AN 3.66 -
Kesamutti [aka Kālāmā] Sutta
— To the Kālāmas of Kesamutti —

In this famous sutta, the Buddha reminds us to ultimately trust only our own direct experience of the reality, not what is declared by others, even if they happen to be our 'revered teacher'.



Note: info·bubbles on every Pali word


Pāḷi


English




Evaṃ me sutaṃ:

Thus have I heard:

Ekaṃ samayaṃ bhagavā kosalesu cārikaṃ caramāno mahatā bhikkhu·saṅghena saddhiṃ yena kesamuttaṃ nāma kālāmānaṃ nigamo tad·avasari. Assosuṃ kho kesamuttiyā kālāmā:samaṇo khalu, bho, gotamo sakya·putto sakya·kulā pabbajito kosalesu cārikaṃ caramāno mahatā bhikkhu·saṅghena saddhiṃ kesamuttaṃ anuppatto. Taṃ kho pana bhavantaṃ gotamaṃ evaṃ kalyāṇo kittisaddo abbhuggato:itipi so Bhagavā arahaṃ sammā·sambuddho, vijjā·caraṇa·sampanno, sugato, loka·vidū, anuttaro purisa·damma·sārathi, satthā deva·manussānaṃ, Buddho Bhagavā·ti. So imaṃ lokaṃ sa·deva·kaṃ sa·māra·kaṃ sa·brahma·kaṃ sa·s·samaṇbrāhmaṇiṃ pajaṃ sa·deva·manussaṃ sayaṃ abhiññā sacchikatvā pavedeti. So dhammaṃ deseti ādi·kalyāṇaṃ majjhe·kalyāṇaṃ pariyosāna·kalyāṇaṃ sātthaṃ sa·byañjanaṃ; kevala·paripuṇṇaṃ parisuddhaṃ brahmacariyaṃ pakāseti’. Sādhu kho pana tathārūpānaṃ arahataṃ dassanaṃ hotīti.

On one occasion, the Bhagavā, traveling on tour among the Kosalans with a large saṅgha of bhikkhus, arrived at a town of the Kālāmas named Kesamutti. So the Kālāmas of Kesamutti heard: 'The samaṇa Gotama, bho, the son of the Sakyas who has gone forth from the Sakyan family, traveling on tour among the Kosalans with a large saṅgha of bhikkhus, has reached Kesamutti. And it is that venerable Gotama, about whom such a good reputation has spread: "surely, he is a Bhagavā, an arahant, rightly and fully awakened, accomplished in vijjā and [good] conduct, faring well, knowing the world, the unsurpassed leader of persons to be tamed, teacher of devas and humans, a Buddha, a Bhagavā. He makes known this world with its devas, with its Māras, with its Brahmas, with the samaṇas and brahmins, [this] generation with rulers and peoples, having experienced himself abhiññā. He teaches the Dhamma which is advantageous in the beginning, advantageous in the middle, advantageous in the end, with the [right] meaning and with the [right] phrasing; he reveals the brahmacariya which is completely perfect and pure." And seeing such an arahant would be profitable.'

Atha kho kesamuttiyā kālāmā yena bhagavā ten·upasaṅkamiṃsu; upasaṅkamitvā app·ekacce bhagavantaṃ abhivādetvā ekam·antaṃ nisīdiṃsu; app·ekacce bhagavatā saddhiṃ sammodiṃsu, sammodanīyaṃ kathaṃ sāraṇīyaṃ vītisāretvā ekam·antaṃ nisīdiṃsu; app·ekacce yena bhagavā ten·añjaliṃ paṇāmetvā ekam·antaṃ nisīdiṃsu; app·ekacce nāma·gottaṃ sāvetvā ekam·antaṃ nisīdiṃsu; app·ekacce tuṇhībhūtā ekam·antaṃ nisīdiṃsu. Ekam·antaṃ nisinnā kho te kesamuttiyā kālāmā bhagavantaṃ etad·avocuṃ:

So the Kālāmas of Kesamutti approached the Bhagavā; having approached, some of them paid respect to the Bhagavā and sat down to one side; some of them exchanged friendly greetings with the Bhagavā and, having exchanged friendly greetings and a cordial talk, sat down to one side; some of them raised their joined hands in salutation to the Bhagavā and sat down to one side; some of them announced their name and clan and sat down to one side. Sitting to one side, the Kālāmas of Kesamutti said to the Bhagavā:

Santi, bhante, eke samaṇa·brāhmaṇā kesamuttaṃ āgacchanti. Te sakaṃ·yeva vādaṃ dīpenti jotenti, para·ppavādaṃ pana khuṃsenti vambhenti paribhavanti opapakkhiṃ karonti. Apare·pi, bhante, eke samaṇa·brāhmaṇā kesamuttaṃ āgacchanti. Te·pi sakaṃ·yeva vādaṃ dīpenti jotenti, para·ppavādaṃ pana khuṃsenti vambhenti paribhavanti opapakkhiṃ karonti. Tesaṃ no, bhante, amhākaṃ hot·eva kaṅkhā hoti vicikicchā:ko su nāma imesaṃ bhavataṃ samaṇa·brāhmaṇānaṃ saccaṃ āha, ko musāti?

