Prajnaparamita, Prajna-paramita, Prajñāpāramitā: 10 definitions



Prajnaparamita means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit. 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

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: The Indian Buddhist Iconography

1) Prajñāpāramitā (प्रज्ञापारमिता) refers to one of the female emanations of Akṣobhya, as mentioned in the 5th-century Sādhanamālā (a collection of sādhana texts that contain detailed instructions for rituals).—Prajñāpāramitā is the embodiment of the Mahāyāna Scripture of the same name which was, according to the Buddhist tradition, restored from the nether regions by Nāgārjuna in the second century A. D. Buddha is said to have entrusted this Book of Transcedental Knowledge to the care of the Nāgas in the nether regions, as in his time people were not sufficiently intelligent to grasp the true meaning of the doctrines it contained.

The worship of Prajñāpāramitā was very popular among the Buddhists, and Ārya Asaṅga is credited to have composed one of the Sādhanas for her worship which is said to confer wisdom and erudition on her devotees Nine Sādhanas in the Sādhanamālā describe the procedure of her worship, and of these only two are assigned to the kula of the Dhyāni Buddha Akṣobhya. She too, like Mañjuśrī, could not be assigned to any one of the Dhyāni Buddhas because the Prajñāpāramitā scripture was chronologically earlier than the Dhyāni Buddhas.

Prajñāpāramitā has several varieties described in the Sādhanamālā, for example: Sitaprajñāpāramitā, Pitaprajñāpāramitā and Kanakaprajñāpāramitā.

2) Prajñāpāramitā (प्रज्ञापारमिता) refers to one of twelve Pāramitā Goddesses in human form, as commonly depicted in Buddhist Iconography, and mentioned in the 11th-century Niṣpannayogāvalī of Mahāpaṇḍita Abhayākara.—Her Colour is yellow; her Symbol is a manuscript on lotus; she has four arms.—The seventh goddess in the series is the famous deity Prajñāpāramitā. Although she is the embodiment of the prajñāpāramitā literature, here she will be described as an embodiment of transcendental intuition and as part of a collection of deities in a group.

Prajñāpāramitā is described in the Niṣpannayogāvalī (dharmadhātuvāgīśvara-maṇḍala) as follows:—

“Prajñāpāramitā is of delightful yellow colour. In her left hand she holds the prajñāpāramitā book on lotus. The two principal hands display the dharmacakra-mudrā”.

[The right hand as usual holds the cintāmaṇi banner. Her statues are found in several places. She is represented also in the Chinese collection at Peiping.

The twelve deities collectively have their spiritual father in Ratnasambhava. [...] According to a statement in the maṇḍala all the deities [viz., Prajñāpāramitā] are two-armed, and they hold in the right hand the flag marked with the Cintāmaṇi jewel, and in the left their special symbols. Prajñāpāramitā is an exception since she has two more hands.]

Tibetan Buddhism book cover
context information

Tibetan Buddhism includes schools such as Nyingma, Kadampa, Kagyu and Gelug. Their primary canon of literature is divided in two broad categories: The Kangyur, which consists of Buddha’s words, and the Tengyur, which includes commentaries from various sources. Esotericism and tantra techniques (vajrayāna) are collected indepently.

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Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

[«previous next»] — Prajnaparamita in Mahayana glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

1) Prajñāpāramitā (प्रज्ञापारमिता) is said to give birth to the Buddhas according to appendix 9 of the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter VII).—“All the Tathāgatas depend on the profound Prajñāpāramitā to realize (sākṣātkāra) the true nature (tathatā), the summit (niṣṭhā) of all dharmas and attain anuttara-samyaksaṃbodhi. That is why it is said that the profound Prajñāpāramitā gives birth to the Buddhas, is ‘the Mother of the Buddhas’”.

2) Prajñāpāramitā (प्रज्ञापारमिता) refers to the “virtue of wisdom” and represents one of the six perfections (pāramitā) according to appendix 6 of the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter VIII). How does the Bodhisattva fulfill the virtue of wisdom (prajñāpāramitā)? Answer: When his great mind reflects (manasikaroti) and analyses (vibhanakti). Thus the Brahmin Govinda, the great minister (mahāmātya), divided the great earth (mahāpṛthivī) of Jambudvīpa into seven parts; he also divided into seven parts a determined number of large and small cities (nagara), of villages (nigama) and hamlets (antarāpaṇa). Such is the virtue of wisdom.

According to Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter XXIX), “what is prajñāpāramitā? Answer.—From the first production of the mind of Bodhi, the Bodhisattvas seek the knowledge of all the aspects (sarvākārajñāna), in the course of which they understand the true nature of dharmas: this wisdom is the prajñāpāramitā”.

