Wings to Awakening
Pali Buddhist Text

2. As they were sitting to one side, the Kalamas of Kesaputta said to the Blessed One, 'Venerable sir, there are some priests and contemplatives who come to Kesaputta. They expound and glorify their own doctrines, but as for the doctrines of others, they deprecate them, revile them, show contempt for them, and disparage them. And then other priests and contemplatives come to Kesaputta. They expound and glorify their own doctrines, but as for the doctrines of others, they deprecate them, revile them, show contempt for them, and disparage them. They leave us simply uncertain and doubtful: Which of these venerable priests and contemplatives are speaking the truth, and which ones are lying?'

'Of course you are uncertain, Kalamas. Of course you are doubtful. 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 conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement with your 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 undertaken and carried out, lead to harm and to suffering"-then you should abandon them...

'How do you construe this, Kalamas? When greed arises in a person, does it arise for welfare or for harm?'

'For harm, lord.'

'And this greedy person, overcome by greed, his mind possessed by greed: Doesn't he kill living beings, take what is not given, go after another person's wife, tell lies, and induce others to do likewise, all of which is for long-term harm and suffering?'

'Yes, lord.'
(Similarly for aversion and delusion.)

So what do you think, Kalamas: Are these qualities skillful or unskillful?'

'Unskillful, lord.'

'Blameworthy or blameless?'

'Blameworthy, lord.'

'Criticized by the wise or praised by the wise?'

'Criticized by the wise, lord.'

'When undertaken and carried out, do they lead to harm and to suffering, or not?'

'When undertaken and carried out, they lead to harm and to suffering...'

'...Now, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement with your views, by probability, or by the thought, "This contemplative is our teacher." When you know for yourselves that, "These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when undertaken and carried out, lead to welfare and to happiness"-then you should enter and remain in them.

'How do you construe this, Kalamas? When lack of greed arises in a person, does it arise for welfare or for harm?'

'For welfare, lord.'

'And this ungreedy person, not overcome by greed, his mind not possessed by greed: He doesn't kill living beings, take what is not given, go after another person's wife, tell lies, or induce others to do likewise, all of which is for long-term welfare and happiness-right?'

'Yes, lord.'
(Similarly for lack of aversion and lack of delusion.)

So what do you think, Kalamas: Are these qualities skillful or unskillful?'

'Skillful, lord.'

'Blameworthy or blameless?'

'Blameless, lord.'

'Criticized by the wise or praised by the wise?'

'Praised by the wise, lord.'

'When undertaken and carried out, do they lead to welfare and to happiness, or not?'

'When undertaken and carried out, they lead to welfare and to happiness...'
A.III.65

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