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Doubtful

by Kalama Sutta

Yes, you may well doubt. You may well be uncertain. In a doubtful matter, uncertainty does arise. Come with me and listen…

  1. Do not [make the basis for a belief] based on an unbroken succession of teaching [or of teachers].
  2. Do not [make the basis for a belief] based on a report or hearsay.
  3. Do not [make the basis for a belief] based on speculative metaphysical theories [or reasons and arguments].
  4. Do not [make the basis for a belief] based on a point of view [perhaps inference].
  5. Do not [make the basis for a belief] based on reflecting on reasons.
  6. Do not [make the basis for a belief] based on acceptance of a statement as true because it agrees with a theory of which one is already convinced.
  7. Do not [make the basis for a belief] based on grounds for competence [or reliability] of a person.
  8. Do not [make the basis for a belief] based on a respect, thinking, ‘our teacher’ says thus and thus…
  9. Do not [make a basis for a belief] based on authoritative tradition maintained by oral repetition or unverified documents [having its origin in some revelation from such and such…].
  10. But, when you know for yourself through your own experience and knowledge that these teachings and practices are unskillful; that these teachings and practices are blamable; that these teachings and practices are censured by the intelligent and the wise. After undertaken and observed and analyzed, they lead to harm and ill, you should abandon them.
  11. But when you know for yourself through your own experience and knowledge that these teachings and practices are skillful, that these teachings and practices are blameless, that these teachings and practices are praised by the intelligent and the wise. After undertaken, observed, and analyzed, they lead to benefit and happiness, then you should undertake them and live by them.

Now, he who is, a Noble Listener, freed from coveting and malevolence, who is not bewildered, but is self-controlled and mindful, with a heart possessed of friendliness, possessed of compassion, possessed of gladness-with-others, possessed of equanimity, free from affliction, untainted and purified, in this very life four assurances are to be attained:

  1. If there is a world beyond, and there is the fruit and result of kamma, then when the body breaks up after death, he shall arise in a happy bourn, in a heaven world.” This is the first assurance attained by him.
  2. If, however, there is no world beyond, no fruit and no result of kamma, yet in this very life he dwells free from hostility and affliction, sorrowless and happy. This is the second assurance attained by him.
  3. Even if having done evil [kamma is effective in producing a result], nevertheless, NOW he does not think to do evil towards any being and non-being. So how can ill touch him?” This is the third assurance attained by him.
  4. Even if not having done evil [kamma is not effective in producing any result], then in both ways he holds himself utterly pure. This is the fourth assurance attained by him.           

Listen Noble Listener, your heart is free from hostility, free from affliction, untainted and purified. In this very life, you will attain these four assurances.

-Buddha

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Buddha Mongkon
All true