– There are, bhante, samaṇas and brahmans who come to Kesamutti. They expound and extol their own doctrine, but they disparage, despise, treat with contempt and debunk the doctrines of others. Then, bhante, some other samaṇas and brahmans come to Kesamutti. They too expound and extol their own doctrine, and they disparage, despise, treat with contempt and debunk the doctrines of others. On account of that, bhante, there is for us perplexity and vicikicchā: 'Which then, of these venerable samaṇas and brahmans say the truth, and which speak falsely?'

Alañ·hi vo, kālāmā, kaṅkhituṃ alaṃ vicikicchituṃ. Kaṅkhanīy·eva pana vo ṭhāne vicikicchā uppannā. Etha tumhe kālāmā anussavena,{1} param·parāya,{2} iti·kirāya,{3} piṭaka·sampadānena,{4} takka·hetu,{5} naya·hetu,{6} ākāra·parivitakkena,{7} diṭṭhi·nijjhāna·kkhantiyā,{8} bhabba·rūpatāya,{9} samaṇo no garūti. Yadā tumhe, kālāmā, attanā·va jāneyyātha:ime dhammā akusalā, ime dhammā sāvajjā, ime dhammā viññu·garahitā, ime dhammā samattā samādinnā ahitāya dukkhāya saṃvattantīti, atha tumhe, kālāmā, pajaheyyātha.

– Of course, Kālāmas, you are perplexed, of course you are doubting. Vicikicchā has arisen in you on account of a perplexing matter. Do not go, you Kālāmas, by what you have heard said, nor by what has been transmitted [by a tradition], nor by the general consensus, nor by what has been handed down in a collection of texts, nor on the basis of logical reasoning, nor on the basis of inference, nor by reflection on appearances, nor by agreement after pondering views, nor by what seems probable, nor by [the thought:] 'The samaṇa is our revered teacher'. Whenever, Kālāmas, you know for yourselves: 'These dhammas are akusala, these dhammas are sāvajja, these dhammas are censured by the wise, these dhammas, when undertaken and carried out, lead to harm and dukkha', then, Kālāmas, you should abandon them.

Taṃ kiṃ maññatha, kālāmā, lobho purisassa ajjhattaṃ uppajjamāno uppajjati hitāya ahitāya ti?

– What do you think, Kālāmas, when lobha arises within an individual, does it arise for his welfare or his harm?

Ahitāya, bhante.

– For his harm, bhante.

Luddho pan·āyaṃ, kālāmā, purisa·puggalo lobhena abhibhūto pariyādinna·citto pāṇam·pi hanati, adinnam·pi ādiyati, para·dāram·pi gacchati, musā·pi bhaṇati, param·pi tathattāya samādapeti, yaṃ sa hoti dīgha·rattaṃ ahitāya dukkhāyā ti.

– And this greedy person, Kālāmas, his citta being overcome, overpowered by lobha, destroys life, takes what is not given, goes to the wife of another, speaks falsely, and prompts others to do the same, which is for his long term harm and dukkha.

Evaṃ, bhante.

– Indeed, bhante.

Taṃ kiṃ maññatha, kālāmā, doso purisassa ajjhattaṃ uppajjamāno uppajjati hitāya ahitāya ti?

– What do you think, Kālāmas, when dosa arises within an individual, does it arise for his welfare or his harm?

Ahitāya, bhante.

– For his harm, bhante.

Duṭṭho pan·āyaṃ, kālāmā, purisa·puggalo dosena abhibhūto pariyādinna·citto pāṇam·pi hanati, adinnam·pi ādiyati, para·dāram·pi gacchati, musā·pi bhaṇati, param·pi tathattāya samādapeti, yaṃ sa hoti dīgha·rattaṃ ahitāya dukkhāyā ti.

– And this aversive person, Kālāmas, his citta being overcome, overpowered by dosa, destroys life, takes what is not given, goes to the wife of another, speaks falsely, and prompts others to do the same, which is for his long term harm and dukkha.

Evaṃ, bhante.

– Indeed, bhante.

Taṃ kiṃ maññatha, kālāmā, moho purisassa ajjhattaṃ uppajjamāno uppajjati hitāya ahitāya ti?

– What do you think, Kālāmas, when moha arises within an individual, does it arise for his welfare or his harm?

Ahitāya, bhante.

– For his harm, bhante.

Mūḷho pan·āyaṃ, kālāmā, purisa·puggalo mohena abhibhūto pariyādinna·citto pāṇam·pi hanati, adinnam·pi ādiyati, para·dāram·pi gacchati, musā·pi bhaṇati, param·pi tathattāya samādapeti, yaṃ sa hoti dīgha·rattaṃ ahitāya dukkhāyā ti.

– And this deluded person, Kālāmas, his citta being overcome, overpowered by dosa, destroys life, takes what is not given, goes to the wife of another, speaks falsely, and prompts others to do the same, which is for his long term harm and dukkha.

