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10 Teachings From The Kalama Sutta To Defend Against Intellectual Dependence

10 Teachings From The Kalama Sutta To Defend Against Intellectual Dependence

All people in the world, including the Thai people, are now in the same situation as were the Kalama people of Kesaputtanigama, India, during the time of the Buddha. Their village was in a place through which many religious teachers passed. Each of these teachers taught that his personal doctrine was the only truth, and that all others before and after him were wrong. The Kalama's could not decide which doctrine they should accept and follow. The Buddha once came to their village and the Kalama's brought up this problem with him: that they did not know which teacher to believe. So the Buddha taught them what is now known as the Kalama Sutta, examined here.

Nowadays, worldly people can study many different approaches to economic, social and technological development. The universities teach just about everything. Then, regarding spiritual matters, here in Thailand alone we have so many teachers, so many interpretations of the Buddha's teachings and so many meditation centres that nobody knows which teaching to accept or which practice to follow. Thus it can be said that we have fallen into the same position as the Kalama's were in.

The Buddha taught them, and us, not to accept or believe anything immediately. He gave ten basic conditions to beware of in order to avoid becoming the intellectual slave of anyone, even of the Buddha himself. This principle enables us to know how to choose the teachings, which are truly capable of quenching suffering (dukkha). The ten examples, which the Buddha gave in the Kalama Sutta follow:

Do not accept and believe just because something has been passed along and retold through the years– Such credulity is a characteristic of brainless people, or "sawdust brains", such as those in Bangkok who once believed that there would be disasters for the people born in the "ma years" (those years of the traditional twelve-year Thai calendar whose names begin with "ma", namely, years five through eight: small snake, big snake, horse and goat).

Do not believe just because some practice has become traditional – People tend to imitate what others do and then pass the habit along, as in the story of the rabbit frightened by the fallen bael fruit. The other animals saw it running at full strength, and then so frightened and excited each other that they ran after it. Most of them tripped and fell, broke their necks, or tumbled to death off cliffs. Any Vipassana practice that’s done in limitation of others, as a mere tradition, leads to similar results.

Do not accept and believe merely because of the reports and news spreading far and wide through one's village, or even throughout the world. Only fools are susceptible to such "rumours", for they refuse to exercise their own intelligence.

Do not accept and believe just because something is cited in a Pitaka – The word "Pitaka", which is used for the Buddhist scriptures, means anything written or inscribed upon any suitable writing material. Memorized teachings, which are passed on orally should not be confused with Pitaka. Pitakas are a certain kind of conditioned thing, which are under humanity's control. They can be created, improved and changed by human hands. So we cannot trust every letter and word in them. We need to use our powers of discrimination to see how those words can be applied to the quenching of suffering. The various schools of Buddhism all have their own cannons, among which there are discrepancies.

Do not believe just because something fits with the reasoning of logic (takka). This is merely one branch of study used to try to figure out the truth. Takka, what we call "logics", can go wrong if its data or its methods are incorrect.

Do not believe just because something is correct on the grounds of naya (deductive and inductive reasoning) alone. These days, naya is called "philosophy". In Thailand, we translate the word "philosophy" as "prajña", which the Indian people cannot accept because "naya" is only one point of view. It's not the highest or absolute wisdom, which they call "paññá" or "prajña", "naya", or "nyaya", is merely a branch of thought which reasons on the basis of assumption or hypotheses. It can be incorrect if the reasoning or choice of assumptions is inappropriate.

Do not believe or accept just because something appeals to one's common sense, which is merely snap judgments based on one's tendencies of thought. We like using this approach so much that it becomes habitual. Boastful philosophers like to use this method a great deal and consider it to be clever.

Do not believe just because something stands up to or agrees with one's preconceived opinions and theories – Personal views can be wrong, or our methods of experiment and verification might be incorrect, and then will not lead to the truth. Accepting what fits our theories may seem to be a scientific approach, but actually can never be so, since its proofs and experiments are inadequate.

