Is 'impermanence' skillful means?

Wikipedia's definition of "Skillful means" says:

The implication [of skillful means] is that even if a technique, view, etc., is not ultimately "true" in the highest sense, it may still be an expedient practice to perform or view to hold; i.e., it may bring the practitioner closer to the true realization in a similar way.

And of Impermanance:

The doctrine asserts that all of conditioned existence, without exception, is "transient, evanescent, inconstant". All temporal things, whether material or mental, are compounded objects in a continuous change of condition, subject to decline and destruction.

I think that, for some Mahayana schools, everything is skillful means. So is the doctrine of impermanence "skillful means" too?

I am looking for an answer which:

  • Says yes or no (and explains why)
  • References a sastra or sutra (if there is one) which claims or implies this answer
  • Preferably, also, explains what (if any) bearing that may have to understanding any other doctrine: such as anatta; voidness; or the buddha-nature.
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Lanka Sep 13 '17 at 19:18
  • See this topic on Meta to discuss whether this question can be reopened, and/or how to improve it. – ChrisW Sep 13 '17 at 23:44
  • still getting downvotes! i'm sorry it's not helpful for you – sorta_buddhist Sep 20 '17 at 13:13
  • Yes you have practice Anicca, Dukkha and Anatta in skilful means. Basically this applies to all teaching of Buddha.
  • Reference:




Well in one sense impermanence is ultimately true. In the other sense though it's just a concept, an idea, used to make a point. The objective of the point is to preempt grasping for things as if they were permanent, and the purpose of non-grasping is prevention of suffering. But even prevention of suffering is merely one of many motives that leads a person to enlightenment, other motive for example being perfection or conceit. In this sense everything is just a skillful mean inasmuch as it pushes some people in the right direction.


Not all kind of 'impermanence' can be seen als 'skillful means', just the path, leading beyond 'insecurity' counts as 'skillful means'.

Useful Essay: The Essence of the Dhamma and for "wordily" issues Wisdom over Justice

As for the case where some Mahayana schools, say, everything is skillful means, here it seems that other views have been addopted, reminding on deterministical assuming of cause and effect.

A talk and explaining, direct on the topic, here:

The Integrity (good means) of Emptiness, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2006; 10pp./30KB)

Much has been written about the Buddhist concept of emptiness — in particular, that it refers to a metaphysical principle of the absence of any inherent existence. In this essay the author points out that this notion has very little to do with what the Buddha himself actually said about emptiness. In fact, the Buddha's teachings on emptiness are of a fundamentally practical nature, having everything to do with how to choose your actions with care and how to relate to their results with wisdom.

[Note: This is a gift of Dhamma and not meant for commercial purpose or other low wordily gains of trade and exchange]

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