10 Paramis vs. 6 Perfections

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
4GreatHeavenlyKings
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10 Paramis vs. 6 Perfections

Post by 4GreatHeavenlyKings »

What are your thoughts about these differing lists of virtuous practises?

Can these lists be reconciled as different ways to categorize the same good conduct?
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Coëmgenu
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Re: 10 Paramis vs. 6 Perfections

Post by Coëmgenu »

There are more than one set of 10 perfections in the Mahayana sutras, and none of them are the same as the Theravadin ones. The Mahayana "standard six" come from Sarvastivada Abhidharma elaborations on the path of a bodhisattva. These anomalous sets of 10 either come from other sects of early Buddhism who have parallel-but-different traditions concerning the career of a bodhisattva (like Theravada for instance) or are entirely Mahayanika in origin. I can post more later.
The spotless mind,
the most highly pure, the tranquil,
all unspoiled phenomena supporting,
this name applying to the consciousness of the Tathāgata.

A bodhisattva, one of two vehicles, an ordinary person:
these are thrones which hold seeds subject to germination.
In acquiring the virtuous pure mind of a Buddha,
which is resolute suchness, the sūtra says:

The Tathāgata's spotless mind
is a pure place without outflows.
It is liberation from all bondage.
It is like a spherical mirror.
It is consciousness always in internal agreement.

(T1585.13a19 Vijñaptimātratāsiddhiśāstra)
4GreatHeavenlyKings
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Re: 10 Paramis vs. 6 Perfections

Post by 4GreatHeavenlyKings »

Coëmgenu wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 8:29 pm There are more than one set of 10 perfections in the Mahayana sutras, and none of them are the same as the Theravadin ones. The Mahayana "standard six" come from Sarvastivada Abhidharma elaborations on the path of a bodhisattva. These anomalous sets of 10 either come from other sects of early Buddhism who have parallel-but-different traditions concerning the career of a bodhisattva (like Theravada for instance) or are entirely Mahayanika in origin. I can post more later.
Sure; that would be excellent.
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retrofuturist
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Re: 10 Paramis vs. 6 Perfections

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings,
4GreatHeavenlyKings wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 6:27 pm What are your thoughts about these differing lists of virtuous practises?
One is the Mahayana list.

I'm not entirely sure on this but I suspect Theravada's paramitā list came after the Mahayana list, to imply that anything good about Mahayana is already in Theravada, even if the emphasis or focus is different.

Neither set are present as a "path" in the Sutta Pitaka, although as individual properties they are praised. In the tradition of the Blessed One, "the path" is the Noble Eightfold Path and there is no other.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

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Coëmgenu
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Re: 10 Paramis vs. 6 Perfections

Post by Coëmgenu »

retrofuturist wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 10:13 pmI'm not entirely sure on this but I suspect Theravada's paramitā list came after the Mahayana list
The "Mahayana list" is just the old Śrāvaka Sarvāstivādin list of bodhisattva perfections from Sarvāstivādin Abhidharma that gets re-incorporated into the Mahayana by the Yogacarins after it is rejected and polemicized-against by the Madhyamakas. The union of Yogacara and Madhyamaka is a scandal in Mahayana to this day, because quite often "Yogacara" is just late-stage Sarvastivadin Abhidharmika Buddhism. I am still not yet at a computer. There is a paper I plan to link to that suggests just this that you suspect, that a 5 or 6 element list was expanded gradually, but it is very speculative.
The spotless mind,
the most highly pure, the tranquil,
all unspoiled phenomena supporting,
this name applying to the consciousness of the Tathāgata.

A bodhisattva, one of two vehicles, an ordinary person:
these are thrones which hold seeds subject to germination.
In acquiring the virtuous pure mind of a Buddha,
which is resolute suchness, the sūtra says:

The Tathāgata's spotless mind
is a pure place without outflows.
It is liberation from all bondage.
It is like a spherical mirror.
It is consciousness always in internal agreement.

(T1585.13a19 Vijñaptimātratāsiddhiśāstra)
asahi
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Re: 10 Paramis vs. 6 Perfections

Post by asahi »

If i remember correctly , first it was 4 paramis that the bodhisattva practice for 3 aeons , then add up to 6 , later 8 and lastly 10 .

