6. Prajna Paramta: Perfection of Wisdom
In Mahayana Buddhism, wisdom is the direct and intimate realization of sunyata, or emptiness. Very simply, this is the teaching that all phenomena are without self-essence.
Prajna is the ultimate perfection that includes all other perfections. The late Robert Aitken Roshi wrote, “The Sixth Paramita is Prajna, the raison d’être of the Buddha Way. If Dana is the entry to the Dharma, then Prajna is its realization and the other Paramitas are Prajna in alternate form.” (The Practice of Perfection, p. 107)
That all phenomena are without self-essence may not strike you as especially wise, but as you work with prajna teachings the significance of sunyata becomes more and more evident, and the importance of sunyata to Mahayana Buddhism cannot be overstated.
However, this wisdom cannot be understood by intellect alone. So how do we understand it? Through the practice of the other perfections — generosity, morality, patience, energy. and meditation.
Read More: “Sunyata, or Emptiness: The Perfection of Wisdom“