The happy life. Is to live according to nature.I think to providing a fair review. The winner of all.Dhamma is the best way for all.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Help! The Kalama Sutta, Help!2
Help! The Kalama Sutta, Help!2
By Buddhadasa Bhikkhu
The ten examples of the Kalama Sutta
are a surefire defense against intellectual dependence and not
being one’s own person, that is, neglecting one’s own
intelligence and wisdom in dealing with what one hears and
listens to (paratoghosa, the "sound of others," in
Buddhist terms). Whatever one listens to, one should carefully
and systematically reflect upon it. When the facts of the matter
are clearly beneficial and it results in the quenching of
suffering, one may finally believe it one-hundred per cent.
The principle of the Kalama Sutta is appropriate for everyone,
everywhere, every era, and every world, even for the heavenly
worlds. Nowadays, the world has been shrunk by miraculous
communications, by the easy and rapid exchange of information.
People can get new knowledge from every direction and corner of
the planet. In the process, they don’t know what to believe and,
therefore, are in the same position as were the Kalamas during
the time of the Buddha. Indeed, the Kalama Sutta can be
their refuge. Please give it the good attention and study it
deserves. Consider it the greatest good fortune that the Buddha
taught this Sutta. It is a gift for the whole world. Only those
who are too foolish will be unable to benefit from this
Discourse of the Buddha.
The Kalama Sutta is to be practiced by people of all ages.
Even children can apply its principle in order to be children of
awakening (bodhi) rather than children of ignorance (avijja).
Parents should teach and train their children to know how to
understand the words and instructions they receive, how to see
the reasoning and natural facts involved, and whether the
results will really be as claimed. Whenever teaching or telling
their children something, parents should help them to really
understand what they are asked to do and see the benefits for
themselves. For example, when telling them not to take drugs,
the children shouldn’t obey merely because of fear, but because
of seeing what the results of taking drugs actually are and thus
willingly refuse addictive substances.
None of the ten examples in the Kalama Sutta state that
children should never believe or listen to anyone. They simply state
that children, along with the rest of us, should listen carefully
and only believe something to be true after having seen for
themselves its real
meaning and the advantages that will come from such belief, then
practice accordingly. When a teacher teaches something, helping
children to see the reasoning behind the teaching won’t make
them obstinate. For the obstinate ones, gently apply a bit of
stick and let them think things over again. Children will
increasingly understand and appreciate the principle of the Kalama Sutta
as they mature. They will accomplish all ten examples by the
time they are fully mature adults, if we train children by this
Today’s scientific world will be able to gladly accept all ten tenets of the Kalama Sutta
as being in line with the scientific method. There is not the
least contradiction between the principles of science and those
of the Kalama Sutta. Even the eighth item, which states
that one should not accept something just because it corresponds
with one’s own preconceived theories, does not contradict
scientific principles. True scientists emphasize experimental
verification as their main criterion for accepting something as true,
not personal opinions, concepts, beliefs, reasoning, and theories.
Due to these standards of the Kalama Sutta, Buddhism will satisfy the expectations and needs of true scientists.
If one follows the principle of the Kalama Sutta, one will
have independent knowledge and reason with which to understand the
meaning and truth of ideas and propositions heard or read for the
first time. For example, when one hears that greed, hatred,
and delusion are dangerous and evil, one understands thoroughly
and instantly, because one already knows through personal
experience what these things are like. One believes in oneself
rather than the speaker. The way of practice is the same in
other cases. If a statement is about something one has never
seen or known before, one should try to understand or get to
know it first. Then one can consider whether or not to accept the
newly received teaching or advice. One should never accept something
just because one believes in the speaker. One should take ones
time, even if it means dying before finding out. This
is how the Kālāma Sutta protects one from becoming the
intellectual slave of anyone else, even in the most subtle
matters and so-called “mysteries.”
There’s a problem every time a new kind of medicine comes out and
is advertised all over the place. Should we offer ourselves as guinea
pigs to test it, out of belief in the advertisements? Or should
we wait until we have sufficient reason to try just a little of
it first, to see if it truly gives the good results advertised,
before relying on it fully? We should respond to new statements
and teachings in the same way we respond to new medicines, by
following the principle of the Kalama Sutta as a true refuge.
The Kalama Sutta requires us to develop wisdom before faith.
If one wants to have faith come first, then let it be the faith that
begins with wisdom, not the blind faith that comes from
ignorance. The same holds true in the principle of the Noble
Eightfold Path: take wisdom or right understanding as the
starting point, then late faith grow out of that wisdom or right
understanding. This is the only safe approach. We ought never
to believe blindly immediately upon hearing something, nor
should we be forced to believe out of fear, bribery, or the
The world nowadays is so overwhelmed by the power of advertising and
propaganda that most people have become slaves to it. They can make
people pull out their wallets without even thinking in order to
buy things they don’t need to eat, don’t need to have, and
don’t need to use. This is so commonplace that we absolutely
must offer the principle of the Kalama Sutta to our human comrades of this era. Propaganda is much more harmful than ordinary advertising or what is called "paratoghosa" in Pali. Even with ordinary advertising or paratoghosa, we must rely on the principle of the Kalama Sutta
as our refuge, to say nothing of needing it to deal with
outright propaganda, which is full of intentional deceptions. So we can
say that the Kalama Sutta is beneficial even in solving economic problems.
I ask you all to consider, investigate, and test whether there is
found anywhere greater spiritual freedom than is found in the Kalama Sutta.
