Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Kalama Sutta and free thought

Kalama Sutta

Alam Hi Vo Kalama Kankhitum Alam
Vicikicchitum, Kankhaniye Ca
Pana Vo Thane Vicikiccha Uppanna, Etha Tumhe
Kalama Ma Anussavena, Ma Paramparaya,
Ma Itikiraya, Ma Pitaka Sampadanena,
Ma Takkahetu, Ma Naya Hetu,
Ma Akara Parivitakkena, Ma Ditthi Nijjhanakkhantiya,
Ma Bhabharupataya, Ma Samano No Garuti.
Yada Tumhe Kalama, Attanava Janeyyatha,
Ime Dhamma Akusala, Ime Dhamma Savajja,
Ime Dhamma Vinnu Garahita, Ime Dhamma Samatta
Samadinna Ahitaya Dukkhaya
Samvattantiti: Atha Tumhe Kalama Pajaheyyatha.

Tradition maintains that the Buddha outlined these principles in the Anguttara Nikaya section of the Tipitika, and it is accepted by both Theravada and Mahayana traditions. Although there's more to the rest of the sutta, this passage is among the more commonly recited, and often translated as:

Kalama Sutta
Do not believe in anything (simply)
because you have heard it.
Do not believe in traditions because they
have been handed down for many generations.
Do not believe in anything because it is
spoken and rumoured by many.
Do not believe in anything (simply) because
it is found written in your religious books.
Do not believe in anything merely on the authority
of your teachers and elders.
But after observation and analysis,
when you find anything that agrees with reason
and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all
then accept it and live up to it.

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