Tag Archives: skilful means

Review: Buddhist Philosophy of Life from the Vimalakīrti Sūtra

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 29, 2022

Living Skillfully: Buddhist Philosophy of Life from the Vimalakīrti Sūtra. By Dale S. Wright. New York: Oxford University Press, 2021, 176 pages. ISBN 978-0-19-758735-5 (hard-back), $29.95/ 978-0-19-758737-9 (e-book), $19.99.

Reviewed by Christopher W. Gowans

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Grief, Impermanence, and Upāya

ISSN 1076-9005
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.

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Appropriate Means as an Ethical Doctrine in the Lotus Sūtra

Volume 5 1998

Appropriate Means as an Ethical Doctrine in the Lotus Sūtra

Gene Reeves
Rikkyo University

In this paper I claim that upāya or hōben in the Lotus Sūtra, contrary to how it has often been translated and understood, is an ethical doctrine, the central tenet of which is that one should not do what is expedient but rather what is good, the good being what will actually help someone else, which is also known as bodhisattva practice. Further, the doctrine of hōben is relativistic. No doctrine, teaching, set of words, mode of practice, etc. can claim absoluteness or finality, as all occur within and are relative to some concrete situation. But some things, doing the right thing in the right situation, can be efficacious, sufficient for salvation.

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