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Re: Theos-World More of What Gautama said to Kalamas

Oct 23, 2000 11:16 AM
by Eugene Carpenter

Perhaps this part of the text was inserted by "wise authorities" and was
never ever said by the Buddha. This is what happened with the Gospel
according to . . .


----- Original Message -----
From: "Nick Weeks" <>
To: <>
Sent: Sunday, October 22, 2000 8:39 PM
Subject: Re: Theos-World More of What Gautama said to Kalamas

> The passage Art uses is often so misquoted. Actually the Kalama Sutta is
> quite as anti-authority as many would like. But if one ignores a few
> here and there it can appear that way.
> First, the Kalamas approach Buddha for advice. If He really intended to
> foster their total self-reliance He would have sent them away with "Don't
> me, go within yourselves." But He did not do so.
> ***********
> 4. "It is proper for you, Kalamas, to doubt, to be uncertain; uncertainty
> arisen in you about what is doubtful. Come, Kalamas. Do not go upon what
> been acquired by repeated hearing; nor upon tradition; nor upon rumor; nor
> upon what is in a scripture; nor upon surmise; nor upon an axiom; nor upon
> specious reasoning; nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been
> over; nor upon another's seeming ability; nor upon the consideration, 'The
> monk is our teacher.' "
> At this point comes the blurring of the teaching. Actually Buddha
> three criteria for rejecting (or accepting) a teaching.
> "Kalamas, when you yourselves know:
> 1) 'These things are bad; these things are blamable;
> 2) these things are censured by the wise;
> 3) undertaken and observed, these things lead to harm and ill,' abandon
> them."
> Numbers 1 says when you know for yourself that something is bad -- drop
> Number 3 says when you know for yourself that something will eventually
> to badness -- drop it. However, number 2 says take into account what wise
> authorities say. Can this be? Pay attention to someone other than ME?
> Evidently Buddha thought total self-reliance was not a good idea.
> Later on the sutta gives the 3 criteria that should be applied to
> a teaching. He repeats the same threefold advice, including paying
> to whether wise authorities praise something. If they do, then follow
> example.
> One can study a couple of translations and a commentary by Bhikku Bodhi at
> the Access to Insight webpage.
> Considering the volumes of Buddhist works praising spiritual authorities
> requiring their guidance for the aspirant, it is ridiculous to keep
> on this one out-of-context misquote as an authority (what an irony, eh?)
> ignoring all but ones own views.
> Fare Thee Well,
> Nicholas <> <> Los Angeles

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