Buddhist Temple in Delhi

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Advice to the Kalamas

A brief summary of the Kalama Sutta
Also known as ‘Advice to the Kalamas’ or ‘The Buddha’s Charter of Free Enquiry’:

10Thus I have heard. Once the Buddha was wandering in the Kosalan country and came to a town of the Kalama people called Kesaputta.

After giving him praise as the Exalted One, a Fully Enlightened One, perfect in wisdom and practice, the people asked how they could separate true teachings from false teachings.

The Buddha replied: Do not accept things just because they are being repeated, or come from tradition, scriptures, rumour, guesswork, incorrect reasoning, a bias towards the subject, clever oration or mere respect for the teacher or speaker. When you know for yourself that something leads to harm and sorrow and is not welcomed by the wise, then abandon it.

You can see that the presence of greed, hatred or ignorance leads to people taking life, stealing, committing adultery and telling lies, as well as encouraging others to do likewise. All these activities lead to harm and sorrow.

When freedom from greed, hatred and ignorance is achieved by the presence of love, compassion, joy and equanimity then people do not take life, steal, commit adultery and tell lies, as well as encouraging others to do likewise. The absence of all these blameful activities, you will observe, will lead to lasting benefit and happiness. Such behaviour is praised by the wise.

The people of Kesaputta rejoiced praised the Buddha for his teaching which uncovered what was concealed, pointed the way for those who are lost, carried a light into darkness. They then took refuge in the Triple Gem: the Blessed One, his Dharma teachings and the Community of Monastics, for the rest of their lives.

Anguttara Nikaya. See also Wheel Series publication, number 8.

The Four Reliance’s taught by The Buddha

Rely on the truth the teacher teaches, not on his personality.

Rely on what he means, not on the words he speaks.

Rely on the real meaning, not on a partial provisional understanding.

Rely on your wisdom mind, not on judgemental intellect.

Do not accept any of my words on faith,

Believing them just because I said them.

Be like an analyst buying gold, who cuts, burns,

And critically examines his product for authenticity.

Only accept what passes the test

By proving useful and beneficial in your life,
The Buddha