-Be able to define upaya and explain its importance to Mahayana Buddhism. Explain how Mahayana Buddhism is itself an example of upaya. Explain how the Chinese belief in “graded revelation” is upaya.
Mahayana Buddhism is a clear and vivid interpretation of Buddhism. Upaya, in Sanskrit, means skillful means or method. It can refer to any activity, skill, experience or practice that helps someone toward the realization of enlightenment. Upaya can mean anything. For example, deception, as well as honesty, is an Upaya. The idea of Upaya drove the movement of Buddhist beliefs and ideas across China, and most of Eastern Asia. The idea of Upaya is noted in the Lotus Sutra. Sutra refers to a text or a collection of texts with religious values and meanings. Most Sutras in Buddhism were written on books of palm leaves sewn together with thread. The Lotus Sutra was written between 100 BC and 100 AD. This Sutra talks about the usage of upaya, the seventh paramita, or perfection of Bodhisattva. Bodhisattva is considered the destination at the end of the journey for Buddhists. Achieving Bodhisattva or enlightenment is the final goal for most Buddhists. Bodhisattva or enlightenment should not be mistaken with Nirvana, which means liberation from the cycle of reincarnation. Nirvana is achieved when a person’s upaya frees him of all sins. Freeing oneself of sins is the ultimate goal for Buddhists. It is believed that once a person is free of sins, and reaches nirvana, he won’t have to continue to be reincarnated and that he can then go to heaven. Upaya is not only a person’s actions and means it is also a guideline to liberation. For example if a person’s upaya is malicious, he will not achieve liberation. On the other hand, if a person uses good upaya in his life, he will have a better chance of revelation. The idea of upaya is similar to Christianity where a good upaya is an indulgence and a bad upaya is a sin. Driven by the idea of upaya...
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