Lotus Sutra Skillful Means

1985 Words 8 Pages
Skillful means is a historically famous way of spreading the Buddha’s teachings. The goal of skillful means is to help lead others into enlightenment. However, some examples of skillful means may seem unintuitive or contradictory. For instance, Vimalakirti’s lecturing seems to shame his fellow disciples rather than help them achieve enlightenment. On the other hand, the Lotus Sutra presents opposing ideas about skillful means such as the existence of lesser teachings despite having only one true Dharma. To better comprehend these inconsistencies, readers must consider the differences in how skillful means is used, as well as the relationships between the facilitator of skillful means, and the receiver.
To understand the methods of skillful
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On the other hand, Vimalakirti lowers himself to the level of the follower to show him or her the true Dharma. To differentiate these methods, it’s important to explore the relationship between the facilitator of skillful means and the receiver of skillful means. In the Lotus Sutra, there is a difference is in authority of the facilitator and receiver. For instance, in the parable of the burning house, the facilitator is the father, while the receivers are his children (113). Similar relationships can be seen in the “Parable of the Fantastic Castle-City” and “Lifetime of the Tathagata”, where the facilitator is a leader and doctor, while the receivers are group members and patients respectively. Thus, the Lotus Sutra assumes that the facilitator holds an influential, higher position over the receiver. On the other hand, Vimalakirti is shown multiple times to be on the same position as the receiver. However, Vimalakirti is described as “expert of in knowing the thoughts and actions of living beings” as well as praised by all Buddhas for his ability to “develop living beings” (12). Thus, Vimalakirti is assumed to have the ability and compassion to look out for the well-being of all living

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