Paramattha, aka: Parāmaṭṭha; 8 Definition(s)


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)

[Paramattha in Theravada glossaries]

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

(Source): Dhamma Dana: Pali English Glossary

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): Journey to Nibbana: Patthana Dhama

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): Buddhist Information: A Survey of Paramattha Dhammas

(-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.

(Source): Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines
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)

[Paramattha in Buddhism glossaries]

There are 4 Paramattha / Ultimate Realities:

  1. Rupa
  2. Citta
  3. Cetasika
  4. Nibbana
(Source): Wisdom Library: Buddhism

Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

[Paramattha in Pali glossaries]

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

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise 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)

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

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

Relevant definitions

Search found 35 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Paramattha Dhamma
lit: 'Ultimate Realties'.
Paramattharupa (rupa in its ultimate sense ).—Rupa serve various functions in connection with n...
Paramattha Sacca
'ultimate truth'; There are two kinds of truth, one is conventional truth, like our concept ...
Rūpa (रूप) represents one of the four stages of creation corresponding to the Ājñā-cakra, and i...
Tathāgata (तथागत).—a. 1) being in such a state or condition; तथागतायां परिहासपूर्वम् (tathāgatā...
Saṃsāra (संसार).—One in the line of Gurus. (See under Guruparaṃpara).
Puggala, (cp. Class. Sk. pudgala, etym. connected with puṃs, although the fantastic expln of na...
Deśanā (देशना).—f. Direction, injunction, laying down; सर्वास्वेव वैकृतीषु देशनासु प्राकृतं धर्...
Ātman (आत्मन्).—m. [at-maniṇ Uṇ 4.152 said to be from an to breathe also] 'आत्मा यत्नो धृतिर्बु...
Abhidhamma (अभिधम्म) refers to a set of teachings according to the Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (ch...
Sattā (सत्ता) refers to one of the seventy-two sama-varṇavṛtta (regular syllabo-quantitative ve...
Viśuddhi (विशुद्धि).—f.1) Purification; तदङ्गसंसर्गमवाप्य कल्पते ध्रुवं चिताभस्मरजो विशुद्धये (...
saccā (सच्चा).—a Veracious, true, sincere.
anatta : (adj.) soul-less. (m.), non-ego. -- or -- āṇatta : (pp. of āṇāpeti) commanded; being o...
Dīpana (दीपन).—a. [dīp ṇic lyu lyuṭ vā]1) Kindling, inflaming, &c.2) Digestive, tonic.3) Exciti...

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