other.

So all understanding all awareness is then imbibed with compassion. We cannot be noncompassionate to what is us. All is us(that we perceive through our awareness). So awareness becomes or is a compassionate act. The knowing is the product, the awareness is the mechanism of compassion. We are aware of and understanding us not other. Our relationship to what we perceive as other but is really through exchange(emptiness quality)us. We are aware of and understanding our relationship only and this is the most our awarenesses can ever do, understand relatiohships to other objects not the objects themselves and only to the extent we can exchange with those objects. Those are the limitations of our awarenesses. This exchange is not other but us. We measure only, that is awareness.
The yardstick of measurement is our ability to exchange energy. But what we exchange is not foreign to us but what we already contain, though in differing measurable quantity.

A difficult concept perhaps...but we are measuring a container made of light containing light with light as measure, when we preceive any complex or simple object. Degrees and variance of the spectrums as opposed to our spectrums, which we know through differing aspects of our measuring tool (which is awareness).

Hence awareness becomes compassion. That is the view of this layperson with little understanding and no accomplishment.

To want to know to be aware essentially becomes that which we call compassion. It most closely resembles what we define as compassion considered in a ultimate(not conventional) sense.

As a aside.... the mechanism of awareness its componant parts, discrimination evenness and all the rest (which reflect the Buddha nature the five essential Buddhas) are how we know a object thing or being. WE misconstrue these awareness and turn them into the eight consciousnesses, through our ignorance. My intent is not to fit compassion into the five awarenesses or perhaps into the eight consciousnesses(through application) but to state awareness itself, the entire thing in the context of appearences are mind and nothing is inherantly existant all is empty; awareness itself, is equal to what we define as a compassionate act.

It cannot be otherwise is my contention. This light, which is as we are, cannot be darkness to what is also light. We attempt to solidify the light and then bring into being notions of solidness, and darkness, and right and wrong and all the rest, but they are but notions. Self created notions we propogate through self concept generation consequential cause and effect of self which is karma and all the rest.

REmove all that and awareness becomes becoming aware of us not other and compassion is then implicit to the action of being aware.

So that is what I mean.

This is in no manner referencing compassion as a emotion or a emotional response to things or as defined in a conventional sense.
WE apply compassion as a salve and remedy which it certainly serves well and assists self to obtain happiness and happy states as well. Till we find it is as we are that is. Then no application is necessary it is as things are, and happiness and sadness become exactly equal.

To my view not to state I have accomplished in the slightest manner any of these things. And this may very well be a personal view....I don't know. Seems not, but I have not heard it explained this way. So maybe it is not Buddhist....I don't know or particularly care. It seems as things are and cannot be otherwise. Noninherant existance, compassion necessary for happiness, appearence as mind those are all Buddhist certainly. So that is my "disclaimer". This is the essential part or point/premesis.....personal view or opinion.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: The Six Paramitas (Perfections)

Postby anjali » Thu Feb 20, 2014 8:33 pm

I'd like to bump up this really old thread. I was going through some old notes and came across the following interesting take on the six paramitas, particularly the first paramita: generosity (dana). I was wondering if anyone else has any interesting, different or inspiring discussions of the paramitas you might like to share.

This particular discussion comes from Treatise On Entering The Tao of Sudden Enlightenment, a work by the 8th century Chan master, Ta-Chu Hui-Hai. A translation of the work can be found online here, which is where this excerpt on the paramitas is found. I have bulleted the six paramitas for easier readability; the bullet points were not in the translated text.

Q: You said earlier that wisdom is the function of the Way of Sudden Enlightenment, but what is wisdom?
A: If you understand that the nature of non-duality is voidness, then you are liberated. However, if you understand that the nature of duality is not void, then you are not liberated. Thus, wisdom is understanding what is right and what is wrong. It is also recognizing universal substance and its functions. The understanding of the voidness of duality is the substance of wisdom, while liberation, which is never allowing any thought whatsoever of existence or non-existence, good of evil, love or hate, etc., to arise, is known as understanding the function of the voidness of duality.

Q: Where can one enter the doorway to this understanding?
A: Through the perfection of charity (dana-paramita).

Q: Buddha has said that the six paramitas are the action of the Bodhisattva path, so how can we enter the doorway to this understanding by practicing, as you have said, only the dana-paramita?
A: People who are confused or deluded do not understand that the other five paramitas all evolve from the dana-paramita. Therefore, in practicing the dana-paramita, one also fulfills the practice of the other five paramitas.

Q: For what reason is it called the dana-paramita?
A: "Dana" means the perfection of charity.

Q: What things can be given up in the name of charity?
A: Clinging to thoughts of duality can be given up.

Q: Just what does this mean?
A: It means to give up clinging, in the name of charity, to thoughts of good and evil, existence and non-existence, love and hate, emptiness and fullness, concentration and non-concentration, pure and impure, etc. In the name of charity, give up all of them. Then, and only then, can you attain the stage of the voidness of duality, while, at the same time, letting neither a thought about the voidness of opposites nor about charity arise. This is the genuine practice of the dana-paramita, which is also known as absolute detachment from all phenomena. This is only the voidness of all dharma-nature, which means that always and everywhere is just no-mind. If one can attain the stage of no-mind everywhere, no form will be perceived, because our self-nature is void, containing no form. This, then, is true Reality, which is also called the wonderful form or body of the Tathagata. The Diamond Sutra says: "Those who have abandoned all forms are called Buddhas."

Q: But the Buddha spoke about six paramitas, so how can you reasonably say that one paramita (the dana-paramita) can include the other five?
A: The Sutra of the Benefits of Thinking says: "The Jalavidyadeva spoke to Brahmadeva as follows:

  • 'Bodhisattvas who abandon all defilements are said to have completed the dana-paramita. This is the perfection of charity.
  • If there is the non-arising of a single thought, they are said to have completed the sila-paramita. This the perfection of discipline.
  • If there is no injury to or harm by any dharma, they are said to have completed the ksanti-paramita. This is the perfection of patience.
  • If there is non-attachment to all dharmas, they are said to have completed the virya-paramita. This is the perfection of zeal.
  • If there is non-dwelling on any dharma whatsoever, they are said to have completed the dhyana-paramita. This is the perfection of serenity.
  • If there is no use of sophistry in speaking of any dharma, they are said to have completed the prajna-paramita. This is the perfection of wisdom.

These are also known as the six Dharmas without any difference. The first one involves giving; the second one, non-arising of sensation; the third one, the non-arising of thought; the fourth one, being detached from form; the fifth one, non-dwelling in any dharma; and the sixth one, speaking without sophistry.

These six paramitas are given different names expediently to meet different needs, but the wonderful principle underlying them all is not different. Thus, if one thing is abandoned, then everything is abandoned; and if one thing does not arise, then nothing whatsoever arises.

Deluded people cannot understand this, and even insist that these six paramitas, or methods, are different. Thus, these foolish people, clinging to the variety of methods, revolve endlessly on the Wheel-of-Life-and-Death. Therefore, I urge all you students just to practice the one method of the dana-paramita, which, since it includes completely all dharmas, must, logically, include the other five paramitas.
anjali
 
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