"Believe nothing unless..." quote

General forum on the teachings of all schools of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. Topics specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
User avatar
weitsicht
Posts: 223
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:47 pm

"Believe nothing unless..." quote

Post by weitsicht » Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:21 pm

There is this famous Buddha quote that I heard already reference made to on several occasions
Believe nothing, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense

Now, when I apply this to the common internet search algorithm, results very from "the Buddha never said that" to "it's a bad translation that contradicts the message of the sutta in the sense that reason and common sense are not sufficient for ascertaining the truth"

So is it me stupid or the interpreters and the search algorithm? :soapbox:

Thanks! W

Simon E.
Posts: 5526
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 11:09 am

Re: "Believe nothing unless..." quote

Post by Simon E. » Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:30 pm

Its a loaded and poor translation taken out of its context. Its context was an address by Shakyamuni Buddha to a group of people who were not his students.
If you use the word 'mind' without defining your terms I will ask you politely for a definition. :smile:
This is not to be awkward. But it's really not self-explanatory.

User avatar
Kim O'Hara
Former staff member
Posts: 3696
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:09 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: "Believe nothing unless..." quote

Post by Kim O'Hara » Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:36 pm

Both answers are sort-of-true. The Buddha didn't say exactly that, but he did say something quite similar. However, that quote by itself misrepresents what the Buddha actually said because you need the context.
As one translator puts it, "One's own preferences are not to be followed simply because they seem logical or resonate with one's feelings. Instead, any view or belief must be tested by the results it yields when put into practice; and — to guard against the possibility of any bias or limitations in one's understanding of those results — they must further be checked against the experience of people who are wise."
It would be good for you to read the whole sutra - it isn't very long and it's here -
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

:namaste:
Kim

User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 8045
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: "Believe nothing unless..." quote

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:40 pm

Its from the Kalama Sutta, but usually gets decontextualized and used to advocate a form of skepticism which is unhealthy Dharma - wise.

Lots of ' Western' Buddhism goes like that, you can take a quote, then marry to a philosophy it does not come from, and it becomes something else.
"it must be coming from the mouthy mastermind of raunchy rapper, Johnny Dangerous”

-Jeff H.

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 27770
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: "Believe nothing unless..." quote

Post by Malcolm » Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:42 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:40 pm
Its from the Kalama Sutta, but usually gets decontextualized and used to advocate a form of skepticism which is unhealthy Dharma - wise.
It is not even in the Kalama Sutta at all. It is a bogus citation.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 8045
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: "Believe nothing unless..." quote

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:50 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:42 pm
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:40 pm
Its from the Kalama Sutta, but usually gets decontextualized and used to advocate a form of skepticism which is unhealthy Dharma - wise.
It is not even in the Kalama Sutta at all. It is a bogus citation.
I remember reading the exact thing, or something extremely close in the Kalama Sutta, prior to even having access to much commentary (pre internet days) ...so if it is a bad quote, then I am pretty sure there are 'bad' versions of the Sutta floating around. By memory, I think it was A Buddhist Bible by Goddard that I read it in, but not positive. Hell, you could incorrectly extract the same idea from the access to insight version above.
"it must be coming from the mouthy mastermind of raunchy rapper, Johnny Dangerous”

-Jeff H.

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 27770
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: "Believe nothing unless..." quote

Post by Malcolm » Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:54 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:50 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:42 pm
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:40 pm
Its from the Kalama Sutta, but usually gets decontextualized and used to advocate a form of skepticism which is unhealthy Dharma - wise.
It is not even in the Kalama Sutta at all. It is a bogus citation.
I remember reading the exact thing, or something extremely close in the Kalama Sutta, prior to even having access to much commentary (pre internet days) ...so if it is a bad quote, then I am pretty sure there are 'bad' versions of the Sutta floating around. By memory, I think it was A Buddhist Bible by Goddard that I read it in, but not positive. Hell, you could incorrectly extract the same idea from the access to insight version above.
It is a bogus citation. The Buddha never said anything remotely similar to "Believe nothing, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."