Evaṃ, bhante.

– Indeed, bhante.

Taṃ kiṃ maññatha, kālāmā, ime dhammā kusalā akusalā ti?

– So what do you think, Kālāmas, are these dhammas kusala or akusala?

Akusalā, bhante.

Akusala, bhante.

Sāvajjā anavajjā ti?

Sāvajja or anavajja?

Sāvajjā, bhante.

Sāvajja, bhante.

Viññu·garahitā viññu·ppasatthā ti?

– Censured by the wise or commended by the wise?

Viññu·garahitā, bhante.

– Censured by the wise, bhante.

Samattā samādinnā ahitāya dukkhāya saṃvattanti, no ? Kathaṃ ettha hotī ti?

– If undertaken and carried out, they lead to harm and dukkha, or not? How is it in this case?

Samattā, bhante, samādinnā ahitāya dukkhāya saṃvattanti. Evaṃ no ettha hotī ti.

– If undertaken and carried out, they lead to harm and dukkha. Thus it is in this case.

Iti kho, kālāmā, yaṃ taṃ avocumha:etha tumhe, kālāmā anussavena, param·parāya, iti·kirāya, piṭaka·sampadānena, takka·hetu, naya·hetu, ākāra·parivitakkena, diṭṭhi·nijjhāna·kkhantiyā, bhabba·rūpatāya, samaṇo no garūti. Yadā tumhe kālāmā attanā·va jāneyyātha:ime dhammā akusalā, ime dhammā sāvajjā, ime dhammā viññu·garahitā, ime dhammā samattā samādinnā ahitāya dukkhāya saṃvattantīti, atha tumhe, kālāmā, pajaheyyāthāti. Iti yaṃ taṃ vuttaṃ, idam·etaṃ paṭicca vuttaṃ.

– This, Kālāmas, is what I said: "Do not go, you Kālāmas, by what you have heard said, nor by what has been transmitted [by a tradition], nor by the general consensus, nor by what has been handed down in a collection of texts, nor on the basis of logical reasoning, nor on the basis of inference, nor by reflection on appearances, nor by agreement after pondering views, nor by what seems probable, nor by [the thought:] 'The samaṇa is our revered teacher'. Whenever, Kālāmas, you know for yourselves: 'These dhammas are akusala, these dhammas are sāvajja, these dhammas are censured by the wise, these dhammas, when undertaken and carried out, lead to harm and dukkha', then, Kālāmas, you should abandon them." Thus has it been said, it has been said considering this.

Etha tumhe, kālāmā, anussavena, param·parāya, iti·kirāya, piṭaka·sampadānena, takka·hetu, naya·hetu, ākāra·parivitakkena, diṭṭhi·nijjhāna·kkhantiyā, bhabba·rūpatāya, samaṇo no garūti. Yadā tumhe, kālāmā, attanā·va jāneyyātha:ime dhammā kusalā, ime dhammā anavajjā, ime dhammā viññu·ppasatthā, ime dhammā samattā samādinnā hitāya sukhāya saṃvattantīti, atha tumhe, kālāmā, upasampajja vihareyyātha.

Do not go, you Kālāmas, by what you have heard said, nor by what has been transmitted [by a tradition], nor by the general consensus, nor by what has been handed down in a collection of texts, nor on the basis of logical reasoning, nor on the basis of inference, nor by reflection on appearances, nor by agreement after pondering views, nor by what seems probable, nor by [the thought:] 'The samaṇa is our revered teacher'. Whenever, Kālāmas, you know for yourselves: 'These dhammas are kusala, these dhammas are anavajja, these dhammas are commended by the wise, these dhammas, when undertaken and carried out, lead to welfare and sukha', then, Kālāmas, having reached them, you should dwell in them.

– Taṃ kiṃ maññatha, kālāmā, a·lobho purisassa ajjhattaṃ uppajjamāno uppajjati hitāya ahitāya ti?

– What do you think, Kālāmas, when a·lobha arises within an individual, does it arise for his welfare or his harm?

Hitāya, bhante.

– For his welfare, bhante.

A·luddho pan·āyaṃ, kālāmā, purisa·puggalo lobhena an·abhibhūto a·pariyādinna·citto neva pāṇaṃ hanati, na adinnaṃ ādiyati, na para·dāraṃ gacchati, na musā bhaṇati, na param·pi tathattāya samādapeti, yaṃ sa hoti dīgha·rattaṃ hitāya sukhāyā ti.

– And this ungreedy person, Kālāmas, his citta not being overcome, not overpowered by lobha, does not destroy life, does not take what is not given, does not go to the wife of another, does not speak falsely, and does not prompt others to do the same, which is for his long term welfare and sukha.

Evaṃ, bhante.

– Indeed, bhante.

Taṃ kiṃ maññatha, kālāmā, adoso purisassa ajjhattaṃ uppajjamāno uppajjati hitāya ahitāya ti?

– What do you think, Kālāmas, when a·dosa arises within an individual, does it arise for his welfare or his harm?

Hitāya, bhante.

