Author Topic: Poor old Kalama Sutta!  (Read 3742 times)

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Poor old Kalama Sutta!
« Reply #45 on: July 27, 2013, 01:32:01 am »
Spiny, it wasn't in regard to anything you said, but songhill (message #33)

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Poor old Kalama Sutta!
« Reply #46 on: July 27, 2013, 04:22:53 am »
And the Majjhima Nikaya (MN 123) states that the newly born Siddhartha took seven steps to the north and exclaimed in a loud voice "I'm the chief in this world, the most accepted and the most senior. This is my last birth, I will not be born again!"

Really, does anyone actually believe this?


Maybe he was a "gifted child". :wink1:

But seriously, yes, we need to be discerning when reading ancient religious texts.  I think the difficulty comes in deciding where to "draw the line", which I suspect is often a very subjective process because it's highly dependent on our own conditioning, beliefs and assumptions.  And while there are ways of becoming aware of our biases, I'm not convinced we can ever fully put them aside.  It's not like a pair of glasses we can take off.
So for example, depending on their inclination one person will see a sutta passage as literal description, while another will see it as metaphor.  But for me the important question is "what did the authors originally intend to convey?"
« Last Edit: July 27, 2013, 04:31:38 am by Spiny Norman »
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Offline phetaroi

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Re: Poor old Kalama Sutta!
« Reply #47 on: July 27, 2013, 10:29:35 am »
I have to admit that I quote the kalama sutta when people ask me about Buddhism and why I consider it different to the other religions. Being free to choose what you believe and using logic and compassion instead of the threat of hellfire and eternal damnation is a big plus point in my view.

Sure, and I guess for western Buddhists who grew up with Christianity the Kalama Sutta would seem like a breath of fresh air.  Though I also think some people throw the baby out with the bathwater in their wholesale rejection of anything which looks metaphysical, mystical or "religious".

I know many western Buddhists who became Buddhists as a reaction to their former religion, generally, fundamentalist. In this respect, they hope to find Buddhism the very antithesis of religion and their former faith. Sadly, they are quite wrong about Buddhism— perhaps almost totally wrong. Buddhism is about as religious as it gets. It's just not Christianity. Buddhism has its gods, many in fact. It has its devil, Mara the Evil One. It even has its own so-called fall in the Aggañña Sutta. The main difference between Buddhism and Christianity is one is mystical (look within) and the other one, Christianity, is external. Let's all wait for JC to return with his angels who will gather out of the kingdom of JC everything that offends.

That's a very good explanation of the Theravadan religion I came accustomed to in Thailand, and I appreciate your wisdom in recognizing the differences between the "geography" of Buddhism.

Offline phetaroi

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Re: Poor old Kalama Sutta!
« Reply #48 on: July 27, 2013, 10:31:14 am »

But what if the Buddha legend were nothing but a huge allegory about spiritual birth? Aye Bhante, then it would not be too bright to toss out the precious baby with the bathwater.

Thank you for that thought.  It never occurred to me.

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Poor old Kalama Sutta!
« Reply #49 on: November 14, 2013, 06:29:29 am »
Harkening back to the OP, Buddha's message to The Kalamas was quite practical, and, from my experience, quite useful and efficacious:  "Don't buy a pig in a poke!" Another way of putting this, more familiar to western cultures:  " Test drive all vehicles and have them inspected by "your" mechanic" before purchasing."  This doesn't mean that we have to become skeptics , but simply "prudent".

The other part which has benefitted me over the years is that I need only to get involved in those issues, which personally involve me.  No need to go poking around in other people's business.  For example, if a neighbor of mine wishes to become a "Jehovah's Witness" that is his path, not mine.   I need only to verify and validate that which is put to me for the intentional actions I am considering, not everyone else's.

 As Buddha put it to his son Rahula in his analogy of "The Mirror":  It is my responsibility to reflect upon the potential outcomes of my intentional actions both before and after taking them to see if they will/have been of benefit to all affected, or will or have caused harm.  From that effort we gain some personal amount of control over karmic effects and the value of our efforts towards unbinding and release.

source:  http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.061.than.html

:dharma:
« Last Edit: November 14, 2013, 07:09:16 am by Bodhisatta 2013+314/365 ths »
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-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Poor old Kalama Sutta!
« Reply #50 on: November 14, 2013, 07:00:44 am »
This doesn't mean that we have to become skeptics , but simply "prudent".

That's a good description... prudent.

 


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