image of prajnaparamita
name of prajnaparamita
pra jñā pā ra mi tā

Prajñāpāramitā is a goddess of Wisdom. She is closely associated with the Perfection of Wisdom tradition, and indeed her name is usually translated as "Perfection of Wisdom". The Perfection of Wisdom tradition is one of the two great philosophical traditions of Mahāyana Buddhism. It is closely associated with Nagārjuna who is said to have retrieved the texts from the Nagas. Prajñāpāramitā is the personification of the prajñā. Vessantara calls her "the book that became a goddess", and the tradition itself refers to her as the "Mother of all the Buddhas".

There are several forms of Prajñāpāramitā although she is always portrayed as a mature woman, with full breasts. In this four armed form her two main arms are held in the meditation mudra. The upper right arm is lightly holding a vajra, while the upper left arm holds the Aṣṭasahaśrika Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra - the Perfection of Wisdom in 8000 lines.

Seed Syllable

Seed syllable 'dhih' in the Siddham script


The seed syllable of Prajñāpāramitā, dhīḥ, is also associated with Mañjuśrī.

See also my essay The Seed Syllable of Perfect Wisdom.



Mantra of Prajnaparamita in the Siddham script

Tibetan - Uchen

Mantra of Prajnaparamita in the Tibetan script


oṃ āḥ dhīḥ hūṃ svā hā

Clearly this mantra is not translatable into English as it is composed entirely of seed syallables (taking svāhā as a bīja)

To date I have not found any exegesis of this mantra - JR

The syllables individually: oṃ | āḥ | dhīḥ | hūṃ | svāhā


Because of interest in the Heart Sūtra mantra, which is also known as the "Prajñāpāramitā mantra" this mantra is often overlooked. People are often surprised to discover that Prajñāpāramitā has her own mantra.

The text mentioned above, the Aṣṭasahaśrika Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra, along with its verse summary the Ratnaguṇasaṁcayagāthā, is the earliest of the Perfection of Wisdom text. It was first translated into Chinese in 179 CE, which puts it amongst the the first Buddhist texts to be translated in China. The Aṣṭasahaśrika is the archetypal Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra.

Another Prajñāpāramitā mantra


Another Mantra of Prajnaparamita in the Siddham script


oṃ na mo bha ga va tyai ā rya pra jñā pā ra mi tā yai

oṃ namo bhagavatyai āryaprajñāpāramitāyai


oṃ homage to the blessed noble perfection of wisdom


This homage is found at the beginning of Prajñāpāramitā sūtras, and Edward Conze often quotes it in his translations of Prajñāpāramitā texts. Conze, in a poetic mood, has also translated it as: Oṃ Homage to the Perfection of Wisdom the Lovely, the Holy!

Bhagava means "fortunate", or "blessed". It is one of the most common ways of referring to the Buddha and is now frequently translated as the Blessed One. Ārya means "noble", and originates from the word which the Vedic speaking tribes of Central Asia used to refer to themselves in contradistinction to the indigenous tribes of India and Persia. The word Iran, is a Persian version of the word Āryan.

Other Resources