Prajna (Sanskrit, “wisdom, consciousness”), in Hinduism, means the competence of atman to realize itself for what it is, and so to abide in this state as in a dreamless sleep.

In Buddhism, (Palipanna; Japanese, hannya) is the third heading of the three into which the eightfold path is divided; such as, the right thought and the right view constitutes wisdom. Although Mahayana initially criticized the placement of panna at the apex, and balanced it with karma and compassion, prajna became central to Mahayana as the awareness which cannot be achieved by propositions, arguments, or concepts. Supremely, it is the direct awareness of sunyata, emptiness of self, in the instance of all appearance. A.G.H.


Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 759