11. The Huayan Metaphysics of Totality

  1. Steven M. Emmanuel
  1. Alan Fox

Published Online: 5 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118324004.ch11

A Companion to Buddhist Philosophy

A Companion to Buddhist Philosophy

How to Cite

Fox, A. (2013) The Huayan Metaphysics of Totality, in A Companion to Buddhist Philosophy (ed S. M. Emmanuel), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118324004.ch11

Author Information

  1. University of Delaware, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 5 FEB 2013
  2. Published Print: 25 MAR 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470658772

Online ISBN: 9781118324004



  • Buddhist concepts;
  • causality;
  • Huayan Buddhism;
  • metaphysics;
  • philosophy of totality


The story of Huayan Buddhism intertwines in many ways with many other more well-known forms of Buddhist thought. The Buddhist concepts of upāya or “skillful means,” prajnapti from Yogācāra and paramārtha satya from Madhyamaka, justify a range of pragmatic propositions, which represent a healthy way of viewing the world. Upāya refers to the diagnostic and prescriptive skill of a buddha or bodhisattva, who is ostensibly able to discern a particular person's problem and recommend a helpful strategy for solving it. This is a completely contextual approach, though, because different problems lead to different strategies. The metaphysics underlying Huayan's philosophy of totality is based on the central Buddhist model of interdependent causality known as prātityasamutpāda.