skill-in-means, expedient means
[Buddha skill-in-means]
Buddha, Lotus Sutra, Bodhisattva

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Buddha & expedient means
or skill-in-means


  Mahayana Buddhism upholds the Bodhisattva as the role model for those who make spiritual progress. Bodhisattvas, who can come from lay as well as monastic backgrounds, are held to be spiritual adepts who themselves, out of an infinite compassion, deliberately pause upon the brink of attaining Nirvana such that they may use their energies toward helping many other persons to achieve salvation themselves. 

  According to Mahayana Buddhism one of the attributes of a Bodhisattva is to use skill-in-means or upaya-kausalya. This refers to the ability to present Buddhist teachings in such a way as to be be understood by audiences with different levels of comprehension. Hence skill-in-means is ultimately an instrument of compassion which means that no individual is denied the dharma or teaching. One interpretation that all Buddhist teachings are merely conceptual frameworks to aid the practitioner towards enlightenment. They are not ultimately truths in themselves. As an individual approaches enlightenment, all concepts will be dispensed with, just as crutches are dispensed with by someone who no longer has any need for them.

  The concept of skill-in-means is expounded upon in The Lotus Sutra where the Buddha states that he has used countless expedient means to guide living beings and cause them to renounce attachments.  
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