On one occasion, Phra Sariputra Thera asked the Lord Buddha, “Most Exalted One, what are the characteristic virtues of the Lord Buddha?”
The Lord Buddha answered, “Behold, Sariputra, there are ten virtues that characterize the Buddha. These include generosity, morality, renunciation, wisdom, endeavor, patience, truthfulness, resolution, loving-kindness, and equanimity. These virtues, which characterize The Buddha, are also called “Buddhakaradham”.
Generosity Perfection (Dana Parami): The word “Dana” comes from the Pali word “Danam” which means “a thing that should be given”. There are three types of Dana: Amisadana, Dhammadana, and Abhayadana. Amisdana means the giving of alms or alms-giving. Alms include the four necessities: food, shelter, clothing, and medicine as well as any necessary items given to the venerable monks or the poor.Dhammadana means giving Dhamma knowledge, includes knowledge about the Law of Karma, merit and demerit.
Abhayadana means forgiving those who have wronged us. When we give Abhayadana, it means that we refuse to feel annoyed or irritated.
However, Dana Parami deals mostly with Amisadana. Dhammadana is the means to cultivate Wisdom Perfection since one must study a Dhamma topic in depth before one can teach it to others. And in studying the Dhamma, one is essentially cultivating wisdom. Abhayadana is considered to be Loving-kindness Perfection because without lovingkindness, we cannot forgive those who have wronged us.
Morality Perfection (Sila Parami): The word “Sila” comes from the Pali word “Silam”. Sila means not committing an offense through the body or through the word. This can be brought about by keeping the Five Precepts, the Eight Precepts, the Ten Precepts, and the 227 Precepts or Patimokkhasamvarasila.The Five Precepts are for householders. They include no killing, no stealing, no sexual misconduct, no lying, and no alcohol.
The Eight Precepts are for householders who wish to practice chastity and avoid anything that may obstruct chastity practice. The Eight Precepts, which are kept by Buddhists on Buddhist Holy Days, are called Upasatha Sila. The Ten Precepts are kept by novice monks. Patimokkhasamvarasila are the 227 Precepts kept by venerable monks.
Renunciation Perfection (Nekkhamma Parami): The word “Nekhamma” comes from the Pali word “Nekkhammam” which means being removed from sense-desire by taking up the religious life as in “Nekkhammam Abhinikkhami. It means leaving the home in order to take up the religious life as a novice monk by undertaking Pabbajja or as a monk by undertaking Upasampada. At any rate, one is required to undertake Pabbajja before one can undertake Upasampada.
Wisdom Perfection (Panna Parami): The word “Panna” is a Pali word and it means rendering the content or the meaning obvious.The general meaning of Panna includes breadth and depth of knowledge; intelligence which is derived from learning and thinking. In Buddhism, there are three types of Panna: 1. Sutamayapanna Panna derived from listening 2. Cintamayapanna Panna derived from thinking
Bhavanamayapanna Panna derived from training
That virtue is called Bhavana or meditation practice.
Endeavor Perfection (Viriya Parami): The word “Viriya” comes from the Pali word “Viriyam” and it means physical and mental endeavor.
It means endeavoring to pursue all ten Perfections. The pursuit of Perfections requires physical and mental endeavor in that the mind thinks about it and the body does it.“Viriya” In summary, “Viriya” is the courage to do good deeds or the courage to pursue Perfections. Viriya is needed to preserve one’s virtue. Viriya prevents one’s virtue from regressing. It is human nature to regress if we remain inactive or lazy.
Patience or Forbearance Perfection (Khanti Parami): The Pali word “Khanti” means “exercising patience by employing restraint. Khanti means the lack of cruelty. Khanti means not using abusive words. Khanti means a joyful mind.” One point worth noting is the fact that in Buddhism “Khanti” or patience also means a joyful mind. It means that in the face of favorable or unfavorable circumstances alike, and no matter how violent the circumstances. Which is marked by joy, is the source of merit and Perfections.
Truthfulness Perfection (Sacca Parami): The word “Sacca” comes from the Pali Word “Saccam” which means true, correct, right, accurate. Sacca in some cases has the Same meaning as Sila. For example, when one has Sacca, one does not tell lies, one speaks only truthful words; one never says anything that is incorrect even if it means having to incur negative consequences. Sacca also means the intention to do something and the determination to get it done In spite of obstacles and difficulties. It means doing what one says one will do and sayingWhat one has already done. It means keeping one’s promise or word.
Resolution Perfection (Adhisthana Parami): The word “Adhisthana” comes From the Pali word “Adhitthanam” which means a firm belief in good deeds. Adhisthana Means the intention to perform wholesome deeds. When we make a resolute wish, we must first recall the merit or Perfections which we have accumulated in the present and in the past. For example, after we give alms, keep The Precepts or practice meditation, we can make a resolute wish by recalling all of the Merit accumulated in the past up until now to bless us quickly by granting us every wish Fulfillment. And for those who aspire to Buddhahood, they can wish for Buddhahood each Time that they accumulate merit. A resolute wish can be made out loud or silently.
Loving-Kindness Perfection (Metta Parami): The Pali word “Metta” means love And care.60 It means feeling love and goodwill for other living beings and wanting them to Be happy.We may be familiar with the Four Noble Sentiments which include lovingkindness, Compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity. Loving-kindness and equanimity In the Ten Perfections are the same as those in the Four Noble Sentiments. A person that Practices the Four Noble Sentiments all throughout his life will be reborn in the Brahma Realm. Bodhisattas are often reborn in the Brahma Realm because they have practiced the Four Noble Sentiments all throughout their lives.
Loving-kindness can be practiced during two different periods: just before we end Our meditation practice or any time during the day. To practice loving-kindness, we first recall the merit accumulated from our meditation practice or other deeds of merit and then we spread our love and goodwill to all living beings.
Equanimity Perfection (Upekkha Parami): Upekkha is a Pali word which means A neutral state of mind or impartiality.
When the mind is neutral or impartial, it feels neither pleasure nor pain when faced With the vicissitudes of life or “The Eight Worldly Conditions” of gain, loss, fame, obscurity, praise, blame, happiness, and unhappiness. Equanimity causes the mind to remain imperturbable in the same way that the ground is not perturbed by anything be it clean or dirty. In other words, the ground feels neither pain nor pleasure. Upekkha also means an impartial mind. An impartial mind is just and fair. That is, It is not influenced by love, hatred, fear or ignorance.