A Brief Discourse on the Paramitas

Queen Srimala - Lion's Roar - Srimaladevi Sutra

A BRIEF DISCOURSE ON THE PARAMITAS
– THE GLORIOUS VIRTUES AND TRANSCENDENTAL PERFECTIONS

In the Words of Queen Srimala, who expressed her understanding of the Buddha Dharma to the Buddha himself. From the Srimaladevi Sutra, verses 36-43.

“Lord, embracing the Correct Dharma means the Correct Dharma is not separate from the one who embraces the Correct Dharma. He who embraces the Correct Dharma is himself the Correct Dharma. Nor are the perfections (the Paramitas) different from the one who embraces the Correct Dharma; on the contrary, the embracer of the Correct Dharma is himself the perfections. And why is that?

“(1) Good sons and daughters who embrace the Correct Dharma are willing to give even their body and limbs in order to help living beings develop spiritually. Those living beings who see this and develop admiration for such qualities can be spiritually developed through giving. They are taught in this manner and placed in the Correct Dharma. This is known as the perfection of giving (Dana).

“(2) Good sons and daughters, in order to spiritually develop living beings through morality, will themselves guard the six senses and purify themselves in mind, body, and speech and they will teach others to do likewise. Through examples of dignified behaviour, they protect and spiritually develop others’ minds. Those living beings who see this and develop admiration for such qualities can be spiritually developed through morality. They are taught in this manner and placed in the Correct Dharma. This is known as the perfection of morality (Shila).

“(3) Good sons and daughters, in order to spiritually develop living beings through forbearance, will endure people angrily screaming insults and threats toward them. These good sons and daughters with a compassionate countenance will show no ill will towards those who mistreat them; instead they will seek to protect and develop their minds. Those living beings who see this and develop admiration for such qualities can be spiritually developed through forbearance. They are taught in this manner and placed in the Correct Dharma. This is known as the perfection of forbearance (Kshanti).

“(4) Good sons and daughters, in order to spiritually develop living beings through effort, will display energetic motivation, high aspirations, and never be lazy, striving to perfect the four dignified postures and to protect and develop their minds. Those living beings who see this and develop admiration for such qualities can be spiritually developed through effort. They are taught in this manner and placed in the Correct Dharma. This is known as the perfection of effort (Virya).

“(5) Good sons and daughters, in order to spiritually develop living beings through meditation, will have an undisturbed mind, always maintaining constant mindfulness and reflecting upon their words and deeds for a long amount of time. They will seek to protect and develop their minds. Those living beings who see this and develop admiration for such qualities can be spiritually developed through meditation. They are taught in this manner and placed in the Correct Dharma. This is known as the perfection of meditation (Dhyana).

“(6) Good sons and daughters, in order to spiritually develop living beings through wisdom, are able to answer questions and explain the profound meaning in detail. They promote education in the sciences and arts in order to protect and develop people’s minds. Those living beings who see this and develop admiration for such qualities can be spiritually developed through wisdom. They are taught in this manner and placed in the Correct Dharma. This is known as the perfection of wisdom (Prajna).

“Lord, nor are the perfections different from the one who embraces the Correct Dharma; on the contrary, the embracer of the Correct Dharma is himself the perfections.”

~ * ~

As was said in the article The Two Paths:

“Generally speaking, Mahayana Buddhism recognises six Paramitas only. In the esoteric system as represented by “The Voice of the Silence,” one more is added and placed fourth in the order. Its position as the fourth of the seven thus gives it the important significance of being the central Paramita.”

This is Viraga, more often spelt as Vairagya, which is the virtue and perfection of dispassion, detachment, desirelessness, and indifference to one’s own so-called pleasure and so-called pain.

To discover more, take a look at The Two Paths which explores “The Voice of the Silence” (translated by H.P. Blavatsky from The Book of the Golden Precepts) and the Bodhisattva ideal in more detail. You may also like some of the other articles listed under the “Spiritual Living and Practice” category on the Articles page.

~ Blavatsky Theosophy Group UK ~

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