Kalama Sutta: The Buddha’s Charter of Free Inquiry The Kalamas who were inhabitants of Kesaputta: “Reverend Gotama, the monk, the son of the Sakiyans, . A Look at the Kalama Sutta by Bhikkhu Bodhi. The discourse has been described as “the Buddha’s Charter of Free Inquiry,” and though the discourse certainly. Kalama Sutta. The people of Kalama asked the Buddha who to believe out of all the ascetics, sages, venerables, and holy ones who, like himself, passed.

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Still confused by the conflicting claims to which they have been exposed, they are not yet clear even about the groundwork of morality. They expound, explain and glorify their own doctrines; the doctrines of others they deprecate, revile, show contempt for, and disparage. The first and main part of the Kalama Sutta stuta often quoted, but an equally important section of the Kalama Sutta follows on from this.

An evening with bats December 28, The Buddha asserts that a happy and moral life would be correct even if there is no karma and reincarnation. This is the greatest special quality of Buddhism, which keeps its practitioners from being the intellectual slaves of anyone, as explained above. He delivers in response a sermon that serves as an entry point to the Dhamma, the Buddhist teachings for those unconvinced by mere spectacular revelation.

Faith in the Buddha’s kalqma is never regarded as an end in itself nor as a sufficient guarantee of liberation, but only as the starting point for an evolving process of inner transformation that comes to fulfillment in personal insight.

It is true the Buddha does not ask the Kalamas to accept anything klaama says out of confidence in himself, but let us note one important point: A story is told that once in a dispute one rabbi kapama on his opinion as the truth in the dispute, and threatened to call down the voice of God back him up.

He next speaks the passage quoted above, advising the Kalamas to abandon those things they know for themselves kalma be bad and to undertake those things they know for themselves to be good. Under the power of defilement, the world is worshipping materialism, sex and luxury, because it lacks standards like that of the Kalama Sutta. Running through these ways of acquiring information and achieving spiritual understanding and faith is the issue of authority.

Does hate appear in a man for his benefit or harm?

The principle of the Kalama Sutta is kzlama for everyone, everywhere, every era and every world— kqlama for kalaam world of devas gods. Each population should choose whichever system suits the particular circumstances that it faces. This is an extract from his message to the people of Thailand in It is a gift for everyone in the world.


Known as an innovative re-interpreter of Buddhist doctrine and Thai folk beliefs, Buddhadasa fostered a reformation in conventional religious perceptions in his home country, Thailand, as well as abroad. The Buddha taught them, and us, not to accept or believe anything immediately. 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?

The Kalama Sutta, which sets forth the principles that should be followed by a seeker of truth, and which contains a standard things are judged by, belongs to a framework of the Dhamma; the four solaces taught in the sutta point out the extent to which the Buddha permits suspense of judgment in matters beyond normal cognition. The Buddha begins by assuring the Kalamas that under such circumstances it is proper for them to doubt, an assurance which encourages free inquiry.

Stop saying that democracy is absolutely good or that dictatorship is absolutely good. Does absence of delusion appear in a man for his benefit or harm? What can be justly maintained is that those aspects of the Buddha’s teaching that come within the purview of our ordinary experience suttx be personally confirmed within experience, and that this confirmation provides a sound basis for placing faith in those aspects of the teaching that necessarily transcend ordinary experience.

We are not to accept something because it is an axiom, axiomatic, that is, an unquestioned, apparently self evident, or assumed truth. Accepting what fits our theories may seem to be a scientific approach, but actually can never be so, since its proofs and experiments are inadequate. He gave ten suttq conditions to beware of in order to avoid becoming the intellectual slave of anyone, even of the Buddha himself. Each of these teachers taught that his personal doctrine was sutga only truth, and that all others before and after him were wrong.

They can be what we regard as half truths. Then it is possible that at the dissolution of the body after death, I shall arise in the heavenly world, which is possessed of the state of bliss.

Kalama Sutta

Children will understand the principle of the Kalama Sutta more and more as they grow up. Although a formally ordained ascetic, Buddhadasa developed a personal view that rejected specific religious identification and considered all faiths as principally one.


We are not to simply accept a surmise, something accepted as true while as yet unproven. The other animals saw it running at full strength, and then so frightened and excited each other that they ran after it.

Rather than supporting skepticism or subjective truths, in the sutta the Buddha continues to argue that the three unwholesome roots greed, hatred and delusion lead to the opposite negative results, i. But in order for this insight to exercise a truly liberative function, it must unfold in the context of an accurate grasp of the essential truths concerning our situation in the world and the domain where deliverance is to be sought.

Buddhist Scriptures: Kalama Sutta

Information can be exchanged easily and rapidly. He advocates a questioning, inquiring spirit, refusing to accept anything simply based on invoking an authority. We like using this approach so much that it becomes habitual.

Nowadays, we must be wary of computers because the programmers who feed them data and manipulate them may feed in the wrong information or use them incorrectly. The Kalama Sutta states Pali expression in parentheses: However, for those whose vision is capable of widening to encompass the broader horizons of our existence. This is how to live: The Kalamas of Kesaputta ask for guidance from the Buddha 3. We should respond to new statements and teachings as we respond to new medicines, by depending on the principles in the Kalama Sutta as a true refuge.

Critical Thinking in Buddhism: The Kalama Sutta

Do not go upon what has 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 pondered over; nor upon another’s seeming ability; nor upon the consideration, ‘The monk is our teacher. This interpretation of the sutta, however, forgets that the advice the Buddha gave the Kalamas was contingent upon the understanding that they were not yet prepared kaalma place faith in him and his doctrine; it also forgets that the sutta omits, for that very reason, all mention of right view and of the entire perspective that opens up when right view is acquired.

The Kalamas, however, at the start of the discourse are not yet fertile soil for him to sow the seeds of his liberating message.