With reference to the cultural history of India, which one of the following is the correct description of the term ‘paramitas’?
[UPSC Civil Services Exam – 2020 Prelims]
(a) The earliest Dharmashastra texts written in aphoristic (sutra) style
(b) Philosophical schools that did not accept the authority of Vedas
(c) Perfections whose attainment led to the Bodhisattva path
(d) Powerful merchant guilds of early medieval South India
- The term ‘paramita’ in Buddhism is often translated as “perfection.” According to Buddhist teachings, there is a path that involves the cultivation and refinement of specific qualities, leading the practitioner toward becoming an Enlightened Universal Buddha (Samma Sambuddha) or Bodhisattva. These qualities are referred to as the Paramis (perfections) in the Southern traditions and the Paramitas in the Eastern and Northern traditions.
- The Ten Paramitas encompass the following qualities:
- Skilful means
- While there may be slight variations in the terminology used, the two sets of qualities from the Southern and Northern traditions share similarities in their essence and purpose.
Therefore, option (c) is the correct answer.