Douglass Smith on the significance of skillful means in Buddhism
Doug's Dharma

Douglass Smith on the significance of skillful means in Buddhism

In this talk explores the historical and symbolic importance of Skillful Means in as depicted in texts.

Doug traces the origins of Skillful Means back to the ’s decision to teach the despite initial hesitations due to misconceptions among the people.

The conversation highlights the Buddha’s adept use of Skillful Means, exemplified by his innovative reframing of common terms and likening the Dharma to a raft guiding individuals across the river of towards .

Although the term “skillful means” is not frequently mentioned in early Buddhism, Doug references examples such as a skilled boatman and the significance of in deepening one’s Dharma practice.

An early poem attributed to the Buddha’s half brother praises the Buddha’s skillful means in helping him overcome sense through an unconventional method involving the promise of rewards in his next life.

Furthermore, Doug explores why the Buddha may have offered rewards to monastics upon achieving enlightenment and introduces the idea of Skillful Means using the parable of the burning house from the .

This parable symbolizes the path and presents a fresh perspective on the journey towards enlightenment.

In wrapping up, Doug reflects on the profound significance of Skillful Means in Buddhism and hints at further exploration of the topic in the upcoming video installment.

References

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Upaya Zen Center
Khyentse Foundation - US
Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition
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