Paramattha, Parāmaṭṭha, Parama-attha: 8 definitions


Paramattha means something in Buddhism, Pali. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

[«previous next»] — Paramattha in Theravada glossary
Source: Dhamma Dana: Pali English Glossary

M (Absolute reality). The universe is constituted with four paramatthas.

Source: Journey to Nibbana: Patthana Dhama

Paramattha is a Pali word. It is made up of parama and attha. Attha means meaning essence intrinsic existence. Parama means farthest superior highest most excellent est. So paramattha dhamma means most excellent intrinsic essence or ultimate realities.

Source: Buddhist Information: A Survey of Paramattha Dhammas

The Pali term paramattha is derived from parama, superior, highest, and attha, which is meaning. Paramattha Dhammas are realities in the highest or ultimate sense.

Source: Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines

(-sacca, -vacana, -desanā): 'truth (or term, exposition) that is true in the highest (or ultimate) sense', as contrasted with the 'conventional truth' (vohāra-sacca), which is also called 'commonly accepted truth' (sammuti-sacca; in Skr: samvrti-satya).

The Buddha, in explaining his doctrine, sometimes used conventional language and sometimes the philosophical mode of expression which is in accordance with undeluded insight into reality. In that ultimate sense, existence is a mere process of physical and mental phenomena within which, or beyond which, no real ego-entity nor any abiding substance can ever be found. Thus, whenever the suttas speak of man, woman or person, or of the rebirth of a being, this must not be taken as being valid in the ultimate sense, but as a mere conventional mode of speech (vohāra-vacana).

It is one of the main characteristics of the Abhidhamma Pitaka, in distinction from most of the Sutta Pitaka, that it does not employ conventional language, but deals only with ultimates, or realities in the highest sense (paramattha-dhammā). But also in the Sutta Pitaka there are many expositions in terms of ultimate language (paramattha-desanā), namely, wherever these texts deal with the groups (khandha), elements (dhātu) or sense-bases (āyatana), and their components; and wherever the 3 characteristics (ti-lakkhana) are applied. The majority of Sutta texts, however, use the conventional language, as appropriate in a practical or ethical context, because it "would not be right to say that 'the groups' (khandha) feel shame, etc."

It should be noted, however, that also statements of the Buddha couched in conventional language, are called 'truth' (vohāra-sacca), being correct on their own level, which does not contradict the fact that such statements ultimately refer to impermanent and impersonal processes.

The two truths - ultimate and conventional - appear in that form only in the commentaries, but are implied in a sutta-distinction of 'explicit (or direct) meaning' (nītattha, q.v.) and 'implicit meaning (to be inferred)' (neyyattha). Further, the Buddha repeatedly mentioned his reservations when using conventional speech, e.g. in D. 9: "These are merely names, expressions, turns of speech, designations in common use in the world, which the Perfect One (Tathāgata) uses without misapprehending them." See also S. I. 25.

The term paramattha, in the sense here used, occurs in the first para. of the Kathāvatthu, a work of the Abhidhamma Pitaka (s. Guide, p. 62). (App: vohāra).

The commentarial discussions on these truths (Com. to D. 9 and M. 5) have not yet been translated in full. On these see K N. Jayatilleke, Early Buddhist Theory of Knowledge (London, 1963), pp. 361ff.

In Mahāyana, the Mādhyamika school has given a prominent place to the teaching of the two truths.

Source: Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines

s. Paramattha (“reality”). - Vision and knowledge according to r.- s. vipassanā 15.

context information

Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

Discover the meaning of paramattha in the context of Theravada from relevant books on Exotic India

General definition (in Buddhism)

[«previous next»] — Paramattha in Buddhism glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Buddhism

There are 4 Paramattha / Ultimate Realities:

  1. Rupa
  2. Citta
  3. Cetasika
  4. Nibbana

Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

[«previous next»] — Paramattha in Pali glossary
Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

paramattha : (m.) the highest ideal; truth in the ultimate sense. || parāmaṭṭha (pp. of parāmasati) touched; held on to; was attached; caressed.

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary

Parāmaṭṭha, (pp. of parāmasati) touched, grasped, usually in bad sense: succumbing to, defiled, corrupted D. I, 17; for a different, commentarial interpretation see Parāmāsa (evaṃ° so acquired or taken up; cp. DA. I, 107: nirāsaṅka-cittatāya punappuna āmaṭṭha); S. II, 94; Nd2 152 (gahita p. abhiniviṭṭha; cp. gahessasi No. 227); Dhs. 584, 1177, 1500; Sdhp. 332.—dup° wrongly grasped, misused S. I, 49.—apparāmaṭṭha (cp. BSk. aparāmṛṣta not affected Mvyutp. p. 84) untarnished, incorrupt D. II, 80 (cp. Dial II. 85); III, 245; S. II, 70; A. III, 36. (Page 421)

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Paramattha refers to: (cp. class. Sk. paramārtha) the highest good, ideal; truth in the ultimate sense, philosophical truth (cp. Kvu trsl. 180; J. P. T. S. 1914, 129 sq.; Cpd. 6, 81); Arahantship Sn. 68 (=vuccati Amataṃ Nibbānaṃ etc. Nd2 409), 219 (°dassin); Nd2 26; Miln. 19, 31; °dīpanī Exposition of the Highest Truth, N. of the Commentary on Th, Vv and Pv; mentioned e.g. at PvA. 71; °jotikā id. , N. of the C. on Kh and Sn, mentioned e.g. at KhA 11.—As °-, in Instr. and Abl. used adverbially in meaning of “in the highest sense, absolutely, kat) e)coxήn, primarily, ideally, in an absolute sense, ” like °pāramī Bu I. 77 °visuddhi A. V, 64; °saññita Th. 2, 210; °suñña Ps. II, 184; °suddhi SnA 528; Abl. paramatthato Miln. 28; VvA. 24 (manusso), 30 (bhikkhu), 72 (jīvitindriyaṃ); PvA. 146 (pabbajito, corresponding to anavasesato), 253 (na koci kiñci hanati=not at all); Instr. paramatthena Miln. 71 (vedagū), 268 (sattûpaladdhi).

Note: paramattha is a Pali compound consisting of the words parama and attha.

Pali book cover
context information

Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

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