Friday, September 28, 2012

Six Paramitas

                The Six Paramitas are taught by Sakyamuni Buddha. They are also known as the Six Perfections. The Sanskrit word paramitas means "perfections."

                 There are so many countless good things that we can do in life. If we're told to do as many good deeds as we can, we might get overwhelmed and not even try to do any.

                  Each paramita can be thought of as a way to perfect virtue. Sakyamuni Buddha condensed all good deeds into these six categories. We select just one of the paramitas and practice doing various good deeds that embody that virtue.

                  Sakyamuni Buddha did this so that we could easily pick the one we like best and then make it our sole focus.

                   By doing so often, we can steadily promote more harmony with others and also bring ourselves more relative happiness. The more good deeds we perform = the more good we can enjoy. Accumulating this virtue also helps us as we progress toward our true purpose in life.

                   To understand the concept of the Six Paramitas within metaphor, imagine for a moment being a dazed customer, lost inside a giant shopping center.

Original Photo by coolinsights available on

               You wander inside a spacious department store, but you still find more countless choices to try on and compare prices. A friendly salesperson comes up to you with a smile and asks, "How can I help you?"

                Then you take a moment and reply, "Well, I need a new shirt for work. The color should be kind of basic. Oh, and the price needs to be around $20 or so."

Original Photo by Robert Sheie available on

                The salesperson picks six different styles from the many choices available. In this way, you can find the best choice for you with ease...

Original Photo by Robert Sheie available on

                This is the same reason why Sakyamuni Buddha summarized all the various good deeds for us into the following six virtues. We just have to pick the one paramita that fits us the best.

1st Paramita - KINDNESS 

Original Word Art Photo by Celestine Chua available on
  • Giving to people in need
  • Offering donations
  • Sharing your belongings
  • Smiling to everyone
  • Looking at others affectionately
  • Thanking those that help you
  • Having an Aloha spirit
  • Welcoming people to your home to eat or spend the night

2nd Paramita - KEEPING YOUR WORD

Original Word Art Photo by Celestine Chua available on

  • Remembering your promises
  • Not breaking your agreements
  • Arriving on time
  • Being consistent with what you say and do
  • Having accountability for your actions
  • Acting responsibly in difficult situations
  • Answering honestly
  • Coming through for others when they need it

3rd Paramita - PATIENCE

Original Word Art Photo by Celestine Chua available on

  • Putting up with life's little nuisances
  • Thinking steadily through those tough times
  • Enduring hardships with positive intentions
  • Keeping your cool even when someone else is wrong
  • Waiting in line respectfully
  • Remaining calm after acknowledging mistakes

 4th Paramita - EFFORT

Original Word Art Photo by Celestine Chua available on

  • Doing your best under pressure
  • Keep making the right choices, even if they take longer 
  • Helping a friend move
  • Attending to little details with vigor
  • Pouring your heart into your work
  • Using some elbow grease on a volunteer project
  • Focusing all your energy constructively to do good

5th Paramita - SELF-REFLECTION

Original Photo by Celestine Chua available at

  • Being careful with your own thoughts
  • Examining your mindset
  • Concentrating on how you affect others
  • Look at yourself first before blaming others
  • Reflect on your actions daily
  • Think about the effect others have on you and why

6th Paramita - WISDOM

Original Word Art Photo by Celestine Chua available on

  • Being kind
  • Keeping your word
  • Having patience
  • Making a valiant effort
  • Reflecting on yourself

Wisdom is the practice of the first five paramitas simultaneously.  

But if you practice any one of the Six Paramitas...
fully and to the best of your ability
you end up practicing all of them!!!

                For example, the 2nd paramita of Keeping Your Word also requires Patience which may take a long time to complete.

                You also need to make a sustained Effort or you will not follow through.

                 Without Self-Reflection, you may not be able to know whether or not you can fulfill the promise.  

                 Wisdom helps integrate the steps you need to make to fulfill the agreement.

                  Keeping a promise is received by others as a great Kindness

 Buddhism encourages us to choose one paramita 
and practice it by doing good deeds.

Pick one virtue that fits you the best, 
and the rest will follow.

That way we can be happy as we move forward 
toward achieving our purpose of life!

So what's your Paramita?







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