Skip to main content


From the Sanskrit prefix pāra (opposite side, further shore, utmost reach) + the infix m + ita (gone, attained). In Mahāyāna Buddhism a pāramitā is something which assists the aspirant to attain nirvāna. This attainment is often spoken of metaphorically as crossing over the stream of worldly existence, hence a pāramitā is, literally, that which enables the aspirant to attain the opposite side of the stream. It is usually identified as PRAJÑĀ-PĀRAMITĀ, translated “perfection of wisdom.”

The pāramitās are variously listed as six, seven, ten or twelve. In The Voice of the Silence, by Helena P. BLAVATSKY the following are listed:

dāna, “charity” — to which Blavatsky adds “love immortal”;

śīla, “moral conduct” or “harmony in word and deed”

ksānti, “forbearance” or, as Blavatsky puts it, “patience sweet which naught can ruffle”;

virāga, “indifference” to both pleasure and pain (compare vairāgya in the Hindu list of qualification for the Path);

vīrya, “energy” or “strength”;

dhyāna, “profound meditation”;v prajñā, “wisdom” or “intuitive knowledge.”

To these are often added:

adhishāna, “firmness,” “courage,” or “inflexibility” (Charles W. Leadbeater sometimes identified one of the qualifications for the Path as “meaning business,” which is the implication of this term);

upekā, “indifference,”

prabodha or sambuddhi, “awakening,” “illumination,” or “perfect knowledge.”



© Copyright by the Theosophical Publishing House, Manila