Do not believe just because the speaker appears believable – Outside appearances and the actual knowledge inside a person can never be identical. We often find that speakers who appear credible on the outside say incorrect and foolish things. Nowadays, we must be wary of computers because the programmers who feed them data and manipulate them may feed in the wrong information or use them incorrectly. Do not worship computers so much, for doing so goes against this principle of the Kalama Sutta.

Do not believe just because the Samana or preacher, the speaker, is "our teacher" – The Buddha's purpose regarding this important point is that no one should be the intellectual slave of someone else, not even of the Buddha himself. The Buddha emphasized this point often, and there were disciples, such as the venerable Shariputra, who confirmed this practice. They did not believe the Buddha’s words immediately upon hearing them, but believed only after adequately considering the advice and putting it to the test of practice. See for yourselves whether there's any other religious teacher in the world who has given this highest freedom to his disciples and audiences! Thus in Buddhism there's no dogmatic system, there's no pressure to believe without the right to examine and decide for oneself. This is the greatest special quality of Buddhism, which keeps its practitioners from being the intellectual slaves of anyone, as explained above. We thus should not volunteer to follow the West as slavishly as we are doing now. Intellectual and spiritual freedom is best.

The ten examples of the Kalama Sutta are a surefire defense against intellectual dependence or not being one's own person: that is, neglecting one's own intelligence and wisdom in dealing with what one hears and listens to, what is called in Dhamma language "paratoghosa" (sound of others). When listening to anything, one should give it careful attention and full scrutiny. If there's reason to believe what has been heard and it results in the genuine quenching of suffering, then one finally may believe it one hundred percent.

The principle of the Kalama Sutta is appropriate for everyone, everywhere, every era and every world— even for the world of devas (gods). Nowadays the world has been shrunk by superb communications. Information can be exchanged easily and rapidly. People can receive new knowledge from every direction and corner of the globe. In the process, they don’t know what to believe and, therefore, are in the same position as the Kalama's once were. Indeed, it’s the Kalama Sutta that will be their refuge. Please give it the good attention and study it deserves. Consider it the greatest good fortune that the Buddha taught the Kalama Sutta. It is a gift for everyone in the world.

The Kalama Sutta is to be used by people of all ages. None of the items in the Kalama Sutta state that children should never believe anyone or should never listen to anyone, they all state that children, and everyone else, should listen and believe only after having seen the real meaning of something and the advantages they will receive from such belief and its subsequent practice. When a teacher teaches something, having the children see the reason behind the teaching won't make the children obstinate. Children will understand the principle of the Kalama Sutta more and more as they grow up. They will complete all ten items themselves as they become fully mature adults—if we train children by this standard.

A scientific world such as today's will be able to accept gladly all ten tenets of the Kalama Sutta as being in line with the scientific method and approach. There’s 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 agrees with one’s own preconceived theories, does not contradict scientific principles. True scientists emphasize experimental verification, not their own concepts, opinions and reasoning, as their main criterion for accepting something as true. Due to these standards of the Kalama Sutta, Buddhism will meet the expectations and needs of true scientists.

There's a problem every time a new kind of medicine comes out and gets advertised up and down 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 good results, before fully relying on it? We should respond to new statements and teachings as we respond to new medicines, by depending on the principles in the Kalama Sutta as a true refuge.

The Kalama Sutta requires us to have wisdom before having faith. If one wants to have faith come first, then let it be the faith which begins with wisdom, not faith which 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 let faith grow out of that wisdom or right understanding. That 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 and the like.

The world nowadays is so overwhelmed by the power of advertising that most people have become its slaves. It can make people pull out their wallets to buy things they don't need to eat, don't need to have and don’t need to use. It's so commonplace that we need to offer the principle of the Kalama Sutta to our human comrades of this era. Propaganda is much more harmful than ordinary advertising or what’s called paratoghosa in Pali. Even with ordinary advertising, we must depend on the principle of the Kalama Sutta, to say nothing of needing this principle 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.