If someone says that Buddhism is a religion of freedom, can
there be any reason to dispute or oppose that statement? Does this world
which is so intoxicated with freedom really know or have
freedom in line with the principle of the Kalama Sutta? Do blind ignorance and indifference regarding the Kalama Sutta create
the lack of such freedom? Some even disparage this Sutta by
claiming it teaches us to not believe or listen to anything. Moreover,
some actually claim that the Buddha preached this Sutta only for
the Kalama people there at that time. Why don’t we open our eyes
and notice that people nowadays have become intellectual and
spiritual slaves, that they have lost their freedom much more
than the Kalamas in the time of the Buddha? Dear friends, fellow
worshippers of freedom, I ask you to consider carefully the essence and aim of the Kalama Sutta
and the Buddha's intention in teaching it. Then, your Buddhist
qualities of awakening will grow fat and robust, rather than
skinny and weak. Don’t foolishly fear and loathe the Kalama Sutta.
The word "Thai" means "freedom." What kind of freedom are you
going to bring to our "Thainess"? Or what kind of "Thainess"
is fitting and proper for the independence or "Thainess" of
Buddhists, the disciples of the Buddha?
Avoiding clashes through openmindedness
Now let us look further to see the hidden benefits and advantages in the Kalama Sutta.
The Sutta can help us to avoid the tactless and narrow-minded
talk that leads to violent clashes and disputes. For example, it
is foolish to set up an unalterable rule for all families
regarding who, husband or wife, will be the front legs (leader) and who
the hind legs of the elephant. It all depends on the specific
conditions of each family. According to the principles in the Kalama Sutta and the law of Specific Conditionality (idappaccayata),
we only can discuss the proper roles of family members on the
basis of each family’s circumstances. Please don’t speak
one-sidedly and violate natural principles.
Regarding abortion, people argue until they are red in the face
whether it is right or wrong, without investigating to discover in which
cases it is suitable and which not. Once we follow the natural
principles of the Buddhist way of reasoning, each situation will
show us when it is appropriate and when not. Please stop
insisting on one-sided positions.
The principle is the same in the case of meat eating versus
vegetarianism. Each side pigheadedly argues from its absolute position.
Such people are attached to regarding food as being either
meat or vegetable. For Buddhists, there is neither meat nor
vegetable; there are only natural elements. Whether the eater or
the eaten, it’s all just natural elements. The situations in
which one should eat meat and the circumstances when one
shouldn’t can be discerned using the principle of the Kalama Sutta.
For this reason, the Buddha never said decisively one way or
the other whether to eat meat or vegetables, or to never eat
meat or never eat vegetables. To speak so carelessly is not the
way of Buddhists.
Nor should one say that democracy is always and absolutely good.
Those who insist on such views haven’t considered that a democracy of
selfish people could be worse than a dictatorship of unselfish
people who live according to Dhamma or righteousness. A
democracy of selfish people means freedom to use their
selfishness in a most frightening and awful manner.
Consequently, problems drag on endlessly among those people who
have a democracy of selfishness. Stop saying that democracy is
absolutely good or that dictatorship is absolutely good. Instead,
stick to the principle that either will be good when based on Dhamma.
Each society should choose which suits it best according to the
particular circumstances facing it.
To say that the Prime Minister must always be an elected member of
Parliament and never someone who was not chosen directly by the
people is to rant and rave as if deaf and dumb.1
Really, we must look to see how the situation ought to be, what
the specific circumstances and reasons are, then practice
correctly according to the principle of Specific Conditionality.
The same applies to other political issues. This
is the true Buddhist way, befitting the fact that Buddhism
embodies democracy in the form of Dhammic socialism. Therefore,
the election of members of parliament, the establishment of a
government, the structuring of the political system, and even
the course of social and economic development all should be
carried out using the principle of the Kalama Sutta. Please consider each example and you will discover the necessity of using the principle of this Sutta.
More than ever the modern world needs the Kalama Sutta as its
basic operating principle. The world is spinning ever faster with
humanity’s defilements. It’s shrinking because of better
transportation and communication. And it’s about to self-destruct
because proper awareness, intelligence, and wisdom are lacking. Under
the power of defilement, the world is worshiping materialism,
sex, and luxury because it lacks standards like that of the Kalama Sutta.
No one knows how to make choices in line with its principles.
Consequently, the world is wholly unfit for peace, while
increasing in crime and other wickedness every moment. Let’s
eliminate all these problems and evils by relying on the Kalama Sutta as our standard.
Finally, there is the matter of the name of this Sutta. When named
after the people who originally listened to this teaching, it’s
called the Kalama Sutta. When named after the place where it was preached, it’s called the Kesaputta Sutta.2 Whatever the name, the content and meaning is still the same. During the early part of the last century the Tipitaka was popularized in a series called "Dhamma Treasure" (Dhammasampatti).3 Then, this Sutta became well-known as the Kalama Sutta. Therefore, let’s yell at the top of our lungs, "Help! Kalama Sutta, help!"
In conclusion, the Kalama Sutta never forbids us to believe in
anything; it merely implores us to believe with independent
intelligence and wisdom. It never forbids us to listen to
anything; it merely asks us to listen without letting our
intelligence and wisdom be enslaved. Furthermore, it also
enables us to think, consider, investigate, and decide with
great subtlety and precision, so that we can find specks of gold
in mountain-sized rubbish heaps.
Please come, Kalama Sutta! Come invest yourself in the hearts and minds of all Buddhists, of all human beings, in the present world.