Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Buddha : Six Paramitas

To interact successfully with others, the Buddha taught us the Six Paramitas, or Perfections. The fourth of the Five Guidelines, the paramitas are the practices of bodhisattvas.
The Six Paramitas are:
1. Giving (dana)
2. Precept observation (shila)
3. Patience (kshanti)
4. Diligence (virya)
5. Meditative concentration (dhyana)
6. Wisdom (prajna)
The first paramita is giving. Giving counters greed, and ensures that in the future we will have ample resources to continue helping others. The underlying meaning of giving is letting go.
Second is the giving of teaching. By teaching others, we are helping them to learn how to rely more on themselves. We give material resources to try to solve immediate needs. But, if we want to solve needs that are more far-reaching, we teach.
Third is the giving of fearlessness. It is to remove the insecurities, worries, and fears of others, whether the “other” is human or non-human.
Fourth is diligence, or enthusiastic effort. It is the joy that we bring to our practice and to all that is worthwhile in our lives. It is the true delight that arises from deep within us when we are doing what is wholesome. It enables us to keep going when we feel tired or overwhelmed. It is refreshing and inspiring. Cultivating enthusiastic effort counters laziness.
The fifth perfection is meditative concentration. Our practice and training in discipline and not harming others will reduce and gradually eliminate our harmful verbal and physical behaviors. Our minds will become calmer and less agitated. When our minds are thus settled, we will be better able to concentrate.
The sixth paramita is wisdom. Wisdom counters ignorance, and enables us to know how best to help others and to improve ourselves, including our ability to get along well with others. This wisdom is not that which is gained through intense study and analysis of many diverse subjects. That would be seeking wisdom from external sources. It is our innate, all-knowing wisdom.

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