Parami means perfection or completeness of certain virtues which cultivate a way of purification while reaching a goal of enlightenment. The Buddha completed these ten perfection known as dasa parami before his enlightenment:
Dana parami: generosity, giving of oneself.
This is the beauty and joy of our humanity – being able to love, to share, to be generous; to give without caring whether anyone else knows or acknowleges it
Sila parami: virtue, morality.
Observing Buddhist precepts is a training; we don’t demand that we immediately become perfect. The precepts are guidelines; they help anchor us. They encourage restraint from unskilful actions of body, speech and mind. They uplift us towards that which is noble, good, kind and generous.
Nekkhamma parami: renunciation.
The way of spiritual life is a movement away from the distraction of attaining or acquiring. It is a relinquishing, a letting go. It simplifies our lives, freeing us from that which is unnecessary. There’s no judgement or rejection, it is pure mindfulness developing in the present moment – the only place Truth can be found
Panna parami: wisdom, insight.
Living wisely means we observe our attachments, understand them, and let them go. And we don’t just attach to ideas that we should or shouldn’t be attached to things. Wisdom means we can recognise our own particular forms of pride and attachment to views and opinions, the material world, our teachers and the tradition to which we belong
Viraiya parami: effort, diligence.
Our practice involves a courageous effort to look deeply into things; not merely analysing our personality. We resolve to follow the path until we have profound understanding. Everything fits into the same pattern, the same law: all that arises ceases
Khanti parami: patience, tolerance.
Patient endurance is the foundation of my practice. We need to learn to endure, patiently and kindly, through the troughs of disillusionment, to stop reinforcing old cycles of habit. Then come to cessation – the silence and emptiness of the mind
Sacca parami: truthfulness, honesty.
Sacca Parami – truthfulness – is perfected as a determined willingness to see things as they are in terms of Dhamma and not believe in or be intimidated by one’s own views, opinions and feelings
Adhitthana parami: determination, resolution.
Practice is voluntary; there is no compulsion. The energy required has to come from within – from our own hearts. Don’t expect someone else to enlighten you. Your effort can be useless if all you’re doing is rearranging your actions of body and mind so you become a Buddhist. That’s not liberation
Metta parami: loving, kindness.
Metta is kindness with awareness. It doesn’t mean we resign ourselves to mediocrity or to tyranny. It means that we don’t get caught in the old patterns of fear, depression, jealousy or resentment. When we stop dwelling in aversion for ourselves or others it is easier to bear with the vicissitudes of life
Upekkha parami: equanimity, serenity.
When we’re mindful, creativity is spontaneous – there’s no attachment to ideas and memories of self. There’s no one who loves or is loved; there’s no personal being that is created. Being mindful in this way, we find the real expression of kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity that is always fresh, always kind, patient and ever-forgiving of oneself and others.
Ajahn Sumedho - From the Amaravati calendar 2011