Kalama Sutta: An Antidote to Doubts on the Path of Self-Development

difficulties on the path of self-development are manifested in the form of doubts or loss of faith in the effectiveness of the practice. This introduction to one of the Buddhist sutras is written for two purposes:

  1. Explain what doubts this text will help to clarify.
  2. Encourage you to read the text completely on your own, and in order to consolidate understanding, read it more than once.

Every practitioner one way or another meets with questions about the correctness of the chosen path, falling into the trap of words and metaphysical questions.

 

Kalama Sutta: An Antidote to Doubts on the Path of Self-Development

The first group of questions will sound like this:

  • “And what is truth and truth? Which teaching is the right one?
  • How not to be mistaken, because there is so little time, life is short?
  • Who to believe if the teachings differ, and the teachers' arguments are weighty and logical, and some traditions offer techniques, denying the effectiveness of other techniques. "

 

The second group of questions is related to the theories of karma and reincarnation, which sound like this:

  • “And if there is no karma, and these are just attempts to control the minds, to use gullible simpletons?
  • What is there, beyond the line of life? And if there is nothing there, then why limit yourself here and now? Why rules, moral principles and restrictions, if the last breath ends with "I"?
  • And what is the real reality; maybe our whole life follows the script from the 13th Floor movie, or is it “a dream within a dream” like in the movie Inception? "

Experience in meditation practice helps to eliminate or independently answer these questions, but in order to practice diligently, patiently and regularly, you need faith and understanding. This is exactly what helps to gain reading and listening to the Kalama Sutta.

Not everyone can read the text in the original, even if they speak Pali or Sanskrit. This material contains a translation of the orientalist A.V. Paribka (with his consent). Andrei Vsevolodovich translated from Pali, compiled, commented, and provided a preface to a number of the most important literary monuments of ancient Indian Buddhism, including "Jataki", which were published with the participation of Oum.ru.

 

What is the story of the Kalama Sutta

The action takes place in an Indian village, the locals of which are called "kalamas". Many teachers come to the settlement with very different views, each proclaiming his own doctrine while criticizing the doctrines of other teachers. "What teaching should be followed?" - ask the Kalama question and go to the Buddha in the hope that he will help dispel their doubts.

The Kalams also have questions regarding the authenticity of the theory of rebirth and the principles of manifestation of retribution for good and bad deeds, that is, the work of the law of karma.

The Buddha explains that in this situation, doubts are natural, and prompts them to joint analysis, which they carry out in conversation, gradually coming to the conclusion that thirst, anger, ignorance lead to harm and suffering, both their own and other people, and therefore they should be discarded. Whereas the opposite good qualities for each and every one should be developed.

When discussing metaphysical questions, the Buddha explains that, whether there is life after death or not, moral behavior bears fruit in the here and now.

Calmness, a feeling of inner stability and security is much better than the unsteady pleasures that can be obtained by violating moral principles and following the desires of the mind. Regardless of whether a person is ready to accept beliefs about life after death or it does not fit into his picture of the world, such a teaching ensures his well-being in the present.

Kalama Sutta: An Antidote to Doubts on the Path of Self-Development

Kalama Sutta (Anguttara Nikaya III.65 [1])

Translated from Pali by A.V. Paribka

This is what I heard: once the Blessed One, wandering around the country of Koshale with a large community of monks, came to the Kesamutta torzhok, inhabited by Kalam. And they heard the Kalams, the inhabitants of the torzhok of Kesamutta: “They say that Shraman Gotama, from the Shakya tribe, who had gone to ascetics from the Shakya clan, arrived in Kesamutta. And about this Blessed Gotamu such good fame spread: “He is, they say, Blessed, holy, truly all-awakened, full of knowledge and behavior, walking in goodness, a connoisseur of the world, unsurpassable, tamer of violent men, teacher of gods and people, awakened, Blessed. It is good to see such saints! ””.

