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The Ten Paramitas are the ten perfections of the heart to cultivate in one's practice of the Dhamma.
The Ten Perfections
- Generosity (dana)
- Moral conduct (sila)
- Renunciation (nekkhamma)
- Wisdom (paññā)
- Energy (viriya)
- Patience (khanti)
- Truthfulness (sacca)
- Determination (adhitthana)
- Loving-kindness (metta)
- Equanimity (upekkha)
The Ten Hindrances to Enlightenment show us what we need to get rid of. To assist us in the eradication of the hindrances are ten virtues to cultivate, listed above. These are the Ten Paramitas, which are translated as, the Ten Perfections of the Heart.
In the Ten Perfections you will see elements of the Five Precepts and The Noble Eightfold Middle Path. Alongside these important Dhamma teachings are listed the ever important “energy” and “determination.” If we want to succeed at anything, we can never underestimate the importance of persistence and determination.
Renunciation, listed above does not necessarily mean giving up your possessions and becoming a monk or nun. Renunciation can simply mean being content with what you have and maintaining a simple life and lifestyle. It can mean “counting your blessings” or doing something simple to put your mind at ease to allow you to pursue spiritual quests. It can also mean making some small sacrifices, such as choosing your vacation time from work to go to a vipassana retreat, instead of a cruise.
The Buddha spent many past lives as an ascetic monastic perfecting each of the ten perfections. He could not be re-born in his final life as the Buddha until all ten perfections were fully developed. Enlightenment is not something so simple as just sitting one day and all of a sudden feeling at “one with nature” and very “awake.” There is a common danger in many Western countries where some practitioners and teachers say that they are enlightened when they have one momentary glimpse of jhanic pleasure in their meditation. They are mistaking some pleasurable jhanic states for enlightenment. Enlightenment is attainable, but no easy task and has the prerequisite of the ten paramitas.