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Re: Paramitas Of Buddhism ??? :)

Oct 26, 1998 04:18 PM
by Dallas TenBroeck

Oct 26th

Dear Rich:

What happened to VIRAGA Paramita ?  is  it not one of the
Buddhist paramitas ?


> From: "Richard Taylor" <>
> Sent:	Monday, October 26, 1998 1:33 PM
> Subject: Paramitas Of Buddhism ??? :)

In a message dated 10/26/98 3:32:14 PM, Alan wrote:

"Hello again. I hope I'm not being a bug bear, but I read in a
conclusion by
Mr Purucker about the ten Paramitas of Buddhism ...Could somebody
be so kind
as to list them, as I have no idea of what it is."

Well, we should probably start with the word "paramita."  It is a
word, and Sanskrit is the "holy" language of ancient India.  It
is also a
specifically Buddhist word, not shared by Hindus or Jains (to my
Paramita means "perfection" and comes from the compound of
"param" plus "ita,"
meaning something like "going beyond."

So in a very literal sense, these perfections are what carry us
"beyond" this
world "to the other shore."

The six paramitas appear to be the earlier list, coming from a
group of
Mahayana Buddhist texts called "Prajna-paramita," or those
meditative texts
which teach the "emptiness" of all things, and thus help to carry
us to
Prajna, or Wisdom.  Good translations of these texts may be found
by a
Theosopical Buddhist scholar, Edward Conze.

Those six paramitas, according to Mahayana Buddhism, are:
1.  Dana, or giving.
2.  Shila, or morality.
3.  Kshanti, or patience.
4.  Virya, or vigorous effort.
5.  Dhyana, or meditation
6.  Prajna, or wisdom.

Perfecting these six virtues was thought to lead to Nirvana in
early Mahayana

Like all things religious, lists tend to expand over time.  And
so we find a
later list, including the ones above plus

7.  Upaya, or "means, methods"
8.  Pranidhana, or "aspiration"
9.  Bala, or "strength"
10.  Jnana, or "knowledge, pristine awareness"

These are the further virtues that carry one to full Buddha-hood.

The Question I would like to ask the list is why, in the Voice Of
The Silence,
HPB lists *seven* paramitas, and where she gets number 4. Viraga,
"indifference."  Indifference is a fine virtue, but not part of
traditional list known to me.  It is eccentricities like this
which make my
study of HPB's Buddhism frustrating indeed.  If anyone on the
list has
thoughts, please share!

Rich Taylor

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