The six Paramita: On the path of the Great Vehicle (in Sanskrit Mahayana) the spiritual training of practitioners is aimed at liberation from suffering, with the ultimate goal of achieving enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. Buddha Shakyamuni, 2500 years ago, gave instructions for developing the altruistic bodhichitta mind through the development of the Six Perfections (Sanskrit: Paramita). These teachings came to us from Buddha Shakyamuni through the uninterrupted lineage of masters and through the dissemination and commentary of the sutras (the discourses of the Buddha). Practicing the Paramitas consists of keeping a series of virtuous behaviours and at the same time avoiding negative actions. In this context an action is considered negative when it damages sentient beings, without any relation to the social conventions of Western culture. Through the practice of the Six Perfections, understanding the law of cause and effect and the interdependence of the phenomena, one can purify the mind from disturbing negative factors, the cause of all suffering, and build a solid base of positive karmic imprints useful for continuing on the Path that leads to supreme consciousness, that is, to the maximum development of human potential.
The six perfections, which are to be practiced with the body, speech and mind are:
- generosity (in Sanskrit Dāna)
- ethics (in Sanskrit Śīla, pronounced Shila)
- patience (in Sanskrit Kṣanti)
- perseverance, energy, diligence, vigour or enthusiastic commitment (in Sanskrit Virya)
- meditative concentration and contemplation (in Sanskrit Dhyāna)
- wisdom (in Sanskrit Prajña)