Truth, Deception, and Skillful Means in the Lotus Sutra (English)

In: Asian Philosophy   ;  21 ,  1  ;  35-52  ;  2011

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This article seeks to broaden contemporary scholarship on the Lotus Sutra by arguing that it is a philosophically critical, self-reflective text struggling with problems of truth in Buddhist discourse. While all Lotus Sutra scholars agree that the doctrine of skillful means is a central teaching in the text, there is a common tendency to frame skillful means as a passive vehicle (or 'means') for expressing truth rather than an active philosophical critique of truth. This article argues that the Lotus Sutra uses skillful means as a distinct form of criticism within a larger debate over the nature and efficacy of Buddhist practice, and that it raises important issues about truth that are shared by other important Buddhist thinkers and texts such as Nagarjuna, Lin-chi and the Vimalakīrtinirdeśa. It analyzes key passages and parables without reducing the ethical teachings of the Lotus Sutra to simplistic versions of utilitarianism, paternalism, or relativism, and without dissolving the critical elements that make the Lotus Sutra a genuinely philosophically interesting text.

Table of contents – Volume 21, Issue 1

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The tables of contents are generated automatically and are based on the data records of the individual contributions available in the index of the TIB portal. The display of the Tables of Contents may therefore be incomplete.

1
Indian Rational Theology: Proof, Justification, and Epistemic Liberality in Nyaya's Argument for God
Dasti, Matthew R. | 2011
23
On Matsyanyaya: The State of Nature in Indian Thought
Slakter, David | 2011
35
Truth, Deception, and Skillful Means in the Lotus Sutra
Schroeder, John | 2011
53
The Overman and the Arahant: Models of Human Perfection in Nietzsche and Buddhism
Hongladarom, Soraj | 2011
71
The Moral and Non-Moral Virtues in Confucian Ethics
Wong, Wai-ying | 2011
83
Balancing Rights and Trust: Towards a Fiduciary Common Future
Nuyen, A. T. | 2011
97
Emotion and Agency in Zhuangzi
Fraser, Chris | 2011
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