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Prajñ? (Sanskrit) or paññ? (P?li) "wisdom" is insight in the true nature of reality, namely primarily anicca (impermanence), dukkha (dissatisfaction or suffering), anatt? (non-self) and nyat? (emptiness).
Prajñ? is often translated as "wisdom", but is closer in meaning to "insight", "non-discriminating knowledge", or "intuitive apprehension".
jñ? can be translated as "consciousness", "knowledge", or "understanding".[web 1]
Pra is an intensifier which can be translated as "higher", "greater", "supreme" or "premium",[web 2] or "being born or springing up", referring to a spontaneous type of knowing.
Understanding in the Buddhist traditions
Paññ? is the fourth virtue of ten Therav?da p?ramit?s, and the sixth of the six Mah?y?na p?ramit?s.
In the 5th-century exegetical work Visuddhimagga, one of the most revered books in Theravada Buddhism, Buddhagho?a states that the function of paññ? is "to abolish the darkness of delusion".
In Mahayana Buddhism, the importance of prajna was stressed in combination with karuna, compassion. It took a central place in the Prajñ?-p?ramit? Sutras, such as the Heart Sutra. Prajna is spoken of as the principal means of attaining nirv?na, through its revelation of the true nature of all things as emptiness.
^Richard Gombrich (2006). Theravada Buddhism. Routledge. p. 47. ISBN978-1-134-90352-8., Quote: "All phenomenal existence [in Buddhism] is said to have three interlocking characteristics: impermanence, suffering and lack of soul or essence."