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The 10 Pāramīs - Cultivating Heart-Mind




Last week I shared The Five Precepts in Buddhism.  This week I am sharing the 10 Pāramīs in relationship to the 5 precepts. 

The Pāramīs are wholesome qualities we all have within us.  Cultivating these qualities can help us stabilize our emotions, improve our relationships and develop wisdom.  It is said that the Buddha had to refine these qualities within himself over lifetimes in order to reach enlightenment.  If we take this story as a metaphor, I think it is a reminder to us that it takes time to heal and develop our heart wisdom.  But that is our life’s purpose.  To love people, flourish, explore our potential and develop wisdom.

Simply looking at the list of Pāramīs makes me feel like I am bringing them up inside my heart.

The word Pāramīs is Pali. You will also see the word Pāramitā, which is Sanskrit. Pali is the most common language of the Buddhist texts.

Paramita is translated variously as perfection, noble quality, excellence, trancendant.

The 10 Pāramīs:  States of heart and mind to cultivate higher levels of wisdom and equanimity.

 1.  Dāna: generosity, giving of oneself
 2.  Sīla: virtue, morality, proper conduct, because we care about ourselves and others
 3.  Nekkhamma: renunciation, letting go, diminishing the unwholesome
 4.  Paññā: transcendental wisdom, insight
 5.  Vīriya: energy, diligence, vigor, effort
 6.  Khanti: patience, tolerance, forbearance, acceptance, endurance
 7.  Sacca: truthfulness, honesty.  
[I'm going to add to this “Right speech” (samyag-vāc / sammā-vācā). “And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, and from idle chatter: This is called right speech.”  Technically it is a separate term, but I can’t think about truthfulness without thinking of right speech in general.  Kindness of speech.]
 8.  Adhiṭṭhāna: determination, resolution
 9.  Mettā: loving-kindness, genuine well wishes
10. Upekkhā: equanimity, serenity   

The Five Precepts:  Vows taken on during a training period. Meditators sometimes take on the precepts for a certain number of days as a practice.  Others take the vows and try to keep them permanently.

  1. "I undertake the training-precept to abstain from killing or harming living beings." 

  2. "I undertake the training-precept to abstain from taking what is not freely offered." 

  3. "I undertake the training-precept to abstain from sexual misconduct."

  4. "I undertake the training-precept to abstain from false speech." 

  5. "I undertake the training-precept to abstain from alcoholic drink or drugs that are an opportunity for heedlessness."


The 5 precepts are vows to not harm.  The 10 Paramis are qualities that, when we develop them within ourselves, cause us to naturally be kind.


Would you like to listen to a chant of the Paramis? I found a lovely version of it on YouTube! I also typed up the chant word-for-word if you would like to follow along.


Listen on YouTube - Ajahn Achalo Bhikku's Soundscapes 

Read the Chant: Fully Typed Up Version


May this offering serve for the liberation of all beings. ❤️🙏


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