Volume 23, 2016
“To Whom Does Kisā Gotamī Speak?” Grief, Impermanence, and Upāya
Richard K. Payne
Institute of Buddhist Studies, at the Graduate Theological Union
This article develops a perspective on the nature of Buddhist pastoral care by considering the needs of the bereaved. Differentiating the interpretive frameworks of different audiences and understanding different contexts of interpersonal relations are necessary for effective pastoral care. A distinction between the goal of realizing impermanence and the goal of resolving mourning is heuristically useful in theorizing Buddhist pastoral care. The discussion also seeks to underscore the value of upāya as a positive moral injunction on teachers, indicating the need to properly match their audience and to employ the textual tradition responsibly.