– For his welfare, bhante.

A·duṭṭho pan·āyaṃ, kālāmā, purisa·puggalo dosena an·abhibhūto a·pariyādinna·citto neva pāṇaṃ hanati, na adinnaṃ ādiyati, na para·dāraṃ gacchati, na musā bhaṇati, na param·pi tathattāya samādapeti, yaṃ sa hoti dīgha·rattaṃ hitāya sukhāyā ti.

– And this unaversive person, Kālāmas, his citta not being overcome, not overpowered by lobha, does not destroy life, does not take what is not given, does not go to the wife of another, does not speak falsely, and does not prompt others to do the same, which is for his long term welfare and sukha.

Evaṃ, bhante.

– Indeed, bhante.

Taṃ kiṃ maññatha, kālāmā, amoho purisassa ajjhattaṃ uppajjamāno uppajjati hitāya ahitāya ti?

– What do you think, Kālāmas, when a·moha arises within an individual, does it arise for his welfare or his harm?

Hitāya, bhante.

– For his welfare, bhante.

A·mūḷho pan·āyaṃ, kālāmā, purisa·puggalo mohena an·abhibhūto a·pariyādinna·citto neva pāṇaṃ hanati, na adinnaṃ ādiyati, na para·dāraṃ gacchati, na musā bhaṇati, na param·pi tathattāya samādapeti, yaṃ sa hoti dīgha·rattaṃ hitāya sukhāyā ti.

– And this undeluded person, Kālāmas, his citta not being overcome, not overpowered by lobha, does not destroy life, does not take what is not given, does not go to the wife of another, does not speak falsely, and does not prompt others to do the same, which is for his long term welfare and sukha.

Evaṃ, bhante.

– Indeed, bhante.

Taṃ kiṃ maññatha, kālāmā, ime dhammā kusalā akusalā ti?

– So what do you think, Kālāmas, are these dhammas kusala or akusala?

Kusalā, bhante.

Kusala, bhante.

Sāvajjā anavajjā ti?

Sāvajja or anavajja?

Anavajjā, bhante.

Anavajja, bhante.

Viññu·garahitā viññu·ppasatthā ti?

– Censured by the wise or commended by the wise?

Viññu·ppasatthā, bhante.

– Commended by the wise, bhante.

Samattā samādinnā hitāya sukhāya saṃvattanti, no ? Kathaṃ ettha hotī ti?

– If undertaken and carried out, they lead to harm and sukha, or not? How is it in this case?

Samattā, bhante, samādinnā hitāya sukhāya saṃvattanti. Evaṃ no ettha hotī ti.

– If undertaken and carried out, they lead to welfare and sukha. Thus it is in this case.

Iti kho, kālāmā, yaṃ taṃ avocumhā:etha tumhe, kālāmā anussavena, param·parāya, iti·kirāya, piṭaka·sampadānena, takka·hetu, naya·hetu, ākāra·parivitakkena, diṭṭhi·nijjhāna·kkhantiyā, bhabba·rūpatāya, samaṇo no garūti. Yadā tumhe, kālāmā, attanā·va jāneyyāthaime dhammā kusalā, ime dhammā anavajjā, ime dhammā viññu·ppasatthā, ime dhammā samattā samādinnā hitāya sukhāya saṃvattantīti, atha tumhe, kālāmā, upasampajja vihareyyāthā’ti. Iti yaṃ taṃ vuttaṃ idam·etaṃ paṭicca vuttaṃ.

– This, Kālāmas, is what I said: "Do not go, you Kālāmas, by what you have heard said, nor by what has been transmitted [by a tradition], nor by the general consensus, nor by what has been handed down in a collection of texts, nor on the basis of logical reasoning, nor on the basis of inference, nor by reflection on appearances, nor by agreement after pondering views, nor by what seems probable, nor by [the thought:] 'The samaṇa is our revered teacher'. Whenever, Kālāmas, you know for yourselves: 'These dhammas are kusala, these dhammas are anavajja, these dhammas are commended by the wise, these dhammas, when undertaken and carried out, lead to welfare and sukha', then, Kālāmas, having reached them, you should dwell in them." Thus has it been said, it has been said considering this.

Sa kho so kālāmā ariya·sāvako evaṃ vigat·ābhijjho vigatā·byāpādo a·sammūḷho sampajāno patissato mettā·sahagatena cetasā ekaṃ disaṃ pharitvā viharati, tathā dutiyaṃ tathā tatiyaṃ tathā catutthaṃ; iti uddham·adho tiriyaṃ sabbadhi sabbattatāya sabbāvantaṃ lokaṃ mettā·sahagatena cetasā vipulena mahaggatena appamāṇena averena abyāpajjhena pharitvā viharati.

Such an ariya·sāvaka, Kālāmas, thus devoid of abhijjhā, devoid of byāpāda, undeluded, sampajāna, (consistently) sata, dwells pervading one direction with a citta imbued with mettā, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth; so above, below, transversely, everywhere and in every respect, he dwells pervading the entire world with a citta imbued with mettā, abundant, extensive, boundless, devoid of hostility, devoid of ill-will.

