The Ten Perfections
1. Dāna pāramī : generosity, giving of oneself
2. Sīla pāramī : virtue, morality, proper conduct
3. Nekkhamma pāramī : renunciation
4. Paññā pāramī : transcendental wisdom, insight
5. Viriya pāramī : energy, diligence, vigour, effort
6. Khanti pāramī : patience, tolerance, forbearance, acceptance, endurance
7. Sacca pāramī : truthfulness, honesty
8. Adhiṭṭhāna pāramī : determination, resolution
9. Mettā pāramī : loving-kindness
10. Upekkhā pāramī : equanimity, serenity
Recent posts have looked at the first three qualities on this list, and considered how they might be developed in our everyday lives.
Before we go on, it bears pointing out that even though we can (and probably should) concentrate on one quality at a time, developing one will, as a by-product, develop others. For example, it is hard to practice a full form of generosity and at the same time commit harmful (non-virtuous) deeds. If we put our virtuous intentions forward through our actions and words, it will most likely be perceived by others as (at least similar to) generosity. Keeping our selfish impulses in check (renunciation) will result in beneficial actions and words, including generosity.
Like many principles in the Budhha’s teachings, the paramis reinforce each other with every action and word. We could start with any of the “threads” of the ten perfections, and through following it diligently, arrive at both the understanding and practice of the other perfections. These principles are as closely woven with each other as the threads of a silken fabric.
So take a moment to consider generosity, virtuous action and renunciation in your own experience. When do you find it most difficult to let your good side show? What or who brings out the lesser being in you? And what are the situations that draw your positive qualities to the fore? What people make it easier for you to act on your best intentions? How important is it to keep trying to develop your potential with respect to the perfections?