I was recently given a copy of Ajahn Sucitto’s latest free book, “Parami: Ways to Cross Life’s Floods,” and have found it to be one of those rare books that I don’t want to put down, and can’t wait to come back to.
The ten parami (sometimes translated as “ten perfections”) are qualities of heart/mind that the Buddha is said to have developed to perfection before he attained complete freedom. They are particularly relevant to lay people because they’re qualities that can be developed in ordinary life: Generosity, Ethical Conduct, Renunciation, Wisdom, Energy, Patience, Truthfulness, Resolve, Kindness, and Equanimity.
In his introduction, Ajahn Sucitto talks about “crossing the floods” as a metaphor for freedom, and how developing the parami can give us firm ground to stand on. He says:
“Interest in deep change gets triggered by the feeling of being swept along by events; by the sense of being overwhelmed by, and even going under, a tide of worries, duties, and pressures. That’s the ‘floods.’ And crossing them is about coming through all that to find some firm ground. It takes some work, some skill, but we can do it. This book offers some guidelines and themes for practice that can get us fit for the task.” [p11]
These ten parami are powerful supports to our meditation practice too. It’s said that if we come to a place where we don’t feel to be making progress any more, it’s because one or more of the parami is underdeveloped. That has been true in my own practice, and I’ve also observed it in others, too. So this book is a resource to help shine light on those areas of the practice that perhaps need more attention. Each chapter explores one of the parami in depth, drawing on Ajahn Sucitto’s many decades of dedicated dharma practice, and it includes suggestions for working with the parami in daily life as well as in formal meditation.
If you’re interested in reading the book, it’s available as a free download from the Forest Sangha Publications website:
(Donations are always appreciated)
For more information about Ajahn Sucitto, see the Interesting / influential / inspiring teachers page on this website