方便 – Chinese philosophy and culture

0
71
Listen to this article

fāngbiàn 方便

Upāya / Expediency

方式、方法。“方便”常与“善巧”(kauśalya)连用,指佛陀或菩萨为了教化众生应机说教,使用巧妙的语汇和叙事手法,令不同背景的听众都能理解并领会言外之奥义。“方便”概念是大乘佛教的一个关键,强调包括佛陀言教在内的所有言语表述都依赖于名相概念、不得究竟,在一定意义上都是方便施设,如指月之指,故不应做字面理解,更不可执著。

This concept refers to appropriate skilful means or methods. “Expediency” is often used together with “ingenuity” (kauśalya). It refers to the Buddha’s or to a bodhisattva’s preaching adapting to the circumstances, in order to convert beings. He used adroit words and terms and narrative techniques, so as to allow listeners of different backgrounds all understand and comprehend it and grasp the implied abstruse meaning. The concept of “expediency” is a key to the Great Vehicle (Mahāyāna) sect of Buddhism. It emphasizes that all verbal expressions, including the Buddha’s teaching, depend on the concept of the term and appearance. They cannot obtain the highest level. In a certain sense they are all expedient means, like a finger pointing at the moon. That is why they should not be literally interpreted. One should not cling to them.

引例 Citation:

◎吾从成佛已来,种种因缘、种种譬喻广演言教,无数方便引导众生,令离诸著。(《妙法莲华经》卷一)

(自从我成佛以来,就以各种各样的言行事迹或譬喻故事,详细地演说教义,利用无数巧妙的方法引导众生远离各种执著。)

Since I have become Buddha, I have widely developed and verbally taught several kinds of causality stories and several kinds of similes. With countless skilful means I have guided the beings, so that they would abandon any attachment. (Scriptural Text: The Lotus Sūtra of the Wonderful Dharma)

Previous article二人同心,其利断金 – Chinese philosophy and culture
Next article防民之口,甚于防川 – Chinese philosophy and culture

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here