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Kalamasutta - Dhamma Wheel

Kalamasutta

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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tiltbillings
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Kalamasutta

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Mar 18, 2009 4:11 am


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retrofuturist
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Re: Kalamasutta

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Mar 18, 2009 4:20 am

Greetings Tilt,

What implications or consequences do you see of Lance's comments?

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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tiltbillings
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Re: Kalamasutta

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Mar 18, 2009 5:02 am


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mikenz66
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Re: Kalamasutta

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Mar 18, 2009 5:22 am

This article that Ven Gavesako mentioned in another thread:

Buddhism for the Next Century
Toward Renewing a Moral Thai Society
by Phra Phaisan Visalo
http://www.bpf.org/tsangha/phaisan.htm

Makes some similar points - That King Mongkut and his offspring were interested in modernising and westernising Buddhism, along with other Thai institutions.

Mike

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Re: Kalamasutta

Postby zavk » Wed Mar 18, 2009 6:36 am

Thanks for these interesting and challenging posts, Tilt. I certainly think that they raise important points for consideration.

The Kalama Sutta is often used to support arguments that Buddhism is 'really' rationalistic, pragmatic, and even scientific in nature. But IMO, whilst I appreciate how contemporary Buddhism dovetails with Western rationalistic, pragmatic, and scientific values, I always feel that we ought to exercise some critical reflexivity towards such values that we attribute to Buddhism.

The tendency amongst many contemporary Buddhists is to assert that this is how Buddhism is 'meant to be', that this is the 'true essence' of Buddhism. I can't comment on the accuracy of the authors' research but their work do remind us that any such assertion (of how Buddhism 'really is' or 'is meant to be') is always contextual and conditioned. This rationalistic, pragmatic and scientific version of Buddhism that we have in contemporary times arose out of certain contexts and are conditioned by various factors. So when we argue that Buddhism is in essence 'rationalistic', 'pragmatic', and 'scientific', we are really speaking out of conditioning. This is not to suggest that this version of Buddhism we have in our present time is 'wrong'. But because our understanding of Buddhism is always already conditioned, it would be worth our while to be sensitive to this conditioning. Otherwise we might foreclose or marginalise other aspects and possibilities of Buddhism that might be of great importance but are overlooked because they do not fit easily into what we have been conditioned to accept as 'true' and 'natural'.

If we follow the authors' comments, maybe the Kalama Sutta wasn't as important in the history of Buddhism as we have made it out to be. Maybe the 'importance' that we give it says more about our conditioning than it does about Buddhism. And if Stephen Evans research is valid, maybe there is a certain devotional aspect of Buddhism that we have marginalised in our eagerness to reconcile Buddhism with our Western rationalistic and scientific outlook--an outlook that is thoroughly conditioned. This, I think, would cast a different light on debates about belief, faith, rebirth, and so forth--debates which often end up in various impasses. Perhaps the way out of these impasses is to reconsider (and perhaps recognise the limitations of) the terms upon which such debates have been carried out.

Best wishes,
zavk
With metta,
zavk

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cooran
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Re: Kalamasutta

Postby cooran » Wed Mar 18, 2009 8:23 am

And, of course, there is the brief article by Bhikkhu Bodhi from 1998:

"A Look at the Kalama Sutta"
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ay_09.html

metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Rui Sousa
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Re: Kalamasutta

Postby Rui Sousa » Wed Mar 18, 2009 11:00 am

I recall a few threads at e-sangha were the Kalama Sutta was analysed, as well as a couple here at dhamma wheel, my opinion is that the Buddha is not encouraging "free inquiring" as we understand it in the west.

In my non-scholastic POV, western rationality has many deep and ancient roots, going back to Greece and Rome. But pointing out two philosophers that mark our way of thinking, we have Descartes, who presented the methodical doubt approach, and Karl Popper with his PS1-TT-EE-PS2 flow.

PS1 -Problem Solution 1
TT - Tentative Theories
EE - Eliminating Errors
PS2 - Problem Solution 2

See:

This is extremely useful when we have no idea where to go, everything is unknown to all of us, and a few are leading the way into knowledge. Since we are all following the lead scouts (the scientists) we don't really have an option but to accept what they tells us, and turn back when told "Sorry, this is a dead end, we were wrong, but please trust us again as we go that way.". Just a bunch of blind men going around until someone hits something, like Fleming leaving is window opened and discovering that fungus kill bacteria ...
See:

While in the case of the Dhamma there a fully enlightened being, the Buddha, who says "There is a path. This is the path. You must open your eyes to see the path, and trust those who see better than you to help you in the path.". As I see it In the Kalama Sutta the Buddha exhorts the Kalamas to investigate reality (open your eyes to see the path), and to submit their findings for validation from those wiser (who already see the path). And who are the wise the Buddha spoke about? I believe he meant the Noble Ones, specially Arahants. So there is one path, one destination, that is known by the wise.

Not comparable, in my opinion.
With Metta

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zavk
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Re: Kalamasutta

Postby zavk » Wed Mar 18, 2009 11:56 am

With metta,
zavk

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David N. Snyder
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Re: Kalamasutta

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Mar 18, 2009 7:35 pm

Image

What happens between TT and EE ? There most likely would be investigation and observation.

Popper's theories and scientific theories are not going to fit in exactly with the Kalama Sutta, but the emphasis in all of them is the use of validation, testing, and observation.
Image




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Re: Kalamasutta

Postby clw_uk » Wed Mar 18, 2009 10:53 pm

Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

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David N. Snyder
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Re: Kalamasutta

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Mar 19, 2009 3:21 am

Image




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retrofuturist
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Re: Kalamasutta

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Mar 19, 2009 3:50 am

Greetings,

On the flipside, couldn't this research just as easily point towards the Kalama Sutta being underestimated by the commentarial tradition?

There are certain topics and themes in the commentarial literature which are perhaps overstated (kasinas come to mind) with respect to their importance to the Dhamma. I don't think it's accurate to judge a topic, theme or concept by how much attention the ancient commentators decided to afford it. Repetition of themes through the suttas (and the baskets of suttas) is a much more important critera in my book.

:reading:

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Rui Sousa
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Re: Kalamasutta

Postby Rui Sousa » Thu Mar 19, 2009 10:25 am

With Metta

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zavk
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Re: Kalamasutta

Postby zavk » Thu Mar 19, 2009 11:07 am

With metta,
zavk

DarkDream
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Re: Kalamasutta

Postby DarkDream » Fri Mar 20, 2009 6:17 am


DarkDream
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Re: Kalamasutta

Postby DarkDream » Fri Mar 20, 2009 6:29 am


nathan
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Re: Kalamasutta

Postby nathan » Fri Mar 20, 2009 7:13 am

I never underestimate the potential for misperception owing to the conceits of the present age or of my own. We have missed the most favorable time for correct interpretation by 2500 years. These are our conditions. I accept that and bear it in mind in my studies. I appreciate any light on interpretive history. Thanks all, for the Op, etc..
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

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Rui Sousa
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Re: Kalamasutta

Postby Rui Sousa » Fri Mar 20, 2009 10:53 am

With Metta


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