The Parable Of The Burning House Essay

875 Words Oct 19th, 2015 4 Pages
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 of understanding of impermanence. Skillful means according to Niwano means tactfulness. As we discussed in class, saying something in a tactful way means saying things in a way “that works with other people.”
In the Parable of the Burning House an elder realizes his house is completely on fire and immediately he tells his children to leave the house. 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…

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