Does this world, which is intoxicated with freedom really know or have freedom in line with the principle of the Kalama Sutta? Is the lack of such freedom caused by blind ignorance and indifference regarding the Kalama Sutta? Some people even claim that it teaches us not to believe or listen to anything. Moreover, some actually say that the Buddha preached this Sutta only for the Kalama's there at that time. Why don't we open our eyes and take notice that people nowadays have become intellectual slaves, that they’ve lost their freedom much more than those Kalamas in the time of the Buddha? Human 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 quality of awakening will grow fat and robust, rather than skinny and weak.

To say that democracy is always and absolutely good is to speak with one’s head in the sand. Those who insist on it haven't considered that a democracy of selfish people is worse than a dictatorship under an unselfish person who rules for the sake of Dhamma and justice. 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 both will be good if they’re based in Dhamma. Each population should choose whichever system suits the particular circumstances that it faces.

More than ever before the modern world needs the Kalama Sutta as its basic operating principle. The world is spinning fast with the defilements of humanity. It's shrinking due to better transportation and communications. And it's about to self-destruct because proper awareness, intelligence and wisdom are lacking. Under the power of defilement, the world is worshipping 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 principle. Consequently, the world is wholly unfit for peace, while increasing in crime and other harmful evils every moment. Let's eliminate all these problems and evils by relying on the Kalama Sutta as our standard. So let’s yell at the top of our lungs, "Help! Kalama Sutta, help us!"

Buddhadasa Bhikkhu was an influential ascetic-philosopher of the 20th century. Known as an innovative re-interpreter of Buddhist doctrine and Thai folk beliefs, Buddhadasa fostered a reformation in conventional religious perceptions in his home country, Thailand, as well as abroad. Although a formally ordained ascetic, Buddhadasa developed a personal view that rejected specific religious identification and considered all faiths as principally one.

From: Themindfulworld.org
The Beauty of Human Relations

The Beauty of Human Relations

A man married a beautiful girl. He loved her very much. One day she developed a skin disease. Slowly she started to lose her beauty. It so happened that one day her husband left for a tour.

While returning he met with an accident and lost his eyesight. However their married life continued as usual. But as days passed she lost her beauty gradually. Blind husband did not know this and there was not any difference in their married life. He continued to love her and she also loved him very much.

One day she died. Her death brought him great sorrow. He finished all her last rites and wanted to leave that town.

A man from behind called and said, "Now how will you be able to walk all alone? All these days your wife used to help you."

He replied, I am not blind. I was acting, because if she knew l could see her ugliness it would have pained her more than her disease. So I pretended to be blind. She was a very good wife. I only wanted to keep her happy.

Moral: "Sometimes it is good for us to act blind and ignore one another's short comings, in order to be happy. No matter how many times the teeth bite the tongue, they still stay together in one mouth. That's the spirit of FORGIVENESS. Even though the eyes don't see each other, they see things together, blink simultaneously and cry together. That's UNITY."

May God grant us all the spirit of forgiveness, unity and togetherness.

1. "Alone I can "Say" but together we can "Talk".
2. "Alone I can "Enjoy" but together we can "Celebrate".
3. "Alone I can "Smile" but together we can "Laugh".
That's the Beauty of Human Relations. We are nothing without each other.

QUOTE OF THE DAY : "The razor blade is sharp but can't cut a tree; the axe is strong but can't cut the hair."

MORALS: "Everyone is important according to his/her own unique purpose."
Mother Teresa Inspirational Quotes

Mother Teresa Inspirational Quotes

Some people come in our life as blessings. Some come in your life as lessons.

If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one.

Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.

We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.

Peace begins with a smile.

If you judge people, you have no time to love them.

Kind words are short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.

The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved.

Let us meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.

Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.

Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.

I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.

Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you.

Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.

Together we can do great things.

I prefer you to make mistakes in kindness than work miracles in unkindness.

Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.

The more you have, the more occupied you are. The less you have, the more free you are.” Mother Teresa

Love begins by taking care of the closet ones.

The world is changed by your example, not your opinion.

Live simply, so others may simply live.

Go out into the world today and love the people you meet.

If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.

