Lying to Tell the Truth-Upaya in Mahayana Buddhism and Oikonomia in Alexandrian Christianity

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Lying to Tell the Truth—Upāya in Mahāyāna Buddhism and Oikonomia in Alexandrian Christianity
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Roger Gregory-Tashi Corless, in his essay "Lying to Tell the Truth", explores the use of intentional vagueness and obscurity in the texts of Clement of Alexandria and Origen, and relates this to the intentional use of falsehood (or, perhaps better, nontruth) in the Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra. Both in second century Alexandria and in third century India, he suggests, one fmds a self-conscious use of graded, hierarchically ordered sets of "false truths" as pedagogical devices. For the Lotus, Corless suggests, the "true truth" is that all living beings are in fact possessors of Buddha Nature; it is this toward which the pedagogically useful though partial truths (upāya) found in other assertions point. This position is illustrated with extensive quotations from Kūkai, and is compared with positions taken by a series of Christian thinkers from Nicholas of Cusa to John Henry Newman. (Griffiths and Keenan, introduction to Buddha Nature, 3–4)