And so the Kalamas from Kesamutta came to where the Blessed One was; coming closer, some of them greeted the Blessed One and sat down beside him; some greeted the Blessed One, exchanged courteous, friendly speeches with him, and sat down beside him; some folded their hands in prayer, turning towards the Blessed One, and sat down beside him; some called themselves by name and family and sat down by the side; and some silently sat down beside him. And sitting next to the Blessed One, the Kalamas from Kesamutta said to the Blessed One:

“It happens, sir, that some sramana and brahmana come to Kesamutta. They only explain their teaching, they enlighten us about it, while other people's teachings condemn, despise, blaspheme and cut their wings. And others, venerable, sramana and brahmana come to Kesamutta; they also only explain their teaching, they enlighten us about it, while other people's teachings condemn, despise, blaspheme and cut their wings. And so, sir, we still have doubts and bewilderment: "So which of these venerable sramanas and brahmanas speaks the truth, and who is a lie?"

 

- Yes, there is something for you, kalams, to doubt, there is something to be perplexed about. Indeed, you were perplexed about something dubious.

 

- Decide, kalams, not by hearsay, not by custom, not by hearsay; not because it is indicated in the code; not based on an assumption, not based on a conclusion, not as a result of various considerations; not because it agrees with the views that you already have; not relying on plausibility; not because you respect such and such sramana. But if you, kalamas, will know yourself: "These are bad things, these are shameful things, these things are condemned by the rational, these things, if you fully introduce them into your life, will turn into harm and misfortune," then you, kalamas, discard them ...

 

- And what do you think, Kalamas, if greed arises inside a person, then it arises for good or for harm?

- To the detriment, venerable.

- A greedy person, kalamy, possessed by greed, so that his spirit is seized by it, and deprives others of life, and not given, he enters another's wife, and lies, and persuades another to similar deeds, and this will be to his detriment for a long time and unfortunately.

“That's right, venerable.

- And what do you think, Kalamas, if malice arises inside a person, then it arises for good or for harm?

- To the detriment, venerable.

- An evil man, kalam, overwhelmed with malice, so that his spirit is seized by it, and it deprives him of life, and does not take it, and enters another's wife, and lies, and inclines another to similar deeds, and it will be to his detriment for a long time and unfortunately.

“That's right, venerable.

- And what do you think, Kalamas, if darkness arises within a person, then it arises for good or for harm?

- To the detriment, venerable.

- A clouded man, kalam, overwhelmed by clouding, so that his spirit is seized by it, and deprives others of life, and not given, and enters another's wife, and lies, and inclines another to similar deeds, and this will be to his detriment for a long time and unfortunately.

“That's right, venerable.

- And what do you think, kalams, are these things good or bad?

- Bad, respectable.

- Gap or non-gap?

- Wicked, venerable.

- Do sensible people blaspheme or praise them?

- Blasphemy, venerable.

- If you fully introduce them into your life, won't they turn into harm and misfortune? How do you think?

- If, venerable, you introduce them into your life, they will turn into harm and misfortune. In our way.

- Okay, kalams. So when we said: “Decide, kalams, not by hearsay, not by custom, not by hearsay; not because it is indicated in the code; not based on an assumption, not based on a conclusion, not as a result of various considerations; not because it agrees with the views that you already have; not relying on credibility; not because you respect such and such a sramana. But, if you, Kalamas, will know yourself: “These are bad things, these are shameful things, these things are condemned by the rational, these things, if you fully introduce them into your life, will turn into harm and misfortune” - then you, Kalamas, throw them away ” , - we just said about this.

- Decide, kalams, not by hearsay, not by custom, not by hearsay; not because it is indicated in the code; not based on an assumption, not based on a conclusion, not as a result of various considerations; not because it agrees with the views that you already have; not relying on plausibility; not because you respect such and such sramana. But if you, Kalamas, will know yourself: “These are good things, these are not shameful things, these things are praised by the intelligent, these things, if you fully introduce them into your life, will turn into goodness and happiness,” then you, Kalamas, master them and follow them.

- And what do you think, kalamas: if there is ruthlessness inside a person, then it arises for good or for harm?

- For the good, venerable.

- A ruthless person, kalams, not possessed by greed, so that his spirit is not engulfed in it, and he does not deprive others of life, and does not take what is not given, and does not enter another's wife, and does not lie, and does not incline another to this, and will it will be for his good and happiness for a long time.

“That's right, venerable.

