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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All people in the world, including the Thai people, are now in the same situation as were the Kalama people of Kesaputtanigama, India, during the time of the Buddha.

Their village was in a place through which many religious teachers passed. Each of these teachers taught that his personal doctrine was the only truth, and that all others before and after him were wrong. So ka,ama Buddha taught them what is now known as the Kalama Suttaexamined here. Nowadays, worldly people can study many different approaches to economic, social and technological development.

The universities teach just about everything. The Buddha taught them, and us, not to accept or believe anything immediately.

Buddhist Scriptures: Kalama Sutta

He gave ten basic conditions to beware of in order to avoid becoming the intellectual slave of anyone, even of the Buddha himself. This principle enables xutta to know how to choose the teachings, which are truly capable of quenching suffering dukkha.

The ten examples, which the Buddha gave in the Kalama Sutta follow:. The other animals saw it running at full strength, and then so frightened and excited each other that they ran after it. Most of them tripped and fell, broke their necks, or tumbled to death off cliffs. Memorized teachings, which are passed on orally should not be confused with Pitaka.

They can be created, improved and changed by human hands. So we cannot trust every letter and word in them. We need to use our powers of discrimination to see how those words can be applied to the quenching of suffering.

The various schools of Buddhism all have their own cannons, among which there are discrepancies. Do not believe just because something fits with the reasoning of logic takka.

BELIEVE NOTHING: 10 teachings from the Kalama Sutta to defend against intellectual dependence

This is merely one branch of study used to try to figure out the truth. Do not believe just because something is correct on the grounds of naya deductive and inductive reasoning alone.

It can be incorrect if the reasoning or choice of assumptions is inappropriate. We like using this approach so much that it becomes habitual. Boastful philosophers like to use this method a great deal and consider it to be clever. 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.

We often find that speakers who appear credible on the outside say incorrect and foolish things. 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.


Do not worship computers so much, for doing so goes against this principle of the Kalama Sutta.

The Buddha emphasized this point often, and there were disciples, such as the venerable Shariputra, who confirmed this practice. This is the greatest special quality of Buddhism, which keeps its practitioners from being the intellectual slaves of anyone, as explained above.

We thus should not volunteer to follow the West as slavishly as we are doing now. Intellectual and spiritual freedom is best. When listening to anything, one should give it careful attention and full scrutiny. The principle of the Kalama Sutta is appropriate for everyone, everywhere, every era and every world— even for the world of devas gods.

Nowadays the world has been shrunk by superb communications. Information can be exchanged easily and rapidly. People can receive new knowledge from every direction and corner of the globe. Please give it the good attention and study it deserves.

Consider it the greatest good fortune that the Buddha taught the Sktta Sutta. It is a gift for everyone in the world. The Kalama Sutta is to be used by people of all ages. Kalamaa of the items in the Kalama Sutta state that children should never believe anyone or should never listen to anyone, they all state that children, and everyone else, should listen and believe only after having seen the real meaning of something and the advantages they will receive from such belief and its subsequent practice.

Children will understand the principle of the Kalama Sutta more and more as kaama grow up. They will complete all ten items themselves as they become fully mature adults—if we train children by this standard. True scientists emphasize experimental verification, not their own concepts, opinions and reasoning, as their main criterion for accepting something as true.

Kalama Sutta

Due to these standards of the Kalama Sutta, Buddhism will meet the expectations and needs of true scientists. Should we offer ourselves as guinea pigs to test it, out of belief in the advertisements?

Or should we wait until we have sufficient reason to try just a little of it first, to see if it truly gives good results, before fully relying on it? 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.

The Kalama Sutta requires us to have wisdom before having faith. If one wants to have faith come first, then let it be the faith which begins with wisdom, not faith which comes from ignorance.

The same holds true in the principle of the Noble Eightfold Path: Take wisdom or right understanding as the starting point, then let faith grow out of that wisdom or right understanding. That is the only safe approach. We ought never to believe blindly immediately upon hearing something, nor should we be forced to believe out of fear, bribery and the like.


The world nowadays is so overwhelmed by the power of advertising that most people have become its slaves. Even with ordinary advertising, we must depend on the principle of the Kalama Sutta, to say nothing of needing this principle to deal with outright propaganda, which is full of intentional deceptions.

So we can say that the Kalama Sutta is beneficial even in solving economic problems. Does this world, which is intoxicated with freedom really know or have freedom in line with the principle of the Kalama Sutta? Is the lack of such freedom caused by blind ignorance and indifference regarding the Kalama Sutta?

Some people even claim that it teaches us not to believe or listen zutta anything. Then, your Buddhist quality of awakening will grow fat and robust, rather than skinny and weak. A democracy of selfish people means freedom to use their selfishness in a most frightening and kalma manner. Kalaam, problems drag on endlessly among those people who have a democracy of selfishness.

Stop saying that democracy is absolutely good or that dictatorship is absolutely good. Each population should choose whichever system suits the particular circumstances that it faces. More than ever before the modern world needs the Kalama Sutta as its basic operating principle. The world is spinning fast with the defilements of humanity.

Under the power of defilement, the world is worshipping materialism, sex and luxury, because it lacks standards like that of the Kalama Sutta. No one knows how to make choices in line with its principle. Consequently, the world is wholly unfit for peace, while increasing in crime and other harmful evils every moment.

Critical Thinking in Buddhism: The Kalama Sutta | Shin Dharma Net

Kalama Sutta, help us! Buddhadasa Bhikkhu was an influential ascetic-philosopher of the 20th century. 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. Although a formally ordained ascetic, Buddhadasa developed a personal view that rejected specific religious identification and considered all faiths as kaalama one.

This is kslama extract from his message to the people of Thailand in The full text can be read on the Mahidol University website. Mind-spirit Mind-spirit See all. The gift of meeting and greeting ourselves where we are December 25, Let us not retreat from giving this Christmas December 23, Conscious Creativity See all. Wholistic Health See all.

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