'Skilful Means' is the key principle of Mahayana, one of the great Buddhist traditions. First described in the Lotus Sutra, it originates in myths of the Buddha's compassionate plans for raising life from the ceaseless round of birth and death. His strategies or interventions are 'skilful means' - morally wholesome tricks devised for the purpose of enabling nirvana or enlightenment. Michael Pye's clear and engaging introductory guide investigates the meaning and context of skilful means in Mayahana Buddhist teachings, whilst tracing its early origins in ancient Japanese and Theravada thought. First published in 1978, and still the best explanation of the concept, it illuminates a core working philosophy essential for any complete understanding of Buddhism.
Michael Pye is Professor of the Study of Religions at the University of Marburg. He is a former President of the International Association for the History of Religions (1995-2000), and has taught at the Universities of Lancaster and Leeds.
'This is a most welcome reissue of Michael Pye's hard-to-obtain but highly influential 1978 study of the concept of "skilful means" in Buddhism.' - Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies