Skillful Means: The Key to the Lotus Sutra led by Aspi Mistry
Skillful Means: The Key to the Lotus Sutra
“The concept of ‘skillful means’ is one of the leading ideas of Mahayana Buddhism and was first used extensively in the Lotus Sutra…In Mahayana Buddhism the various forms of Buddhist teaching and practice are declared to be provisional means, all skilfully set up by the Buddha for the benefit of the unenlightened”. – Michael Pye. “Skillful Means – A Concept in Mahayana Buddhism”
In this 3-day teaching we will explore how ‘skillful means’ is the key to the understanding of Buddhism in general, through a close examination of the Lotus Sutra.These sessions are designed for those who are new to Buddhism, as well as for those who are already familiar with the basics. For the former, there will be sessions covering the main fundamental concepts and ideas, the Four Noble Truths, the Buddhist understanding of mind, and so on, from the viewpoint of skilful means.In this retreat, we will attempt to understand how the Mahayana and the earlier Theravada tradition both spring from the Buddha’s single intent. To lead all sentient beings to enlightenment.In the last few decades, the practice of the Lotus Sutra through the efforts of the Soka Gakkai International, from Japan, has spread widely across India, and there are now thousands of practitioners, across a number of cities and towns in India.The message of the Lotus Sutra is to encourage people’s faith in their own Buddha nature, their own inherent capacity for wisdom, courage, and compassion.As the sutra pronounces, “In the past, the Buddha had taught three paths or vehicles… However, those paths were skillful means. In fact, there is only one path, one vehicle: the path to Buddhahood, the buddha vehicle”.
For those interested, there will also be a couple of meditation sessions and Lotus Sutra practice sessions, to give us a flavour of the actual chanting and sutra recitation.
About the teacher:
Aspi Mistry was introduced to the practice of the Lotus Sutra through the Soka Gakkai in 1992. He has been a practitioner since then and has been associated with Deer Park since its inception in 2006. He is a student of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche and a Board Member of the Siddhartha’s Intent Society. In 2003, he founded the Dharma Rain Centre in Bombay, which regularly organises teachings for the Bombay Sangha, by teachers such as His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, Geshe Lhakdor, and many others. A socially engaged political activist since his student days, and a lover of literature and films, Aspi likes to say with apologies to Shantideva, “May I be a thorn in the sides of those who desperately need a thorn in their sides…”