If we really want to love, we must learn to forgive.

Give your hands to serve and your hearts to love.

The greatest good is what we do for one another.
Inspirational Wisdom by Master Hsing Yun : Who Am I ?

Inspirational Wisdom by Master Hsing Yun : Who Am I ?

Before I was born, who was I? After birth, who am I? We come into this world with happiness and depart with sorrow. Who is the one on the deathbed with his eyes closed?

This verse comes from the Qing Emperor Shun-chi's poem in praise of the monastic order. His questions are aply put. Do we know where we come from? Who were we before we were born?

The human body is made up of the four elements of earth, fire, water, and wind. When we die, these four elements scatter and are regrouped as we taken an another physical form with rebirth in one of the six realms of existence. We are lost as we move from one realm to another. We do not know what we are doing in the womb, and when we are born, we do not know who we are. Most people rejoice at births and lament upon deaths. What is true joy? What is true sorrow?

Once, a Zen master was going door to door to seek for alms. It happened that one of the families he visited just had a new baby and everyone was congratulating the new father. The Zen master, however, started crying out loud. The new father was very surprised and asked him why he was crying. He replied that he was crying because there would be one more death in the future.

Birth comes from death. If we do not want to die, then we must make sure that we break the cylce of rebirth within the six realms of existence. Once there was a famous poet, by the name of Po-hu Tang. He wrote this poem to illustrate the brevity of life:

It is is rare that we live to be seventy,
And my seventy years come as even a surprise to me.
The first ten years of life, we are too young to know anything.
The last ten years, we are too old to do anything.
This leaves only fifty good years, half of which we spend in sleep.
This leaves us only twenty-five years to truly live.
But do you realize how many obstacles
we have to endure in these twenty-five years?


Nowadays, people can live to be a hundred and twenty. In the boundless life of the universe, a hundred and twenty years, go by in a flash. Not to mention many of us will not live to be even a hundred. Many will pass away in their sleep, and we are never sure if we will continue living from one moment to the next.

The joy of birth and the sorrow of death are normal emotions for most people. But someone with wisdom will not allow this precious life to go by meaninglessly. They will not allow themselves to wallow in ignorance. We must beware of delusion and open ourselves up to understanding life and death.
Inspirational True Story : Do Good and Expect Nothing in Return

Inspirational True Story : Do Good and Expect Nothing in Return

An 18-year-old student was struggling to pay his fees. He was an orphan, and not knowing where to turn for money, he came up with a bright idea. He and a friend decided to host a musical concert on campus to raise money for their education.

They reached out to the great pianist Ignacy J. Paderewski. His manager demanded a guaranteed fee of $2000 for the piano recital. A deal was struck and the boys began to work to make the concert a success.

The big day arrived. But unfortunately, they had not managed to sell enough tickets. The total collection was only $1600. Disappointed, they went to Paderewski and explained their plight. They gave him the entire $1600, plus a cheque for the balance $400. They promised to honour the cheque at the soonest possible.

"No," said Paderewski. "This is not acceptable." He tore up the cheque, returned the $1600 and told the two boys: "Here's the $1600. Please deduct whatever expenses you have incurred. Keep the money you need for your fees. And just give me whatever is left". The boys were surprised, and thanked him profusely.

It was a small act of kindness. But it clearly marked out Paderewski as a great human being.

Why should he help two people he did not even know? We all come across situations like these in our lives. And most of us only think "If I help them, what would happen to me?" The truly great people think, "If I don't help them, what will happen to them?" They don’t do it expecting something in return. They do it because they feel it's the right thing to do.

Paderewski later went on to become the Prime Minister of Poland. He was a great leader, but unfortunately when the World War began, Poland was ravaged. There were more than 1.5 million people starving in his country, and no money to feed them. Paderewski did not know where to turn for help. He reached out to the US Food and Relief Administration for help.

The head there was a man called Herbert Hoover — who later went on to become the US President. Hoover agreed to help and quickly shipped tons of foodgrains to feed the starving Polish people.