- And what do you think, kalamas, if goodness arises inside a person <...> if uncloudedness arises inside a person, then it arises for good or for harm? <...>

“That's right, venerable.

- And what do you think, kalams, are these things good or bad?

- Good, respectable.

- Gap or non-gap?

- Non-objectionable, venerable.

- Do sensible people blaspheme or praise them?

- Praise, venerable.

- If you fully introduce them into your life, will they not turn into good and happiness?

How do you think?

- If, venerable, fully introduce them into your life, then they will turn into good and happiness. In our way.

“So, kalams, when we said:“ Decide, kalams, not by hearsay, not by custom, not by hearsay; not because it is indicated in the code; not based on an assumption, not based on a conclusion, not as a result of various considerations; not because it agrees with the views that you already have; not relying on plausibility; not because you respect such and such sramana. But if you, kalamas, know yourself: “These are good things, these are not shameful things, these things are praised by the intelligent, these things, if you fully introduce them into your life, will turn into goodness and happiness,” then you, kalamas, master them and follow them, ”we said just about this.

- The Aryan listener, oh kalamas, alien to greed, alien to malice, not at all darkened, in intelligence and memory, with his spirit, full of love, embraces one side of the world and is kept in this state, and then - the second, and the third, and the fourth , and up, and down, and sideways: everywhere and in every possible way he embraces the whole world with his spirit, filled with love - huge, great, immeasurable, alien to enmity and hostility. And in the same way - in a spirit full of mercy ... full of compassion ... full of impartiality, he embraces one side of the world and is kept in this state, and then - the second, and the third, and the fourth, and up, and down, and sideways : everywhere and in every possible way he embraces the whole world with his spirit, full of impartiality - huge, great, immeasurable, alien to enmity and ill will.

“This, O Kalamas, is an Aryan listener, whose thoughts are so alien to enmity, alien to malice, alien to defilement and so pure. And it turns out that they have already achieved four consolations in this life.

“If there is that light and there is the ripening of the fruit of good and bad deeds, then after death, after the disintegration of my body, I will go to heaven, into a good lot,” this is the first consolation that he achieved.

“If there is no that light, there is no ripening of the fruit of good and bad deeds, then in this life I am already alien to hostility, greed, foolishness and I dish myself in happiness” - this is the second consolation that they have achieved.

“If evil is done to the one who does evil, then I am not plotting against anyone. And since I do not do evil deeds, will trouble come to me? " - this is the third consolation that he has achieved.

“And if evil is not done to the one who does evil, then it is all the same: I am both so and so I am completely pure,” - this is the fourth consolation that they have achieved.

“Such is, O Kalamas, the Aryan listener, whose thoughts are so alien to enmity, alien to malice, alien to defilement and so pure. And it turns out that they have already achieved four consolations in this life.

- Truly, Blessed One, truly walking in goodness! Such is the Aryan listener, whose thoughts are so alien to enmity, alien to malice, alien to defilement, and so pure. And it turns out that they have already achieved four consolations in this life.

“If there is that light and there is the ripening of the fruit of good and bad deeds, then after death, after the disintegration of my body, I will go to heaven, into a good lot,” this is the first consolation that he achieved.

“If there is no that light, there is no ripening of the fruit of good and bad deeds, then in this life I am already alien to hostility, greed, foolishness and I dish myself in happiness” - this is the second consolation that they have achieved.

“If evil is done to the one who does evil, then I am not plotting against anyone. And since I do not do evil deeds, will trouble come to me? " - this is the third consolation that he has achieved.

“And if evil is not done to the one who does evil, then it is all the same: I am both so and so I am completely pure,” - this is the fourth consolation that they have achieved.

- Yes, honorable. Such is the Aryan listener, whose thoughts are so alien to enmity, alien to malice, alien to defilement, and so pure. And it turns out that they have already achieved four consolations in this life.

- Excellent, venerable, excellent, venerable! The venerable one straightened him like a hunchback, as if he had found something hidden, brought the lost on the road, put an oil lamp in the darkness! He who has eyes, let him see - in the same way, the Blessed One expounded the Dharma in different ways. We now go under the protection of the Blessed One, the Dharma and the Community of monks, and may the Blessed One consider us from this day to be his worldly followers, who have found protection in this as long as they are alive.

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