Karuṇā·sahagatena cetasā ekaṃ disaṃ pharitvā viharati, tathā dutiyaṃ tathā tatiyaṃ tathā catutthaṃ; iti uddham·adho tiriyaṃ sabbadhi sabbattatāya sabbāvantaṃ lokaṃ karuṇā·sahagatena cetasā vipulena mahaggatena appamāṇena averena abyāpajjhena pharitvā viharati.

He dwells pervading one direction with a citta imbued with karuṇā, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth; so above, below, transversely, everywhere and in every respect, he dwells pervading the entire world with a citta imbued with karuṇā, abundant, extensive, boundless, devoid of hostility, devoid of ill-will.

Muditā·sahagatena cetasā ekaṃ disaṃ pharitvā viharati, tathā dutiyaṃ tathā tatiyaṃ tathā catutthaṃ; iti uddham·adho tiriyaṃ sabbadhi sabbattatāya sabbāvantaṃ lokaṃ muditā·sahagatena cetasā vipulena mahaggatena appamāṇena averena abyāpajjhena pharitvā viharati.

He dwells pervading one direction with a citta imbued with muditā, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth; so above, below, transversely, everywhere and in every respect, he dwells pervading the entire world with a citta imbued with muditā, abundant, extensive, boundless, devoid of hostility, devoid of ill-will.

Upekkhā·sahagatena cetasā ekaṃ disaṃ pharitvā viharati, tathā dutiyaṃ tathā tatiyaṃ tathā catutthaṃ; iti uddham·adho tiriyaṃ sabbadhi sabbattatāya sabbāvantaṃ lokaṃ upekkhā·sahagatena cetasā vipulena mahaggatena appamāṇena averena abyāpajjhena pharitvā viharati.

He dwells pervading one direction with a citta imbued with upekkhā, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth; so above, below, transversely, everywhere and in every respect, he dwells pervading the entire world with a citta imbued with upekkhā, abundant, extensive, boundless, devoid of hostility, devoid of ill-will.

Sa kho so, kālāmā, ariya·sāvako evaṃ avera·citto evaṃ a·byāpajjha·citto evaṃ a·saṃkiliṭṭha·citto evaṃ visuddha·citto, tassa diṭṭheva dhamme cattāro assāsā adhigatā honti:

Such an ariya·sāvaka, Kālāmas, having a mind thus unhostile, having a mind thus unmalevolent, having a mind thus unsoiled, having a mind thus pure, has gained four confidences in the visible order of phenomena:

Sace kho pana atthi paro loko, atthi sukaṭa·dukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko, ath·āhaṃ kāyassa bhedā paraṃ maraṇā sugatiṃ saggaṃ lokaṃ upapajjissāmīti: ayam·assa paṭhamo assāso adhigato hoti.

'If there is another world, there is a fruit and result of kamma rightly and wrongly performed, then at the breakup of the body, after death, I will re-arise in a good destination, a state of happiness': this is the first confidence he has gained.

Sace kho pana n·atthi paro loko, n·atthi sukaṭa·dukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko, idh·āhaṃ diṭṭheva dhamme averaṃ a·byāpajjhaṃ anīghaṃ sukhiṃ attānaṃ pariharāmīti: ayam·assa dutiyo assāso adhigato hoti.

'And if there is no another world, there is no fruit nor result of kamma rightly and wrongly performed, then in the visible order of phenomena I look after myself without hostility, without ill-will, without trouble, happy': this is the second confidence he has gained.

Sace kho pana karoto karīyati pāpaṃ, na kho pan·āhaṃ kassaci pāpaṃ cetemi. A·karontaṃ kho pana maṃ pāpa·kammaṃ kuto dukkhaṃ phusissatīti: ayam·assa tatiyo assāso adhigato hoti.

'And if pāpa befalls its doer, I do not intend any pāpa. Not having done pāpa kamma, how would dukkha touch me?': this is the third confidence he has gained.

Sace kho pana karoto na karīyati pāpaṃ, ath·āhaṃ ubhayen·eva visuddhaṃ attānaṃ samanupassāmīti: ayam·assa catuttho assāso adhigato hoti.

'And if pāpa does not befall its doer, then I see myself pure in both respects': this is the fourth confidence he has gained.

Sa kho so, kālāmā, ariya·sāvako evaṃ avera·citto evaṃ a·byāpajjha·citto evaṃ a·saṃkiliṭṭha·citto evaṃ visuddha·citto, tassa diṭṭheva dhamme ime cattāro assāsā adhigatā hontī·ti.

Such an ariya·sāvaka, Kālāmas, having a mind thus unhostile, having a mind thus unmalevolent, having a mind thus unsoiled, having a mind thus pure, has gained these four confidences in the visible order of phenomena.

Evam·etaṃ, bhagavā, evam·etaṃ, sugata! Sa kho so, bhante, ariya·sāvako evaṃ avera·citto evaṃ a·byāpajjha·citto evaṃ a·saṃkiliṭṭha·citto evaṃ visuddha·citto, tassa diṭṭheva dhamme cattāro assāsā adhigatā honti.

