In a doubtful matter wavering does arise. Now look you, Kalamas. Be ye not misled by report or tradition or hearsay. Be not misled by proficiency in the collections [citing the authority of religious texts], nor by mere logic or inference, nor after considering the reasons, nor after reflection on and approval of some theory, nor because it fits becoming, nor out of respect for a recluse who holds it.
But if at any time ye know of yourselves: these things are profitable, they are blameless, they are praised by the intelligent; these things, when performed and undertaken, conduce to profit and happiness — then, Kalamas, do ye, having undertaken them, abide therein. This sutta shows the importance of mistrusting hearsay and tradition long before odds ratios and cost effectiveness analyses came into existence.
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Kashyap BJ, ed. Mahavagga Nagar-Pali text. Nalanda, Kalama Sutta: the Buddha's charter of free inquiry. Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, ]. And when the Lord Buddha perceived that they had become pliant, softened, unprejudiced, upraised and believing, then he proclaimed that which is the special doctrine of the Buddhas; that is to say , Suffering, its Origin, its Cessation, and the Path.
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And having seen the Truth, having mastered the Truth, having understood the Truth, having penetrated the Truth, having overcome uncertainty, having dispelled all doubts, having gained full knowledge, dependent on nobody else for the knowledge of the doctrine of the Teacher, they said to the Lord Buddha: 'Glorious, Lord! Just as if one should set up, Lord, what had been overturned, or should reveal what had been hidden, or should point out the way to one who had lost his way, or should bring a lamp into the darkness, in order that those who had eyes might see visible things, thus has the Lord Buddha preached the doctrine in many ways.
We take our refuge, Lord, in the Lord Buddha, and in the Dhamma, and in the fraternity of Bhikkhus; may the Lord Buddha receive us from this day forth while our life lasts as his disciples who have taken their refuge in Him. And Sona Kolivisa thought: As I understand the Dhamma proclaimed by the Lord Buddha, it is not easy to a person living as a layman to lead a wholly perfect and pure and altogether consummate life of holiness.
What if I were to cut off my hair and beard, and to put on yellow robes, and give up the world, and go forth into the houseless state i.
And those eighty thousand overseers over the townships, having expressed their joy and delight at the words of the Lord Buddha, rose from their seats, respectfully saluted the Lord Buddha, and passing round him with their right sides towards him, went away. And Sona Kolivisa, soon after those eighty thousand overseers over the townships had departed, went to the place where the Lord Buddha was.
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And when he had come there he bowed down before the Lord Buddha and took his seat on one side. I desire, Lord, to cut off my hair and beard, and to put on yellow robes, and to give up the world, and to go forth into the houseless state. May the Lord Buddha, Lord, ordain me. Thus Sona Kolivisa received from the Lord Buddha the pabbajja and upasampada ordinations. And the venerable Sona, soon after his upasampada, dwelt in the Sitavana grove. As he, with eager determination, was walking up and down there, his feet were injured, and the place in which he walked became covered with blood, like a slaughter-house for oxen.
Then in the mind of the venerable Sona, who had gone apart and was plunged in meditation, there sprung up this thought:. And there is much wealth laid up for me at home. It is possible both to enjoy that wealth, and to do good deeds. Let me now, then, returning to the lower state , enjoy my wealth and do good deeds. Now the Lord Buddha perceived in his mind the thought of the venerable Sona; and as quickly as a strong man can stretch forth his arm, or can draw it back again when it has been stretched forth, he disappeared from the hill of the Vulture's Peak, and appeared in the Sitavana grove.
And the Lord Buddha, as he was passing through the sleeping-places of the Bhikkhus , came up, with a multitude of Bhikkhus, to the place where the venerable Sona had walked up and down. When the Lord Buddha saw that the place where the venerable Sona had walked up and down was covered with blood, he addressed the Bhikkhus, and said: 'Whose walking-place is this, O Bhikkhus Monks , which is covered with blood, like a slaughter-house for oxen? Then the Lord Buddha went on to the house in which the venerable Sona was living, and sat down there on a seat made ready for him.
And the venerable Sona bowed down before the Lord Buddha, and took his seat on one side. Now what think you, Sona,--when the strings of your lute were neither too much stretched nor too loose, but fixed in even proportion, had your lute sound then, was it then in a fit state to be played upon?
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Do you, therefore, O Sona, be steadfast in evenness of determination, press through to harmony of your mental powers. Let that be the object of your thought! And when the Lord Buddha had exhorted the venerable Sona with this exhortation, then, as quickly as a strong man can stretch forth his arm, or can draw it back again when it has been stretched forth, he vanished from the presence of the venerable Sona in the Sitavana grove, and reappeared on the hill of the Vulture's Peak.
From then the venerable Sona was stead-fast in evenness of determination, he pressed through to harmony of his mental powers, that did he take as the object of his thought. And the venerable Sona remaining alone and separate, earnest, zealous, and resolved, attained before long to that supreme goal of the higher life for the sake of which noble youths go out from all and every household gain and comfort to become houseless wanderers--yea, that supreme goal did he, by himself, and while yet in this visible world, bring himself to the knowledge of, and continue to realise, and to see face to face!
And he became conscious that rebirth was at an end, that the higher life had been fulfilled, that all that should be done had been accomplished, and that after this present life there would be no beyond! Now when the venerable Sona had attained to Arahatship there occurred to him the thought: 'Let me now make known my Insight in the presence of the Lord Buddha! Then the venerable Sona went to the place where the Lord Buddha was, and bowed down before the Lord Buddha, and took his seat on one side.
And when he was thus seated, the venerable Sona said to the Lord Buddha:. For the Bhikkhu in whom the Asavas are rooted out, who has lived the life, who has accomplished the task, he looks not upon himself as one who has anything yet to do, or to gather up, of the fruit of his past labour; but he attains to renunciation by the destruction of lust, by the very condition of the absence of lust; he attains to renunciation by the destruction of ill-will, by the very condition of the absence of ill-will; he attains to renunciation by the destruction of delusions, by the very condition of the absence of delusions.
Things wished for, things unwished--make tremble such a one.
Firm is his mind, set free. He sees into the end of that. And the Lord Buddha addressed the Bhikkhus, and said: 'Thus, brethren, do young men of worth make their insight known. The truth is spoken, and the self is not obtruded. But here some foolish ones, methinks, make known their insight to be a thing ridiculous, and they, thereafter, fall into defeat! I allow, Sona, the use of shoes with one lining. I have gone out from the world, Lord, into the houseless state i. It will be said against me for this matter: "Sona Kolivisa went out from the world into the houseless state, abandoning eighty cart-loads of gold, and a retinue of seven elephants; but the very same man now accustoms himself to the use of shoes with a lining to them.