Theravada 10 paramis
南傳十波羅蜜
(十波羅蜜)
佈施 generosity
持戒 virtue
出離 renunciation
忍辱 patience
真實 truthful
決意 determination
慈 kindness
捨 letting go
精進 effort
智慧 wisdom


Mahayana 6/10 paramis
北傳六波羅蜜
(六度/十度)
佈施 generosity
持戒 virtue
忍辱 patience
精進 effort
禪定 stillness / meditation
般若 wisdom
方便 skillful means
願 vow
力 power
智 knowledge
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Coëmgenu
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Re: 10 Paramis vs. 6 Perfections

Post by Coëmgenu »

Here are several irregular lists of 10 perfections in the Daśabhūmikā division of the Buddhāvataṃsaka Vaipulya. Chinese scholastics combine these to form long lists of 30, 41, 52, and other numbers of bodhisattva bhūmis with corresponding perfections. Nearly all of the 10 perfection schema in Mahayana seem to be lining up with 10 bhūmi schema, including possibly those from the Mahāvastu, though that is not Mahāyānika proper. The one that I have time to type about today is from the Brahmājāla Vaipulya. This sūtra appears to have been incorrectly named by a cataloguer and conflated with the Brahmājālasūtra. In the sūtra itself, it identifies itself as the 盧舍那佛說菩薩心地法門, or the lengthier *Vairocanabhāṣitabodhisattvacittabhūmidharmaparyāya, or "Vairocana Speaks of the Bodhisattva Mind-Ground Dharma Gate." The perfections and bhūmis it outlines are deeply related to those from the Daśabhūmikā, which is also Vairocana-relalated material, but they are not identical to what we find there. Later Chinese and Japanese scholastics will line up the perfections and bhūmis from the Brahmājāla and Buddhāvataṃsaka Vaipulyas and harmonize them in their 52-bhūmi system. I believe that some Zen Buddhists also believe in the 52 bhūmis.

From the Brahmājāla Vaipulya, Vairocana outlines 10:

renunciation,
sila,
patience,
endurance,
vigour,
dhyāna,
goodwill,
protection,
joy, and
the highest wisdom.

Then he outlines another 10:

kindness,
pity,
joy,
detachment,
generosity,
good speech,
beneficence,
compassion,
dhyāna, and
wisdom.

Then he outlines another 10:

faith,
mindfulness,
the dedication of merit,
penetration,
directness,
non-retrogression,
the great vehicle,
signlessness,
wisdom, and
indestructibility.

These two are then assigned to correspond to a list of 10 irregular bhūmis. It is not clear exactly how they correspond in the text itself. One assumes it is one-by-one. Later scholastics come up with exactly how so-and-so elements corresponds to each other element, as well as re-interpreting the above lists to be part of the so-called "52 bhūmis" of the Buddhāvataṃsaka material.

The list of bhūmis is:

the ground of the svābhāva,
the ground of the svābhāva of wisdom,
the ground of the svābhāva of luminosity,
the ground of the svābhāva of flaming wisdom,
the ground of the svābhāva of bright wisdom,
the ground of the svābhāva of the bright lotus,
the ground of the svābhāva of consummation,
the ground of the svābhāva of the Buddha's roar,
the ground of the svābhāva of the avataṁsaka, and
the ground of the svābhāva of entrance into the buddhadhātu.

Before someone objects, I should point out that the Brahmājāla material identifies what I call "perfections" above as "nourishments," "inclinations [of the heart]," and "vajras" that, through relying on them, allow the practitioner to enter into "the entrances and fruitions of the firm path of the ten grounds." Those ten grounds are directly above, with all the strange svābhāva business.

The Wisdom School (般若宗) in China who venerated the Wisdom Sutras (prajñāpāramitā) has a further set of anomalous bhūmis that, instead of relating to 6 or 10 perfections, relate to the older "four persons of the path." These might be older bhūmis than we find in the Daśabhūmikā or Buddhāvataṃsaka, because those align to bodhisattva perfections, not persons of the path (i.e. stream-entrant, once-returner, etc.). I realize I accidentally got talking about bhūmis moreso than perfections. There is a reason for this. It is related to the papers I have to post after making this quicker preamble post.

From the Prajñāpāramitā, 10 bhūmis more.

the ground of "clear-seeing,"
the ground of the gotra,
the ground of the śrotāpanna candidate,
the ground of the fruit of the śrotāpanna
the ground of the sakṛdāgāmin,
the ground of the anāgāmin,
the ground of the Arhat,
the ground of the Pratyekabuddha,
the ground of the Bodhisattva, and
the ground of the Buddha.

