I’ve written my own version of the Kalama sutra to teach to the children at Dharma school. This is part one of a two part series that will end in my commentary.
1. The Buddha traveled to a town of people called the Kalamas. The Kalamas were excited about his visit. They had heard the tales of his Enlightenment and his great teachings.
2. The Kalamas went to where the Buddha was camping. Some of them bowed, some saluted, and some simply sat down before him.
3. One of the Kalamas said, “There are many teachers who have come to visit us. They tell us their teachings and they tell us that the teachings of others are bad. This happens over and over, with each new teacher telling us that the other teachings we’ve learned are bad. How do we know who is telling us the truth? How do we know if you are?
4. The Buddha said, “Doubting is good. Do not believe something just because you’ve heard it a lot, or because it’s an old teaching, or because it’s in a book, or because it’s what a seemingly wise person tells you. When you yourselves can tell, ‘These things are not helpful. These things seem harmful,’ abandon them. Don’t accept teachings that don’t agree with your common sense.
5. “Does greed cause harm?” the Buddha asked. The Kalamas said, “Yes.” “Greed can cause us to take life, steal, and tell lies. And to tell others to do the same. This is very harmful.”
6. “Does hate cause harm?” “Yes” “Being given to hate can cause us to take life, steal, tell lies, and cause others to do the same. This is harmful.
7. “Does delusion cause harm?” “Yes” “Being given to delusion can cause us to take life, steal, and tell lies, and to cause others to do the same. This is harmful.”
8. “Are these things bad?” “Yes.”
9. “There fore, we know this. Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing, tradition, rumor, scripture, or another’s seeming ability. The truth is that we know the difference between right and wrong. Someone doesn’t need to tell us. If any teaching leads to harm, you should abandon it.”
10. “When things are good, we know they are good.”