If he did, he would be contradicting himself:

"Excellent, Sariputta. Excellent. Those who have not known, seen, penetrated, realized, or attained it by means of discernment would have to take it on conviction in others that the faculty of conviction... persistence... mindfulness... concentration... discernment, when developed & pursued, gains a footing in the Deathless, has the Deathless as its goal & consummation; whereas those who have known, seen, penetrated, realized, & attained it by means of discernment would have no doubt or uncertainty that the faculty of conviction... persistence... mindfulness... concentration... discernment, when developed & pursued, gains a footing in the Deathless, has the Deathless as its goal & consummation."

-- Eastern Gatehouse Sutta.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 8045
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: "Believe nothing unless..." quote

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:01 pm

Ok turn off your translator brain fir a sec

What are you arguing with me about? If you believe its a gloss on the actual wording of the sutta..great, makes sense, I believe you.

All I am saying is that it is easy to misinterpret the actual sutta that way, including the version mentioned above, and that I am pretty sure I've seen 'versions' (quality not withstanding) that use wording very close to this.
"it must be coming from the mouthy mastermind of raunchy rapper, Johnny Dangerous”

-Jeff H.

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 27770
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: "Believe nothing unless..." quote

Post by Malcolm » Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:02 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:01 pm
Ok turn off your translator brain fir a sec

What are you arguing with me about? If you believe its a gloss on the actual wording of the sutta..great, makes sense, I believe you.
I am saying that the "citation" in question is totally bogus, false, fake, a forgery, and that Buddha never said anything remotely like it. I don't consider it a gloss at all.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 8045
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: "Believe nothing unless..." quote

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:06 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:02 pm
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:01 pm
Ok turn off your translator brain fir a sec

What are you arguing with me about? If you believe its a gloss on the actual wording of the sutta..great, makes sense, I believe you.
I am saying that the "citation" in question is totally bogus, false, fake, a forgery, and that Buddha never said anything remotely like it. I don't consider it a gloss at all.
You can pull very similar, decontextualized quotes from the access to insight version.
"it must be coming from the mouthy mastermind of raunchy rapper, Johnny Dangerous”

-Jeff H.

Simon E.
Posts: 5526
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 11:09 am

Re: "Believe nothing unless..." quote

Post by Simon E. » Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:31 am

weitsicht wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:21 pm
There is this famous Buddha quote that I heard already reference made to on several occasions
Believe nothing, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense

Now, when I apply this to the common internet search algorithm, results very from "the Buddha never said that" to "it's a bad translation that contradicts the message of the sutta in the sense that reason and common sense are not sufficient for ascertaining the truth"

So is it me stupid or the interpreters and the search algorithm? :soapbox:

Thanks! W
So, weitsicht How are you doing? Is the debate useful to you?
If you use the word 'mind' without defining your terms I will ask you politely for a definition. :smile:
This is not to be awkward. But it's really not self-explanatory.

amanitamusc
Posts: 1034
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2010 3:32 am

Re: "Believe nothing unless..." quote

Post by amanitamusc » Thu Nov 30, 2017 1:40 am


User avatar
DNS
Site Admin
Posts: 3021
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:23 pm
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, Estados Unidos de América
Contact:

Re: "Believe nothing unless..." quote

Post by DNS » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:28 am

It's a paraphrase, although not necessarily a very good one from the Theravada Pali Canon, Kalama Sutta; one translation of the main part from Ven. Soma:
"Come, Kalamas. Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; nor upon tradition; nor upon rumor; nor upon what is in a scripture; nor upon surmise; nor upon an axiom; nor upon specious reasoning; nor upon a bias toward a notion that has been pondered over; nor upon another's seeming ability; nor upon the consideration, 'The monk is our teacher.' Kalamas, when you yourselves know: 'These things are good; these things are not blamable; these things are praised by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness,' enter on and abide in them.
Anguttara Nikaya 3.65
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .soma.html

Anonymous X
Posts: 813
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:43 am
Location: Bangkok

Re: "Believe nothing unless..." quote

Post by Anonymous X » Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:03 am

How can you talk/discuss about something that was never said? Is Malcolm the only one who gets it?

User avatar
DNS
Site Admin
Posts: 3021
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:23 pm
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, Estados Unidos de América
Contact:

Re: "Believe nothing unless..." quote

Post by DNS » Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:02 am

Anonymous X wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:03 am
How can you talk/discuss about something that was never said? Is Malcolm the only one who gets it?
As I said, it's a bad paraphrase, but it appears to be based off of the Kalama Sutta, which is a discourse of the Buddha, from Pali Canon. There is a Mahayana Sutra equivalent:

https://suttacentral.net/lzh/ma16

But I can't tell you what that says, it's all Chinese to me.

