Ben wrote:Hi Bodombodom wrote:Hi Ben. Could you explain further to me what it is exactly you dont agree about Buddhadasa's statement.
My apologies in the delay in responding. The article by Bhikkhu Bodhi that Cooran has graciously provided an extract from and a link, is what I had in mind. With regards to the suttas, and this one in particular, context is everything.
I think the quote which Bodom attributes to Buddhadasa is in accord and supported by the Kalama Sutta. I have reread the Sutta It seems to me to give this kind of advise. Here is a quote from the Bikkhu Bodhi article.
Thus the discourse to the Kalamas offers an acid test for gaining confidence in the Dhamma as a viable doctrine of deliverance. We begin with an immediately verifiable teaching whose validity can be attested by anyone with the moral integrity to follow it through to its conclusions, namely, that the defilements cause harm and suffering both personal and social, that their removal brings peace and happiness, and that the practices taught by the Buddha are effective means for achieving their removal. By putting this teaching to a personal test, with only a provisional trust in the Buddha as one's collateral, one eventually arrives at a firmer, experientially grounded confidence in the liberating and purifying power of the Dhamma. This increased confidence in the teaching brings along a deepened faith in the Buddha as teacher, and thus disposes one to accept on trust those principles he enunciates that are relevant to the quest for awakening, even when they lie beyond one's own capacity for verification.
Here is the quote Bodam gave us...
Buddhadasa said "Regardless of whether the Tipitaka is exactly the original or a newly composed one as perceived by some people nowadays, actual cessation of dukkha always exists uniquely in accordance with idappaccayata. This is why the Buddha suggested in the Kalama Sutta that we not take anything as true just because it is referred to in a pitaka."
So I would say there is a big difference between being "disposed to accept on trust" and "taking something as true". For example I am disposed to accept that the Tripitika is a very well intended transmission of the Buddha's teaching in part based on my confidence in the Sangha transmitting it and partly based on my exploration of those teachings. All Bodoms quote is suggesting is that we look to these as ways of increasing our confidence and not automatically take something as absolutely true just because it was written by people who who we have some trust in. Confidence is not knowledge. Truth can only be established by knowledge. The kind of argument that Bikkhi Bodhi is dismissing is referred to in this question by him.
Now does the Kalama Sutta suggest, as is often held, that a follower of the Buddhist path can dispense with all faith and doctrine, that he should make his own personal experience the criterion for judging the Buddha's utterances and for rejecting what cannot be squared with it?
Bodoms quote does not make any such suggestion. If you would like to show us how the Kalama Sutta says anything which is not in line with that quote I think you should point it out because Bikkhu Bhodhi does not address it in his essay. I would agree that it is always best to have all the context in order to understand more precisely what is being said. Your assertion that "I don't think the Kalama Sutta actually says that." Is a far cry from saying something like "I think that bit of the Kalama sutta is best understood when we keep in mind the context which is...."