Akṣaya upāya

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akṣaya upāya (T. thabs mi zad pa), or "inexhaustible skillful means," is a factor of the eighty inexhaustibles.

The Khenjuk states:

Skill in means signifies the possession of a wonderful method, attained primarily through the power of a particular insight, which thereby accomplishes, with only minor hardship, what is of great benefit or accomplishes easily what is hard to do. For example, when making even a small act of giving, one can perfect it as a paramita by increasing it immeasurably. This is done by means of embracing it with the bodhichitta motivation. Moreover, embracing it with the intention to be generous becomes the cause for accomplishing the benefit and welfare of all sentient beings. One thereby fulfills the wishes of others through carrying out the action with respect and joyfulness, through embracing it with the helper that is non-conceptual wisdom, and concluding by rejoicing and sealing with dedication.
Furthermore, by means of the seven branches - for instance, paying homage to the buddhas of the ten directions, apologizing for misdeeds and so forth - the bodhisattva can, without major hardship, perfect an immense amount of the accumulations. Or, he can easily realize that which takes an extremely long time to realize through skillful means. Thus, he swiftly attains the super-knowledges. Or, through understanding what is timely or un-timely and what is skillful or not skillful, [the bodhisattva] brings sentient beings to maturation while using a variety of means to tame those to be tamed - subjugating some, accepting some and taming some by engaging in disturbing emotions. Similarly, he makes use of various ways of teaching the Dharma, playing games and so forth.
In order to prevent the family line of the Three Jewels from being interrupted, the bodhisattva will transcend the four demons as well as the levels of the shravakas and pratyekabuddhas. By means of realizing the three gates of emancipation, he will avoid dwelling in any extreme concerning phenomena. Although he has understood the absolute, he will avoid actualizing it untimely. He will engage in any kind of action after perceiving what is timely or untimely, bring forth fulfillment exactly in accordance with the power of his aspiration, remain unattached to any phenomena whatsoever, understand boundless areas of skillful means, trans- form disturbing emotions into factors for enlightenment by bringing them under control, and perceive all things as pure dharmata. Thus, the number of skillful means is inconceivable.
The resolve that is accompanied by this skill in means is similar to a great cloud in that it brings the crops of virtue to maturation. Though the cloud has no conceptual thoughts, from the abode of the king who rules over the gods down to the lower realms it reveals itself, in various forms, to inhabitants.[1]
Further reading


  1. Mipham Rinpoche 2002, lines 18.161-164.