A calamity was averted. Paderewski was relieved. He decided to go across to meet Hoover and personally thank him. When Paderewski began to thank Hoover for his noble gesture, Hoover quickly interjected and said, "You shouldn't be thanking me Mr. Prime Minister. You may not remember this, but several years ago, you helped two young students go through college. I was one of them."
Zen Story About Egotism

Zen Story About Egotism

The Prime Minister of the Tang Dynasty was a national hero for his success as both a statesman and military leader. But despite his fame, power, and wealth, he considered himself a humble and devout Buddhist. Often he visited his favorite Zen master to study under him, and they seemed to get along very well. The fact that he was prime minister apparently had no effect on their relationship, which seemed to be simply one of a revered master and respectful student.

One day, during his usual visit, the Prime Minister asked the master, "Your Reverence, what is egotism according to Buddhism?" The master's face turned red, and in a very condescending and insulting tone of voice, he shot back, "What kind of stupid question is that!?"

This unexpected response so shocked the Prime Minister that he became sullen and angry. The Zen master then smiled and said, "THIS, Your Excellency, is egotism."
Ajahn Brahm Inspirational Quotes

Ajahn Brahm Inspirational Quotes

If you want to have a good time, be good.

Real beauty does not lie in perfection, but in embracing and accepting imperfection.

Love is the ability to embrace the imperfections of another, of ourselves, and of life.

Instead of having a fault-finding mind, develop the beautiful attitude of gratitude.

Whatever you value, whatever you think is really important, that is what will develop and grow.

Water the flowers in your garden, don't water the weeds.

What you see in others, that's what they will show you back.

Always put happiness and joy into whatever you are doing.

Merit is not something you store up for a future life, it's what you put into your heart for now.

Real generosity is giving, expecting nothing back in return.

Inspiration is a beautiful source of pure energy that uplifts your heart.

A lot of the time you learn the most from osmosis, by just hanging around good people.

When you cultivate a beautiful mind throughout the day, you will have a beautiful mind in meditation.

Your real home is not the house you live in, but the stillness and peace in your heart.

Forget about the results. Creating the causes; that's your work. The results will come by themselves.

When you face the problem and bring it close to you, you have a chance to understand it. When you run away, your face is turned in the opposite direction.

You don’t need to give things a name...just know them.

Don't bend the truth to fit your beliefs, bend your beliefs to fit the truth.

You can either be caught up in this world and in your desires... or you can be free.

Suffering is asking from the world what it can never give you.

Freedom is realising that you can't control life.

Pleasure is just a pause between two moments of pain.
And pain is just the space between two moments of pleasure.

Whatever disturbance there is, it only lasts for a few moments.
But if you allow it to echo in your mind, it will keep on going for a long time.

Hell is a place with an open door. You send yourself there because of guilt.
If you know what love and forgiveness are, you can walk out any time you want.

It's amazing how free you can be, if you don’t limit yourself to your past.

The nature of life is that it settles down and finds a balance all by itself.

Where there is a self, there are things belonging to a self.
Where there is no self, there is no sense of ownership.

From "All You Need Is Kindfulness - A Collection of Ajahn Brahm Quotes".
Dhammaloka.org.au
Inspirational Wisdom Story About Buddha

Inspirational Wisdom Story About Buddha

Once, Buddha was walking through a village with his students, where the opponents of Buddhism lived. The people of the village surrounded Buddha and his students and started insulting them. In respond, the students also started rising up and wanted to get back at them, but the presence of Buddha calmed them down. The words of Buddha confused not only the students but also the villagers.

He turned to his students and said, "You disappointed me. These people are doing their thing. They are angry. They think that I am an enemy of their religion and their moral believes. These people are insulting me and it's obvious. But why are you angry ? Why did you let these people manipulate you ? Now you depend from them, therefore you’re not free."

The people from the village were completely at loss and asked,"But we were insulting you, why aren't you mad at us ?"

Buddha smiled, "You are free people, and what you did - is your business. I am also a free person and a master of my own actions, which is why I have my own right not to react to manipulation and be free from anger."