Skillful Means

The perfection of skillfulness (upaya paramita) is the capacity to select and apply suitable teachings, practices, or methods in order to help others on the path to enlightenment, according to place, time, and individual circumstance (desha-kala-patra).  

Skillfulness is the ability to adapt the message to the audience and the situation. Even if a view or practice is not ultimately “true” in the absolute sense, it may still be an expedient means to bring the practitioner closer to realization.  

Sentient beings vary according to capacity, maturity, and disposition. Thus, the Buddha Shakyamuni applied skillful means in teaching various types of disciples in different ways. 

The Three Views:

  1. the Dharma Wheel of Cause and Effect
  2. the Dharma Wheel of Emptiness
  3. the Dharma Wheel of Suchness

 

The Three Practices:

  1. Individual Liberation
  2. Gradual Universal Enlightenment
  3. Swift Universal Enlightenment

 

The Three Gates:

  1. The Holy Path (self-power)
  2. The Pure Land (other-power)
  3. Entrance to the Holy Path through the Gate of the Pure Land (all-power) 

The doctrine of skillful means is not a license to falsify the Dharma. Bodhisattvas seek to understand place, time, and circumstance in order to apply the most suitable combination of View, Practice, and Gate for each sentient being.  

About Tashi Nyima

I am a Dharma student, and aspire to be a companion on the path. I trust that these texts can offer a general approach and basic tools for practicing the Buddha's way to enlightenment. ||| Soy un estudiante del Dharma, y aspiro a ser un compañero en el sendero. Espero que estos textos ofrezcan a algunos un mapa general y herramientas básicas para la práctica del sendero a la iluminación que nos ofrece el Buda.
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