The ending of this list, the last three elements in it, appears to be influenced by syncretism with the Tiāntāi sect.

There are actually more and stranger lists. The most famous set of correspondences between 10 grounds, six perfections, and four persons of the path comes from the text Abhisamayālaṁkāra by Venerable Maitreyanātha (one of the Three Saints of Yogācāra, the most mysterious of them whose school is hard to pin down), which I can write about in a bit once I find my old notes on it. Though I say above that Ven Maitreyanātha's school is difficult to pin down, it is not actually. Ven Maitreyanātha seems to, like Vens Āsaṁga and Vasubandhu, have been some sort of Sarvāstivādin dissident. Ven Maitreyanātha however is more eclectic and seems wider-read than his two students, perhaps even being particularly familiar with Vibhajyavādin Buddhism. His eclecticism is what makes it harder to determine that he was definitely at one time some sort of Sarvāstivādin.
Last edited by Coëmgenu on Tue May 11, 2021 5:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.
The spotless mind,
the most highly pure, the tranquil,
all unspoiled phenomena supporting,
this name applying to the consciousness of the Tathāgata.

A bodhisattva, one of two vehicles, an ordinary person:
these are thrones which hold seeds subject to germination.
In acquiring the virtuous pure mind of a Buddha,
which is resolute suchness, the sūtra says:

The Tathāgata's spotless mind
is a pure place without outflows.
It is liberation from all bondage.
It is like a spherical mirror.
It is consciousness always in internal agreement.

(T1585.13a19 Vijñaptimātratāsiddhiśāstra)
4GreatHeavenlyKings
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Re: 10 Paramis vs. 6 Perfections

Post by 4GreatHeavenlyKings »

Coëmgenu wrote: Tue May 11, 2021 3:57 pm There are actually more and stranger lists. The most famous set of correspondences between 10 grounds, six perfections, and four persons of the path comes from the text Abhisamayālaṁkāra by Venerable Maitreyanātha (one of the Three Saints of Yogācāra, the most mysterious of them whose school is hard to pin down), which I can write about in a bit once I find my old notes on it. Though I say above that Ven Maitreyanātha's school is difficult to pin down, it is not actually. Ven Maitreyanātha seems to, like Vens Āsaṁga and Vasubandhu, have been some sort of Sarvāstivādin dissident. Ven Maitreyanātha however is more eclectic and seems wider-read than his two students, perhaps even being particularly familiar with Vibhajyavādin Buddhism. His eclecticism is what makes it harder to determine that he was definitely at one time some sort of Sarvāstivādin.
This is fascinating; I would love to read more from you.
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Re: 10 Paramis vs. 6 Perfections

Post by Coëmgenu »

Coëmgenu wrote: Tue May 11, 2021 3:00 am
retrofuturist wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 10:13 pmI'm not entirely sure on this but I suspect Theravada's paramitā list came after the Mahayana list
[...] There is a paper I plan to link to that suggests just this that you suspect, that a 5 or 6 element list was expanded gradually, but it is very speculative.
I don't agree with everything in it, at times the author has an apologetics tone, but here is the link:

http://lib.unipune.ac.in:8080/xmlui/bit ... sAllowed=y

I don't believe this is pirated or illegally hosted. The Jayakar Library is "lib.unipune.ac... etc."

The conclusion is at page 327 and onward, but obviously the whole paper with contextualize that conclusion.
The spotless mind,
the most highly pure, the tranquil,
all unspoiled phenomena supporting,
this name applying to the consciousness of the Tathāgata.

A bodhisattva, one of two vehicles, an ordinary person:
these are thrones which hold seeds subject to germination.
In acquiring the virtuous pure mind of a Buddha,
which is resolute suchness, the sūtra says:

The Tathāgata's spotless mind
is a pure place without outflows.
It is liberation from all bondage.
It is like a spherical mirror.
It is consciousness always in internal agreement.

(T1585.13a19 Vijñaptimātratāsiddhiśāstra)
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Coëmgenu
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Re: 10 Paramis vs. 6 Perfections

Post by Coëmgenu »

Coëmgenu wrote: Tue May 11, 2021 3:57 pmHere are several
Alas, "there are." The next post will cover Buddhāvataṃsaka Daśabhūmikā material, not that one.
The spotless mind,
the most highly pure, the tranquil,
all unspoiled phenomena supporting,
this name applying to the consciousness of the Tathāgata.

