Ten Qualities Leading to Awakening

Monijiao photo copyright Mark Baker, used with permission.

The term used for the ten qualities leading to awakening, or “Buddhahood”, is “Parami” (Paramita), which means “perfection.” These include:

  • Perfection in giving
  • Perfection in morality
  • Perfection in renunciation
  • Perfection in wisdom
  • Perfection in energy
  • Perfection in patience (forbearance)
  • Perfection in truthfulness
  • Perfection in resolution
  • Perfection in loving-kindness
  • Perfection in equanimity

These qualities were developed and brought to maturity by the Bodhisatta in his past existences, and his way of practicing them is illustrated in many of the Birth Stories (Jataka), of which only the verses that are regarded as canonical.

It is said that through developing the Four Sublime States (Loving-Kindness, Compassion, Altruistic Joy, Equanimity), one may reach these Ten Perfections, namely:

As the Great Being (maha-satta) is concerned about the welfare of living beings, not tolerating the suffering of beings, wishing long duration to the higher states of happiness of beings, and being impartial and just to all beings, therefore:

1) They give Alms to all beings so that they may be happy, without investigating whether they are worthy or not.

2) By avoiding to do them any harm, they observe Morality.

3) In order to bring morality to perfection, they train themselves in Renunciation.

4) In order to understand clearly what is beneficial and injurious to beings, they purify their Wisdom.

5) For the sake of the welfare and happiness of others they constantly exert their Energy.

6) Through having become heroes through utmost energy, they are nevertheless full of Forbearance towards the manifold failings of beings.

7) Once they have promised to give or do something, they do not break their promise (Truthfulness).

8) With unshakable Resolution they work for the weal and welfare of beings.

9) With unshakable kindness they are helpful to all.

10) By reason of their Equanimity they do not expect anything in return.

In addition to the Ten Perfections, we practice the Twelve Virtues, which are embodied within the Ten Perfections, namely:

  • Royalty (realizing the origin of the true self)
  • Wisdom
  • Victory (self control, detachment from materialism)
  • Contentment
  • Purity (Religious Zeal)
  • Truth (speech, beliefs, morals, path, religion)
  • Faith (unerring, skillful, not having doubts)
  • Patience (and endurance of wrongs)
  • Sincerity
  • Kindness
  • Justice (uniformity of heart, impartiality)
  • Light (one mind with the Buddha, total light within and without, unity with the Teaching or Dharma of the Buddha and with the community or Sangha of devotees)

Jing-huo-feng (the Living Spirit) teaches us:

“If you learn only one thing in your life, let that one thing be loving kindness. Develop a heart of compassion, grace and loving kindness for all sentient beings and you will begin to find true happiness and peace. May each of you spread loving-kindness to all sentient beings without bias. Spread loving-kindness to everyone.”

“Kindness is an outward expression of an awakened mind. Kindness should always be viewed as an obligation. Like a mirror that reflects the sun upon the wall, reflect on everyone the kindness others show you. Share loving kindness with others as freely as the snows fall upon the highest mountain tops.”

“Extend kindness to all peoples, regardless of their beliefs, but do not accept their illusions for your beliefs. You shall respect the fact that others have the privilege to believe or disbelieve anything they wish. They have the privilege of choosing death or life. The choice is theirs. There is an accounting for everything.”

“After you share the Dharma with others, and they still disrespect you or attempt to waste your time, move on, for your time on the earth is limited and you shall reach as many as possible with your message. But do not judge those who reject what you have shared. Their judgment is not in your hands.”

“Be courageous but also humble and continue to have compassion for those in the world who have no understanding of the Truth.”

“Develop compassion for all sentient beings, always maintaining selflessness toward everyone so that you may remain as a shining example of the Religion of Light.”

“Develop a compassionate heart and never be idle in your work for the liberation of all sentient beings.”

“Have compassion for the poor and downtrodden and all those who are persecuted for their lot in life. Do not discriminate towards those who are poor or lowly or because of their color or sexual orientation or because of their name or country of origin. You shall demonstrate compassion for all living beings and provide for their spiritual needs.”

Ajahn Jyoti teaches us:

“Give Alms not only to the Elders, but also you should make it your practice to give to all those who are in need. When doing so, you should not be too concerned as to their beliefs or practices.”

“Generate loving kindness for all living beings; be grateful for all that you have and when possible, demonstrate your loving kindness by sharing with those who are less fortunate and in need.”

“Recall the good of loved ones who passed away regardless of their tradition.”

“If beings are in need, and you are able to provide for them, help them with giving, whether this is in the form of food, money or time and energy. Practice tolerance, O sons and daughters of Light, toward those who do not know or those who have difficulty understanding the Precepts. Practice justice towards all living beings with loving kindness and compassion.”

“Be faithful in your promises, do as you have said you will according to your ability. When giving to others, in whatever form of charity it may be, do it with great resolution, to the best of your ability and do not expect to receive anything in return for your gifts of kindness and compassion.”

“Train your mind not to wander; practice meditation; strive for perfection and uphold the Triple Gem as the more important matter in life.”


* Buddhist Dictionary by Nyanatiloka, 1946.

* The Teaching of the Divine Messenger.

* The Teaching of Ajahn Jyoti, International Sangha of the Venerable Light.

Article added by Tenzin Bhikkhu