Doctrines and rituals

Prajnaparamita means ‘perfection of wisdom’ in Sanskrit. In Mahayana Buddhism the concept refers to a state of mind which results from understanding the true nature of things. It is this perfection that distinguishes a bodhisattva. It includes the ultimate knowledge about what things really are, as opposed to what they appear to be. This insight is explained in a body of texts called the Prajnaparamita sutras, which mark the rise of Mahayana Buddhism. Apart from prajna (wisdom), they also discuss the concepts of bodhisattva and emptiness. The perfection of wisdom is embodied by the goddess Prajnaparamita. She is usually depicted showing the teaching gesture, with a lotus in her hand and a book on top of it.