THE SIX PERFECTIONS
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
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
These Six Perfections are further described as follows:
In summary, this Dharma teaching offers a superb explanation of The Six Paramitas: Generosity, Ethics, Patience,
Effort, Concentration, and Wisdom. By practicing these six paramitas we cross over the sea of suffering (samsara)
to the shore of happiness and awakening (Nirvana). Each of these paramitas is an enlightened quality or virtue of
the heart—the innate seed of perfect realization existing within us. However, since these 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.
For a PDF copy of this information, click on The Six Paramitas (Perfections).
Source: Used with permission from Neil Steven Cohen at Naljor
Prison Dharma Service, PO Box 1177, Mount Shasta CA 96067. (
Photo Credit: Intellimon Ltd.