Mahayana book cover
context information

Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

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General definition (in Buddhism)

[«previous next»] — Prajnaparamita in Buddhism glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgraha

Prajñāpāramitā (प्रज्ञापारमिता) or simply prajñā refers to the “perfection of wisdom” and represents the last of the “six perferctions” (ṣaṭpāramitā) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 17). The Dharma-samgraha (Dharmasangraha) is an extensive glossary of Buddhist technical terms in Sanskrit (e.g., ṣaṣ-pāramitā and prajñā-pāramitā). The work is attributed to Nagarjuna who lived around the 2nd century A.D.

Prajñāpāramitā forms, besides a part of the “six perferctions” (ṣaṭpāramitā), also a part of the “ten perfections” (daśa-pāramitā).

Source: WikiPedia: Buddhism

The word Prajñāpāramitā combines the Sanskrit words prajñā (wisdom) with pāramitā (perfection). Prajñāpāramitā is a central concept in Mahāyāna Buddhism and its practice and understanding are taken to be indispensable elements of the Bodhisattva Path. The practice of Prajñāpāramitā is elucidated and described in the genre of the Prajñāpāramitā sūtras, which vary widely in length and exhaustiveness. The Perfection of Wisdom Sutras suggest that all things, including oneself, appear as thoughtforms (conceptual constructs). The earliest Mahayana Sutras were of the Prajñāpāramitā type.

Prajñāpāramitā (Sanskrit: प्रज्ञापारमिता) in Buddhism, means "the Perfection of (Transcendent) Wisdom.")

Source: wiki100k: Perfection of Wisdom

Prajñāpāramitā is a Sanskrit term used in Buddhism that translates roughly into English as the "Perfection of Transcendent Wisdom." Prajñāpāramitā is a central concept in Mahāyāna Buddhism and its practice and understanding are taken to be indispensable elements of the Bodhisattva Path. The practice of Prajñāpāramitā is elucidated and described in the genre of the Prajñāpāramitā sūtras, which vary widely in length and exhaustiveness.

Prajñāpāramitā is a generic term for a series of Mahāyāna texts known as the "Perfection of Wisdom" discourses. These texts, the earliest of which date around the 1st century BCE, are among the first known Mahāyāna literature, and are aptly named, due to their special interest in the understanding of the nature of wisdom or prajñā.

Western scholars often consider the earliest sūtra in the Prajñāpāramitā class to be the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra or "Perfection of Wisdom in 8,000 Lines", which was probably put in writing in the 1st century BCE.

Source: Cambridge Digital Library: Pañcarakṣā, Saptavāra

Prajñāpāramitā (प्रज्ञापारमिता) or Parṇaśavarī refers to the fifth of “seven days” (saptavāra) classified as a dhāraṇī according to a 17th-century Sanskrit manuscript from Nepal .—This collection associates each dhāraṇī with a specific day of the week, a tradition going back to at least the sixteenth century in Nepal.

Languages of India and abroad

Sanskrit dictionary

[«previous next»] — Prajnaparamita in Sanskrit glossary
Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Prajñāpāramitā (प्रज्ञापारमिता).—one of the transcendent virtues; Buddh.

Prajñāpāramitā is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms prajñā and pāramitā (पारमिता).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Edgerton Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary

Prajñāpāramitā (प्रज्ञापारमिता).—(see pāramitā 2), as name of a work or class of works, extant in several versions, of which I have excerpted for this study two, Aṣṭasāhasrikāp° (Aṣṭasāhasrikā-prajñāpāramitā) and Śatasāhasrikā-p° (Śatasāhasrikā-prajñāpāramitā), qq.v.; there are other references under the name of Prajñāp° alone: so Mahāvyutpatti 505 refers to, and 506-623 cites, a list of samādhis as Prajñāpāramitodbhavita-(the list occurs Śatasāhasrikā-prajñāpāramitā 1412.8 ff.); so, (Ārya-) Prajñāp° Śikṣāsamuccaya 49.5; 120.11; 313.18, 349.6; 351.9; called Mahatī Praj° Śikṣāsamuccaya 275.14; °tā-parivarta Gaṇḍavyūha 124.26; °tā-mukha-parivarta 125.1 ff.; see also 149.1 ff. et alibi; °tā-pustaka Sādhanamālā 127.5, et alibi; personified and depicted in (Ārya-)Mañjuśrīmūlakalpa, Ārya-pra° 109.27; 318.9; Bhagavatī Pra° 38.11; 40.11; 312.7, 17, 24-25.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

1) Prajñāpāramitā (प्रज्ञापारमिता):—[=pra-jñā-pāramitā] f. perfection in w°, [Kathāsaritsāgara; Kāraṇḍa-vyūha]

2) [v.s. ...] (with, [Buddhist literature]) one of the 6 or 10 transcendent virtues, [Dharmasaṃgraha 17; 18; Monier-Williams’ Buddhism 128]

[Sanskrit to German] (Deutsch Wörterbuch)

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Böhtlingk and Roth Grosses Petersburger Wörterbuch

Prajñāpāramitā (प्रज्ञापारमिता):—s. u. pāramitā .

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family (even English!). Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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