Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Prajna Mean?

In Buddhism, prajna is the ultimate understanding of the true nature of existence and reality. It is a Sanskrit word derived from the roots pra, meaning “beginning” or “premium,” and jna, meaning “consciousness” or “understanding.” Prajna is a state of pure consciousness that transcends worldly concepts or belief systems that might impede perfect wisdom. It is considered to be direct insight into the truth received from the teachings of Buddha and it is needed in order to reach enlightenment.

In a spiritual yoga practice, many individuals practice asanas and meditation to reflect inward and move themselves toward prajna.


Yogapedia Explains Prajna

In Buddhist philosophy, there are three stages of prajna that an individual goes through. The first stage is studying and listening to dharma, which results in understanding. The second stage consists of contemplating that knowledge and understanding received in the first stage, which results in full ingestion of the truth. The third stage of prajna is when an individual comes to complete awareness and realization of the Truth, which results in a state of resting meditation and enlightenment, where one is continuously mindful of the Truth.

In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, he writes that prajna is a state of perfection that a master yogi can reach after moving into samadhi (a state of meditative consciousness), which is the eighth and final limb of yoga.

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