– So it is, Bhagavā, so it is, sugata! Such an ariya·sāvaka, Bhante, having a mind thus unhostile, having a mind thus unmalevolent, having a mind thus unsoiled, having a mind thus pure, has gained four confidences in the visible order of phenomena:

Sace kho pana atthi paro loko, atthi sukaṭa·dukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko, ath·āhaṃ kāyassa bhedā paraṃ maraṇā sugatiṃ saggaṃ lokaṃ upapajjissāmīti: ayam·assa paṭhamo assāso adhigato hoti.

'If there is another world, there is a fruit and result of kamma rightly and wrongly performed, then at the breakup of the body, after death, I will re-arise in a good destination, a state of happiness': this is the first confidence he has gained.

Sace kho pana n·atthi paro loko, n·atthi sukaṭa·dukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko, ath·āhaṃ diṭṭheva dhamme averaṃ a·byāpajjhaṃ anīghaṃ sukhiṃ attānaṃ pariharāmīti: ayam·assa dutiyo assāso adhigato hoti.

'And if there is no another world, there is no fruit nor result of kamma rightly and wrongly performed, then in the visible order of phenomena I look after myself without hostility, without ill-will, without trouble, happy': this is the second confidence he has gained.

Sace kho pana karoto karīyati pāpaṃ, na kho pan·āhaṃkassaci pāpaṃ cetemi. A·karontaṃ kho pana maṃ pāpa·kammaṃ kuto dukkhaṃ phusissatīti: ayam·assa tatiyo assāso adhigato hoti.

'And if pāpa befalls its doer, I do not intend any pāpa. Not having done pāpa kamma, how would dukkha touch me?': this is the third confidence he has gained.

Sace kho pana karoto na karīyati pāpaṃ, ath·āhaṃ ubhayen·eva visuddhaṃ attānaṃ samanupassāmīti: ayam·assa catuttho assāso adhigato hoti.

'And if pāpa does not befall its doer, then I consider myself pure in both respects': this is the fourth confidence he has gained.

Sa kho so, bhante, ariya·sāvako evaṃ avera·citto evaṃ a·byāpajjha·citto evaṃ a·saṃkiliṭṭha·citto evaṃ visuddha·citto, tassa diṭṭheva dhamme ime cattāro assāsā adhigatā honti.

Such an ariya·sāvaka, Bhante, having a mind thus unhostile, having a mind thus unmalevolent, having a mind thus unsoiled, having a mind thus pure, has gained these four confidences in the visible order of phenomena.

Abhikkantaṃ, bhante, abhikkantaṃ, bhante! Seyyathāpi bhante nikkujjitaṃ ukkujjeyya, paṭicchannaṃ vivareyya, mūḷhassa maggaṃ ācikkheyya, andhakāre tela·pajjotaṃ dhāreyya:cakkhumanto rūpāni dakkhantīti; evam·evaṃ bhagavatā aneka·pariyāyena dhammo pakāsito. Ete mayaṃ, bhante, bhagavantaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāma dhammañca bhikkhu·saṅghañca. Upāsake no, bhante, bhagavā dhāretu ajjatagge pāṇupete saraṇaṃ gate ti.

Excellent, Bhante, excellent, Bhante! Just as, Bhante, if one were to set upright what was overturned, or to uncover what was hidden, or to show the way to one who was erring, or to hold an oil lamp in the darkness, [thinking:] 'Those who have eyes will see visible forms'; in the same way, the Dhamma has been revealed by the Bhagavā in various ways. So we, Bhante, go for refuge to the Bhagavā, to the Dhamma and to the saṅgha of bhikkhus. Let the Bhagavā, Bhante, admit us as upāsakas having gone for refuge from today on, for life.



Bodhi leaf



Notes


1. anussava: [anu+sava] (lit: what is heard/learned along, what is in conformity with what has been heard/learned) - 'oral tradition' (B. Bodhi) - 'reports' (Than. B.) - 'what has been acquired by repeated hearing' (Soma Thera). B. Bodhi writes about it: "generally understood to refer to the Vedic tradition, which, according to the Brahmins, had originated with the Primal Deity and had been handed down orally through successive generations."

The term is clearly used with the meaning of 'report' at MN 68:

Idhānuruddhā, bhikkhu suṇāti: ‘Itthannāmo bhikkhu kālakato; so bhagavatā byākato aññāya saṇṭhahī’ti. So kho panassa āyasmā sāmaṃ diṭṭho hoti anussava·ssuto vā: ‘evaṃ·sīlo so āyasmā ahosi

Here, Anuruddha, a bhikkhu hears: 'The bhikkhu named so-and-so has died; it has been declared by the Bhagavā that he was established in (final) knowledge.' And he has seen that venerable one himself or he has heard the report: ‘That venerable one’s virtue was thus


At MN 76 are given as synonyms itihitiha·parampara and piṭaka·sampada ('what has been transmitted dogmatically', 'what has been handed down in a collection of texts'), both of which refer to traditions (see following notes).

