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Kalama Sutra

In the Pali Buddhist canon, the Kalama Sutta contains an exchange between the Buddha and the Kalamas, a clan of villagers. They were bewildered by the different religions and sects that they had encountered. “How do we know which one of them is teaching the truth?” They asked the Buddha, who replied:

Of course you are uncertain, Kalamas.
Of course you are in doubt.
When there are reasons for doubt, uncertainty is born.
So in this case, Kalamas, don’t go by reports, by legends,
by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture,
by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views,
by probability, or by the thought,
‘This contemplative is our teacher.’
When you know for yourselves that,
‘These qualities are unskillful;
these qualities are blameworthy;
these qualities are criticized by the wise;
these qualities, when adopted & carried out,
lead to harm & to suffering’
— then you should abandon them.


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