Chapter

Conclusion: Skilful Means

Kieran Laird

in The Political Mind

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2008 | ISBN: 9780748623860
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652808 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748623860.003.0008
Conclusion: Skilful Means

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Buddhism likens its psychological techniques to a raft that is used to cross a river, the river being dukkha. The raft is merely a tool to be used to gain the further shore and then to be abandoned, its task fulfilled. Likewise, the conceptual apparatus used by Buddhism to effect change should not be clung to after their task is fulfilled. These techniques are dubbed ‘skilful means’ and are the conceptual toolkit of Buddhist philosophy and psychology. The means by which change is brought about differs from person to person, society to society and time to time, giving rise to the variety of practices one finds in Buddhism. At a deeper level, however, the very mental apparatus that is both utilised and worked upon is likewise to be seen as a means and not an end in itself.

Keywords: Buddhism; psychological change; conceptual toolkit; Buddhist philosophy; mental apparatus

Chapter.  3333 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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