So it seems that the word anussava is rather used in this case in the sense of 'lore/tradition':

..idh·ekacco satthā anussaviko hoti anussava·sacco. So anussavena itihitiha-paramparāya piṭaka-sampadāya dhammaṃ deseti.

..a certain teacher is one who goes by a lore/tradition, who takes a lore/tradition for the truth. He teaches a dhamma in conformity with what he has heard, through what has been transmitted dogmatically, through what has been handed down in a collection of texts.


In the context of the Kālāma Sutta, given the fact that the listeners have been hearing mutually contradicting doctrines, it would be quite logical that the first expression would refer directly to it, so 'what you have heard said' seems to be a satisfying rendering.




2. paramparā: [para+para] (lit: 'further-further', or 'another-another' ie. one after the other, successive) - 'lineage of teaching' (B. Bodhi) - legends (Than. B.) - tradition (Soma Th.). B. Bodhi writes about it: "'lineage', signifies tradition in general, an unbroken succession of teachings or teachers." However, it may not be that simple.

It is obviously an idiomatic expression, which is not precisely self-explanatory, which seems to be quite loose in meaning and to accept a relatively large panel of contexts. As an example, we find bāhā·paramparāya in the Pārājika of the Vinaya Pitaka, and it means 'arm in arm' (Pr 282):

sambahulā itthiyo aññataraṃ bhikkhuṃ sampīḷetvā bāhāparamparāya ānesuṃ.
many women, having tightly surrounded a certain bhikkhu, drove him along arm in arm.


Parampara·bhojana·sikkhāpada is one of the Pātimokkha rules and refers to an 'out-of-turn/extra meal', which Than B. sums up as follows: "The term out-of-turn meal covers two sorts of situations: A bhikkhu has been invited to a meal consisting of any of the five staple foods but then either (1) goes elsewhere and eats another meal consisting of any of the five staple foods at the same time as the meal to which he was originally invited; or (2) eats a staple food prior to going to the meal."

In the Parivāra of the Vinaya, the word ācariya·paramparā means obviously 'lineage of teachers', but this may belong to relatively late literature.

At MN 83 'paramparā caturāsītirājasahassāni' means '84000 successive kings' (even though this sutta seems to be of relatively late origin too).

And at MN 95 and 99, regarding the vedic hymns, it is said:

yepi te brāhmaṇānaṃ pubbakā isayo mantānaṃ kattāro mantānaṃ pavattāro yesamidaṃ etarahi brāhmaṇā porāṇaṃ mantapadaṃ gītaṃ pavuttaṃ samihitaṃ tadanugāyanti tadanubhāsanti bhāsitamanubhāsanti vācitamanuvācenti seyyathidaṃ..

among the brahman seers of the past, the creators of the hymns, the composers of the hymns, those ancient hymns, sung, repeated, & collected, which brahmans at present still sing, still chant, repeating what was said, repeating what was spoken, ie..


And then, as a commentary to this situation:

Seyyathāpi (..) andhaveṇi paramparā·saṃsattā purimopi na passati majjhimopi na passati pacchimopi na passati.

Just as if (..) there would be a file of blind men attached one to another: the first one does not see, the middle one does not see, and the last one does not see.


So the word is clearly used here with a reference to an oral tradition of blind repetition. This proves that there is indeed some ground for the above mentioned assertion of B. Bodhi, and the interpretation of paramparā as a teaching that comes through a 'lineage'.

We find as well (as at MN 76) the compound itihitiha·parampara, which is also usually associated with anussava and piṭaka·sampada ('what has been transmitted dofmatically', 'what has been handed down in a collection of texts'), and it seems that the simple parampara we have here is a shortening of this term.

The reduplication itih·itiha ('thus-thus') seems to refer to dogmatism ('thus indeed it is!'), which would be consistent with early exegesis: in the Cūḷaniddesa of the Khuddaka Nikāya (Nc 106), in an explanation of the expression 'sabbaṃ taṃ itihītiha' (everything that is itihītiha) all the terms of this passage are cited (itikirāya paramparāya etc.), and the following explanation is added: 'na sāmaṃ sayamabhiññātaṃ na attapaccakkhaṃ dhammaṃ yaṃ kathayiṃsū' (they expounded the teaching without having experienced it themselves, without having ascertained it personally).

So according to the early exegesis, and keeping in mind the examples found at MN 95 and 99, itih·itiha·param·para could mean 'what has been transmitted dogmatically'. And since the reduplication param·para seems to emphasize the idea of transmission, it would make sense in our case to render it as 'what has been transmitted [by a tradition]'.




3. iti·kira: [iti+kira] (lit: 'thus surely/one would expect') - 'hearsay' (B. Bodhi) - tradition (Than. B.) - rumor (Soma Th.). B. Bodhi writes about it: '“Hearsay” (or “report”; itikarā) may mean popular opinion or general consensus', but we may note the misspelling of the word that might be a source of confusion. This word does not appear in any other context, so we are left with a semantical analysis and guesses. 'General consensus' seems to make sense.