A bodhisattva, one of two vehicles, an ordinary person:
these are thrones which hold seeds subject to germination.
In acquiring the virtuous pure mind of a Buddha,
which is resolute suchness, the sūtra says:

The Tathāgata's spotless mind
is a pure place without outflows.
It is liberation from all bondage.
It is like a spherical mirror.
It is consciousness always in internal agreement.

(T1585.13a19 Vijñaptimātratāsiddhiśāstra)
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Re: 10 Paramis vs. 6 Perfections

Post by TRobinson465 »

4GreatHeavenlyKings wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 6:27 pm Can these lists be reconciled as different ways to categorize the same good conduct?
Yes.

The 6 paramitas is the same as one of the ways to classify the 10 paramis. Sacca is classified under Sīla and Pañña, Mettā and Upekkhā are classified as jhāna, and Adhiṭṭhāna is considered part of all 6 paramitas.

page 46 of Acariya Dhammapala's commentary.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... eel409.pdf
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4GreatHeavenlyKings
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Re: 10 Paramis vs. 6 Perfections

Post by 4GreatHeavenlyKings »

Coëmgenu wrote: Tue May 11, 2021 8:11 pm
Coëmgenu wrote: Tue May 11, 2021 3:57 pmHere are several
Alas, "there are." The next post will cover Buddhāvataṃsaka Daśabhūmikā material, not that one.
Thank you for the sources; if you were to continue your presentation, I would appreciate it.
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Re: 10 Paramis vs. 6 Perfections

Post by Coëmgenu »

I have to drive to Mississauga for a doctor's appointment, so I may not get to it today.
Coëmgenu wrote: Tue May 11, 2021 3:57 pmThe ending of this list, the last three elements in it, appears to be influenced by syncretism with the Tiāntāi sect.
Copy-and-paste error. When I wrote this, I thought the Prajñā bhūmis were only found in the writings of Venerables of the Sānlùn-zōng (三論宗). I have written in the notes to this section "Anomalous prajna bhumis, Jizang, Bailun." However, this set of bhūmis is actually from both the Aṣṭadaśasāhasrikāprajñāpāramitāsūtra and the Pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikāprajñāpāramitāsūtra, but is not found in the Aṣṭasāhasrikāprajñāpāramitāsūtra
The spotless mind,
the most highly pure, the tranquil,
all unspoiled phenomena supporting,
this name applying to the consciousness of the Tathāgata.

A bodhisattva, one of two vehicles, an ordinary person:
these are thrones which hold seeds subject to germination.
In acquiring the virtuous pure mind of a Buddha,
which is resolute suchness, the sūtra says:

The Tathāgata's spotless mind
is a pure place without outflows.
It is liberation from all bondage.
It is like a spherical mirror.
It is consciousness always in internal agreement.

(T1585.13a19 Vijñaptimātratāsiddhiśāstra)
4GreatHeavenlyKings
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Re: 10 Paramis vs. 6 Perfections

Post by 4GreatHeavenlyKings »

Coëmgenu wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 3:45 pm I have to drive to Mississauga for a doctor's appointment, so I may not get to it today.
Coëmgenu wrote: Tue May 11, 2021 3:57 pmThe ending of this list, the last three elements in it, appears to be influenced by syncretism with the Tiāntāi sect.
Copy-and-paste error. When I wrote this, I thought the Prajñā bhūmis were only found in the writings of Venerables of the Sānlùn-zōng (三論宗). I have written in the notes to this section "Anomalous prajna bhumis, Jizang, Bailun." However, this set of bhūmis is actually from both the Aṣṭadaśasāhasrikāprajñāpāramitāsūtra and the Pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikāprajñāpāramitāsūtra, but is not found in the Aṣṭasāhasrikāprajñāpāramitāsūtra
I hope that you would be kind enough to continue your writings about this topic.
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Coëmgenu
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Re: 10 Paramis vs. 6 Perfections

Post by Coëmgenu »

I should have some time sometime today.
The spotless mind,
the most highly pure, the tranquil,
all unspoiled phenomena supporting,
this name applying to the consciousness of the Tathāgata.

A bodhisattva, one of two vehicles, an ordinary person:
these are thrones which hold seeds subject to germination.
In acquiring the virtuous pure mind of a Buddha,
which is resolute suchness, the sūtra says:

The Tathāgata's spotless mind
is a pure place without outflows.
It is liberation from all bondage.
It is like a spherical mirror.
It is consciousness always in internal agreement.

(T1585.13a19 Vijñaptimātratāsiddhiśāstra)
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