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SOTOZEN-NET > Library > Glossary > expedient means



expedient means (hōben 方便)

S. upāya. Often translated as "skillful means." The ability of a buddha or bodhisattva to preach the dharma in a manner that is appropriate to the level of understanding of the listener, and to skillfully assist all living beings in overcoming suffering and delusion. A corollary of the Mahayana doctrine of the emptiness ( 空, S. śūnyatā) of dharmas is the understanding that all discursive teachings, because they unavoidably make use of the false category of dharmas or "things," are at best expedient means.