Kalama Sutta again

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SamKR
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Kalama Sutta again

Post by SamKR »

This is from the most famous Kalama Sutta:
"So, as I said, Kalamas: 'Don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, "This contemplative is our teacher." When you know for yourselves that, "These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering" — then you should abandon them.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.

"Now, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, 'This contemplative is our teacher.' When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness' — then you should enter & remain in them.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

What does the Buddha mean when he says "know for yourselves"?
Does he mean the following?
* first we should do the experiment (by applying any teaching/quality that is under scrutiny), and
* then make our decision (whether to enter & remain in the teaching/quality or not) based on the result of our experiment--our experience (of being good or bad) of the past?
Last edited by SamKR on Sat Dec 03, 2011 5:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
Jhana4
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Re: Kalama Sutta again

Post by Jhana4 »

I'm not an expert of any kind.

My interpretation is that the Buddha advised the Kalamas that when choosing a way to live to take a long hard look at the people following any given philosophy, look at the results they are getting and ask themselves if they want that.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Zom
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Re: Kalama Sutta again

Post by Zom »

What does the Buddha mean when he says "know for yourselves"?
That means that you know that this or that mental quality is bad, because you know and see how it creates problems and sufferings both for yourself and others. Or - vica versa - in a case of a good quality.
daverupa
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Re: Kalama Sutta again

Post by daverupa »

SamKR wrote:Does he mean the following?
* first we should do the experiment (by applying any teaching/quality that is under scrutiny), and
* then make our decision (whether to enter & remain in the teaching/quality or not) based on the result of our experiment--our experience (of being good or bad) of the past?
I read it as talking about experiential knowledge, not knowledge from purely logical or purely authoritarian sources; I think there must be something else to your question, though, since you've focused on this idea of 'the past'...
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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cooran
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Re: Kalama Sutta again

Post by cooran »

Hello SamKR,

Bhikkhu Bodhi explains this, in detail, here:

A Look at the Kalama Sutta by Bhikkhu Bodhi
…………………..
The passage that has been cited so often runs as follows: "Come, Kalamas. Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing, nor upon tradition, nor upon rumor, nor upon scripture, nor upon surmise, nor upon axiom, nor upon specious reasoning, nor upon bias toward a notion pondered over, nor upon another's seeming ability, nor upon the consideration 'The monk is our teacher.' When you yourselves know: 'These things are bad, blamable, censured by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to harm and ill,' abandon them... When you yourselves know: 'These things are good, blameless, praised by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness,' enter on and abide in them."

Now this passage, like everything else spoken by the Buddha, has been stated in a specific context — with a particular audience and situation in view — and thus must be understood in relation to that context.
[READ ON]…………………………….
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ay_09.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

with 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 ---
SamKR
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Re: Kalama Sutta again

Post by SamKR »

Thanks Jhana4, Zom, and Daverupa for your replies.
daverupa wrote:
SamKR wrote:Does he mean the following?
* first we should do the experiment (by applying any teaching/quality that is under scrutiny), and
* then make our decision (whether to enter & remain in the teaching/quality or not) based on the result of our experiment--our experience (of being good or bad) of the past?
I read it as talking about experiential knowledge, not knowledge from purely logical or purely authoritarian sources; I think there must be something else to your question, though, since you've focused on this idea of 'the past'...
Yes, I focused on the idea of 'the past' because I thought experiences mostly means the past experiences -- not the experience of 'here and now'.
SamKR
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Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2009 4:33 pm

Re: Kalama Sutta again

Post by SamKR »

cooran wrote:Hello SamKR,

Bhikkhu Bodhi explains this, in detail, here:

A Look at the Kalama Sutta by Bhikkhu Bodhi
…………………..
The passage that has been cited so often runs as follows: "Come, Kalamas. Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing, nor upon tradition, nor upon rumor, nor upon scripture, nor upon surmise, nor upon axiom, nor upon specious reasoning, nor upon bias toward a notion pondered over, nor upon another's seeming ability, nor upon the consideration 'The monk is our teacher.' When you yourselves know: 'These things are bad, blamable, censured by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to harm and ill,' abandon them... When you yourselves know: 'These things are good, blameless, praised by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness,' enter on and abide in them."

Now this passage, like everything else spoken by the Buddha, has been stated in a specific context — with a particular audience and situation in view — and thus must be understood in relation to that context.
[READ ON]…………………………….
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ay_09.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

with metta
Chris
Thank you cooran for that link. I somehow ignored the link at the bottom of the Kalama Sutta page.
Bhikkhu Bodhi's article is interesting, and I am reading it now.
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