Parable Of The Burning House Analysis

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I believe that popularity of The Parable of the Burning House is partially due to the fact that it discusses a couple of key aspects of the Lotus Sutra. The idea of suffering and the idea of skillful means are both central concepts of the Lotus Sutra; both skillful means and suffering are addressed in this parable. I believe that this parable’s representation of skillfull means lays the foundation for the many references to skilfull means that follows.
Before discussing the parable I want to quickly give some background information on both suffering and skillful means. According to the Four Noble Truths suffering comes from desire/clinging/craving. People might not be aware that the suffering they are feeling is due to their desire and lack
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The children are caught up in their play and not understanding the danger they are in, they continue to play. The father pleads with them and he even considers physically carrying his children out of the house on a palette but he then worries that they might fall when he carries them through a narrow doorway. Rather than risking the safety of his children he instead tells them that if they come out of the house he will give them goat carriages, ox carriages, and deer carriages. The children, engaged by this offer of carriages, immediately get up and exit the burning house. Once the children leave the burning house they find one magnificent carriage and they are overcome with …show more content…
The children were surrounded by this dangerous, consuming fire and all they wanted to do was continue to play because they did not understand the danger in which they were playing. This is similar to how people are consumed by their desires and might not even be aware of the suffering and pain it causes. The father considered using force -- the same way people consider shoving beliefs down other people 's throats -- but he then realized that convincing his children with words was better. The father convinced the children to leave the house with words that are personally engaging to them; this is where the idea of skillful means comes in. Rather than risking losing his children by using force he used words fitting their specific desires in order to convince them to leave. One thing that should be noted is the fact the father promised many carriages and in the end he only gave his children one, grand carriage. Many questions stem from this particular section of the parable. Did the father lie? Is lying or manipulation okay if it benefits the person being lied to? Was the father somehow being honest? This question about whether or not skilfull means is morally correct is a good one but I believe that the answer to this will mostly depend on the personal morals of the

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