User avatar
PuerAzaelis
Posts: 958
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2016 1:37 pm

Re: "Believe nothing unless..." quote

Post by PuerAzaelis » Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:15 am

Translator's note by Thanissaro Bhikkhu to AN 3.65 which should be of interest to everyone:

Although this discourse is often cited as the Buddha's carte blanche for following one's own sense of right and wrong, it actually says something much more rigorous than that. Traditions are not to be followed simply because they are traditions. Reports (such as historical accounts or news) are not to be followed simply because the source seems reliable. One's own preferences are not to be followed simply because they seem logical or resonate with one's feelings. Instead, any view or belief must be tested by the results it yields when put into practice; and — to guard against the possibility of any bias or limitations in one's understanding of those results — they must further be checked against the experience of people who are wise. The ability to question and test one's beliefs in an appropriate way is called appropriate attention. The ability to recognize and choose wise people as mentors is called having admirable friends.
Generally, enjoyment of speech is the gateway to poor [results]. So it becomes the foundation for generating all negative emotional states. Jampel Pawo, The Certainty of the Diamond Mind

For posts from this user, see Karma Dondrup Tashi account.

Anonymous X
Posts: 813
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:43 am
Location: Bangkok

Re: "Believe nothing unless..." quote

Post by Anonymous X » Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:08 am

DNS wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:02 am
Anonymous X wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:03 am
How can you talk/discuss about something that was never said? Is Malcolm the only one who gets it?
As I said, it's a bad paraphrase, but it appears to be based off of the Kalama Sutta, which is a discourse of the Buddha, from Pali Canon. There is a Mahayana Sutra equivalent:

https://suttacentral.net/lzh/ma16

But I can't tell you what that says, it's all Chinese to me.
It was a rhetorical question, not directed towards you, directed to the general thread.

User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 8045
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: "Believe nothing unless..." quote

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:40 am

I get that it is not a direct translation of anything, I'm just not sure why thats an issue of focus. Someone can easily make the same mistake with the actual text, by cherry picking it, and they do.

But you're right, upon revisiting it I realize it is not what I read, even in a bad translation.. I concede there is no way it could be an actual quote.
"it must be coming from the mouthy mastermind of raunchy rapper, Johnny Dangerous”

-Jeff H.

User avatar
Kim O'Hara
Former staff member
Posts: 3696
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:09 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: "Believe nothing unless..." quote

Post by Kim O'Hara » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:34 am

PuerAzaelis wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:15 am
Translator's note by Thanissaro Bhikkhu to AN 3.65 which should be of interest to everyone:

Although this discourse is often cited as the Buddha's carte blanche for following one's own sense of right and wrong, it actually says something much more rigorous than that. Traditions are not to be followed simply because they are traditions. Reports (such as historical accounts or news) are not to be followed simply because the source seems reliable. One's own preferences are not to be followed simply because they seem logical or resonate with one's feelings. Instead, any view or belief must be tested by the results it yields when put into practice; and — to guard against the possibility of any bias or limitations in one's understanding of those results — they must further be checked against the experience of people who are wise. The ability to question and test one's beliefs in an appropriate way is called appropriate attention. The ability to recognize and choose wise people as mentors is called having admirable friends.
viewtopic.php?f=39&t=27171#p419647

Snap!

:smile:
Kim

Simon E.
Posts: 5526
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 11:09 am

Re: "Believe nothing unless..." quote

Post by Simon E. » Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:11 am

Simon E. wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:31 am
weitsicht wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:21 pm
There is this famous Buddha quote that I heard already reference made to on several occasions
Believe nothing, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense

Now, when I apply this to the common internet search algorithm, results very from "the Buddha never said that" to "it's a bad translation that contradicts the message of the sutta in the sense that reason and common sense are not sufficient for ascertaining the truth"

So is it me stupid or the interpreters and the search algorithm? :soapbox:

Thanks! W
So, weitsicht How are you doing? Is the debate useful to you?

Bump.
If you use the word 'mind' without defining your terms I will ask you politely for a definition. :smile:
This is not to be awkward. But it's really not self-explanatory.

Post Reply

Return to “Mahāyāna Buddhism”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: yan kong and 44 guests