4. piṭakasampadāna: [piṭaka+sampadāna] - 'a collection of scriptures' (B. Bodhi) - scripture (Than. B.) - 'what is in a scripture' (Soma Th.). B. Bodhi writes about it: "'a collection of scriptures' (piṭaka-sampadā) signifies any collection of religious texts regarded as infallible." The term is quite self-explanatory. However, given the order of the words in this compound, the emphasis seems to be rather on the last one. And given the fact that at that time the knowledge was transmitted orally (so 'scripture' doesn't seem quite appropriate), the rendering 'what has been handed down in a collection of texts' seems more satisfying.




5. takka·hetu: logical reasoning (B. Bodhi) - logical conjecture (Than. B.) - surmise (Soma Th.). The compound itself does not appear in any other context, so we are again left with a semantic analysis. Takka means 'thought, reflection, reasoning, logic or butter-milk'. At DN 1 and MN 76, the words takkī, and thereby takka, are explained as follows:


..idh·ekacco satthā takkī hoti vīmaṃsī. So takka·pariyāhataṃ vīmaṃs·ānucaritaṃ sayaṃ·paṭibhānaṃ dhammaṃ deseti.

..a certain [individual] is a reasoner, an investigator. He teaches a dhamma hammered out by reasoning/logical thinking, following lines of investigation as they occur to him.


So takka seems to be satisfyingly rendered by 'reasoning/logical thinking'. Hetu, in compounds, may mean 'on account of--, for the sake of--, by reason of--, in consequence of--' etc. So finally takka·hetu could be rendered by 'on the basis of logical reasoning'.




6. naya·hetu: inferential reasoning (B. Bodhi) - inference (Than. B.) - axiom (Soma Th.). Once again, the compound itself does not appear in any other context. Naya comes from nayati (=neti), which means 'to lead, guide, conduct, to take, carry (away)', or 'to draw (a conclusion), to understand, to take as'. The expression 'nayaṃ neti' means 'to draw a conclusion'. Naya·hetu seems to be satisfyingly rendered by 'on the basis of inference'.




7. ākāra·parivitakka: reflection on reasons, reasoned reflection (B. Bodhi) - analogies (Than. B.) - specious reasoning (Soma Th.). Ākāra has quite a large panel of meanings: 'state, condition, property, quality, attribute, sign, appearance, form, way, mode, manner, reason, ground, account'. 'Appearance' seems to fit the context better than 'reasons'. In that case, ākāra·parivitakka would mean 'reflection on appearances', and would refer to theories such as the big bang theory, which is based on observations of the seeming evolution of the apparent universe.




8. diṭṭhi·nijjhāna·kkhanti: acceptance of a view after pondering it (B. Bodhi) - agreement through pondering views (Than. B.) - bias toward a notion that has been pondered over [doesn't seem quite appropriate] (Soma Th.). Nijjhāna·kkhanti is a substantivation of the expression 'nijjhānaṃ khamati'. The best way to understand it is to see in which contexts it appears elsewhere:

SN 25.1

Cakkhuṃ.. mano anicco vipariṇāmī aññathā·bhāvī. (...) Yassa kho, bhikkhave, ime dhammā evaṃ paññāya mattaso nijjhānaṃ khamanti, ayaṃ vuccati: ‘dhamm·ānusārī..’

The eye.. the mind is inconstant, changeable, alterable. (...) One who, after pondering with a modicum of discernment, has accepted that these phenomena are this way is called a Dhamma-follower..


SN 55.24

Tathāgata·ppaveditā cassa dhammā paññāya mattaso nijjhānaṃ khamanti.

The dhammas proclaimed by the Tathāgata are approved by him after examination with a modicum of discernment.


So it is clear that nijjhāna·kkhanti refers to an intellectual acceptation that involves some moderate application of paññā, but which is not enough yet to come to a definite conclusion. See the example of the elephant footprints given at MN 27. Therefore, 'agreement after pondering views' seems to be an appropriate rendering for diṭṭhi·nijjhāna·kkhanti.




9. bhabba·rūpatā: the seeming competence of a speaker (B. Bodhi) - probability (Than. B.) - another's seeming ability (Soma Th.). B. Bodhi and Soma Th. simply follow the Aṭṭhakathā (older commentary). The Aṭṭhakathā, mentions a speaker as being a bhikkhu, but that doesn't fit the context of the Kālāmas (who have been seeing ascetics of different origin), and there is no mention of any speaker in this expression. The term appears only once at Ud 70, in a very obscure verse ('mohasambandhano loko, bhabbarūpova dissati') out of which it is difficult to draw any clear conclusion, all the more that the Aṭṭhakathā seems to take it rather as 'bhavarūpova'.

Bhabba means 'able, capable, fit for, possible', and is mostly used in the latter sense. Rūpatā means 'appearance, accordance, conformity'. Two renderings seem to fit the context: 'what seems possible', 'what seems probable'. That might refer for example to choosing the most adequate rendering for a translation.




Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
Access to Insight, 1 July 2010.

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