the understanding of things, neither belief nor fear plays any
role in Buddhist thought. The truth of the Dhamma can be grasped
only through insight, never through blind faith, or through
fear of some known or unknown being.
only did the Buddha discourage blind belief and fear of an omnipotent
God as unsuitable approaches for understanding the truth, but
he also denounced adherence to unprofitable rites and rituals,
because the mere abandoning of outward things, such as fasting,
bathing in rivers, animal sacrifice, and similar acts, does
not tend to purify a man or make a man holy and noble.
find this dialogue between the Buddha and the brahmin Sundarika
Bhâradvâja: Once the Buddha, addressing the monks,
explained in detail how a seeker of deliverance should train
himself, and further added that a person whose mind is free
from taints, whose life of purity is perfected, and the task
done, could be called one who bathes inwardly.
Bhâradvâja, seated near the Buddha, heard these
words and asked him:
the Venerable Gotama go to bathe in the river Bâhuka?"
"Brahmin, what good is the river Bâhuka? What can
the river Bâhuka do?"
"Indeed, Venerable Gotama, the river Bâhuka is
believed by many to be holy. Many people have their evil deeds
(pâpa) washed away in the river Bâhuka."
the Buddha made him understand that bathing in rivers would
not cleanse a man of his dirt of evil, and instructed him thus:
just here (in this Doctrine and Discipline, Dhamma-vinaya),
brahmin, give security to all beings. If you do not speak falsehood,
or kill or steal, if you are confident, and are not mean, what
does it avail you to go to Gayâ (the name of a river in
India during the time of the Buddha)? Your well at home is also