FOURTH PRE-REQUISITE FOR BUDDHA-HOOD
Panna is the fourth of the Ten Pre-requisite for Buddha-hood. "Panna" literally means Right Knowledge - the knowledge that leads to non-controversial conclusions. This is also called Wisdom. But, in this particular case "PANNA" means the realization in its actual and true light the impermanent nature of everything that bears a "Name and Form", and being freed from the view of "Egoism" and "Selfishness".
The Lord has said: "Wisdom is an ornamental gem to man!"
As Wisdom helps a person to perform the duties of a monk without any flaw, and as it helps one to keep up to a pure and untainted monasticism, it is placed next to Renunciation in position.
Any act committed for the acquirement of merits, without being in a state of "Panna" cannot be pure, hence that would not yield good results. Our Bodhisatta who acquired this state of wisdom and who did many a time serve others with his own body and limb did not consider himself as higher than others, or the others as lower than him, because of his "Panna". Thus we see that "Panna" leads its gainer to observe equanimity towards all living beings.
Any act of charity that is done with the expectation of reaping the benefits of the action is compares with interest. Thus the practiser, instead of giving up attachment and desire, grows them increasingly, whereby he lengthens his course in this search for freedom. But Bodhisatta, with "Panna" in him never committed any charitable act with such motives, but with the main motive of destroying Tanha, Craving, Desire, Mana or pride, Dosa or Anger, etc., thus shortening his course on the path for freedom.
Energy devoid of "Panna" is not capable of attaining success. To bear up another's vengeance is an act of wisdom. Such wise men will always be well balances in happiness or unhappiness or in lost or gain. The wise lead others into wise paths, teach them to avoid evil, and purify their own mind.
The following practices help the development of Panna in man: -
Like the Bhikkhu who goes begging for food, from house to house irrespective of the rich or poor, the high or low, our Bodhisatta gained knowledge from everyone regardless of their position, caste or creed, and also imparted unto them without the least unwillingness, the knowledge he had gained.
"Panna" makes a person deserved of reverence, honor and fame. It gits him with not only true friendship, real wealth etc., etc., in this world, but also with everlasting happiness hereafter.
Buddhist metaphysics teaches us that the universe is in a state of constant flux, being governed by the Law of Dependent Origination. One thing rises depending on another, and that in turn, gives rise to another, so it goes on and on-ad infinitum. According to this law there is nothing in the whole universe that can be conceived of as "Permanent" or "Unchanging". So it follows that everything is impermanent, transitory or "Aniccam". The wisdom that can realized this Principle Truth in its actuality and true light only is called "Panna".
"Should one find a man who points out faults and who reproves as if indicating a hidden treasure, let him follow such a wise and sagacious person. It is always better and never worse, to cultivate such an association."
Dhammapada, Panditavagga Verse 1