Karmic Comedian

Upaya. Skillful means. it's what the Buddha used to tailor his message of the Dharma to the audience at hand. For advanced practitioners and the bhikkus, he'd give an advanced message. For those new to the Path, he'd deliver a message appropriate for them. An example that gets pulled out quite often is the Kalamma Sutta, wherein he tells the Kalammas not to go by the traditions they've been brought up with, things they've been taught, hearsay, and all the rest. "Go by your own experience," he tells them in so many words.

When I give a talk at 1MZS, I do my best to  let the message be as malleable as the situation calls for.  "Situation, relationship and function," ZM Seung Sahn would always say. Expounding upon the Avatamsaka Sutra when the people who show up aren't familiar with the Four Noble Truths would be un-skillful means; it could very well be an exercise in ego, "Look how much I (think I) know." And that is definitely not skillful.

So when it's appropriate, sometimes I'll be serious, maybe not quite morbidly serious, but serious. And sometimes, what seems like a good idea at the time might involve some really awful puns, like this week. Enjoy. Maybe some hellfire & brimstone next week.