Skillful Means: The Heart of Buddhist Compassion

This title analyzes one of the most important ideas in Buddhist philosophy: the doctrine of skillful means. It presents an analysis of a familiar subject, thus providing a way of understanding Buddhist thought. It argues that Buddhism is best understood as a philosophy of practice - or a metapraxis - and that terms such as emptiness, non-self, and nirvana refer less to metaphysical principles than to skillful teachings that help people cultivate compassion and mindfulness. Each section of the book focuses on a debate over philosophical justification and the problem of trying to establish a fixed doctrine in Buddhism and reveals an on-going debate that is central to the various Buddhist traditions throughout Asia.