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Theravada Paramitas

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International Buddhist College Course: BL6204/ME6204 Pali Literature September 3, 2009 Submitted by Hoang Van Minh

Topic: Discuss the Theravada Concept of Paramita (Perfection) as Revealed in the Pali Commentaries

1. Introduction

Pali Atthakatha is the huge part of the study of Pali literature in Buddhism. The atthakatha means the “explanation of the meaning” or “commentary” and can be mentioned as exegetical treatises on the texts of the Pali canon. Their main object is, therefore, to explain difficult words and abstruse points of doctrine that occur in the Texts and also to give additional explanatory information wherever it was deemed necessary.[1] For that reason Atthakatha is usually considered as the huge encyclopedia of Buddhist study. One can find in this precious treasure any interpretations of the Buddhist terminology, idea and philosophical explanation on Tipitakas; for almost the Pali Tipitaka has its own commentary.

The concept of Paramitas is well-known not only in Mahayana tradition with the aim of complete enlightenment but also it is interpreted in almost by the same way in Theravada especially it is revealed in commentaries literature. Historically along the process of development, there are many arguments and misunderstandings between these two traditions especially while Mahayana developed many new concepts like the concept and practice of bodhisattva with numerous skillful means (upāyaksalya) which seem to go too far away from the orthodox teaching of the Buddha according to the Theravada tradition. However it is said that within the Pali commentaries many doctrinal agreements between these two traditions are found. Hence, it is very important to study Pali commentaries so that one can find the original teachings or the spirit of Buddhism among such agreements. In order to understand this statement we come...

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