AN III 65 Kālāmās: Know for Yourselves

AN III 65 Kālāmās: Know for Yourselves

 

Kesamutti Sutta #

 

 

So I have heard,

 

Once, the Awakened One was touring amongst the Kosalans,

together with a large following of monks,

And he arrived in Kesamutti,

a small village of the Kālāmās. [1]

 

And the Kālāmās of Kesamutti heard:

 

“The monk Gotama,

son of the Sakyans,

who went forth from a Sakyan family,

has arrived at Kesamutti.

 

And this good rumor spreads amongst the country:

 

‘The Teacher is an Arahant,

Fully awakened Buddha,

Endowed with righteous knowledge

and righteous behavior,

 

A Blissful One,

Knower of the worlds,

Unsurpassed guide for those who seek peace,

Teacher of Devas and humans,

Awakened and Exalted.

[…]

 

He teaches the Dhamma which is

 

Beautiful in the beginning,

Beautiful in the middle,

Beautiful in the ending.

 

In the meaning and the phrasing.

 

He embodies and shines forth,

The completely perfected and utterly pure Spiritual life.

 

And it is good to see such a realized teacher,

in person.

 

Then the Kālāmās went to the Teacher.

 

Some paid loving respects

and sat to the side,

Some exchanged amiable words with him

Then sat down,

Some saluted him with hands folded in añjali

then sat down,

Some announced their family name

then sat down,

Some remained silent

then sat down.

 

When the Kālāmas of Kesamutti were all sitting,

They asked the Awakened One:

 

“Bhante, many spiritual teachers and practitioners [2]

come to Kesamutti.

 

They preach and praise their own doctrines,

And they abuse,

revile,

insult

and denigrate

the doctrine of others. [3]

 

Then shortly after,

some other teacher or practitioner comes.

 

They too preach and praise their own doctrines,

And they too

abuse,

revile,

insult

and denigrate

the doctrine of others.

 

Therefore, we are confused and in doubt

About which of these teachers speaks the truth

and which speaks falsehood.”

 

[The Buddha]

“It is right for you to doubt Kālāmās,

normal to be perplexed.” [4]

 

Perplexity arises to you about what should be questioned. [5]

 

[Unwholesome]

 

Come Kālāmās,

not by what you have heard,

not by lineage,

not by tradition,

not because it was passed down from your ancestors,

not by mere philosophical reasoning,

not because of one particular method or teaching,

not by judging external appearances,

not by mere pondering on views and opinions, [6]

not because something seems plausible,

not because a certain teacher is respected. [7]

 

But rather, whenever you, Kālāmās,

should know for yourselves:

 

‘These things are unwholesome,

These things are reprehensible,

These things are not recommended [8] by the wise

These things, when fully undertaken

Lead to harm and trouble.’

 

These things you should abandon. [9]

 

[Greed]

 

“What do you think Kālāmās?

When greed arises in someone,

is that for their welfare

or for their harm? [10]

 

“For their harm Bhante”

 

Because of greed, Kalāmās,

Because they are overpowered and obsessed by greed,

people hurt living beings,

take what isn’t theirs,

sleep with another’s wife [or husband],

speak deliberate lies,

and encourage others to do likewise.

 

This being so,

will this not be for their harm and trouble

for a long time? [11]

 

“Yes Bhante.”

 

[Anger]

 

What do you think Kālāmās?

When anger [12] arises in someone,

is that for their welfare

or for their harm?

 

“For their harm Bhante”

 

It is because of hate [13] Kalāmās,

Because they are overpowered and obsessed by anger,

people hurt living beings,

take what isn’t theirs,

sleep with another’s wife [or husband],

speak deliberate lies,

and encourage others to do likewise.

 

This being so,

will this not be for their harm and trouble

for a long time?

 

“Yes Bhante.”

 

[Delusion]

 

What do you think Kālāmās?

When delusional opinions [14] arise in someone,

is that for their welfare

or for their harm?

 

“For their harm Bhante”

 

Because of delusional opinions [15] Kalāmās,

Because they are overpowered and obsessed by delusion,

people hurt living beings,

take what isn’t theirs,

sleep with another’s wife [or husband],

speak deliberate lies,

and encourage others to do likewise.

 

This being so,

will this not be for their harm and trouble

for a long time?

 

“Yes Bhante.”

 

[Reasoning the Unwholesome]

 

“What do you think Kālāmās?

Are these things wholesome or unwholesome?”

 

“Unwholesome Bhante.”

 

“Are they blameworthy or blameless? [16]

 

They are blameworthy Bhante.”

 

“Are they recommended by the wise or not?”

 

They are not recommended by the wise Bhante.”

 

“When these things are undertaken, and practiced

do they lead to harm and trouble or not?

What do you make of it? [17]

 

“Undertaken and practiced,

They lead to harm and trouble Bhante.

This is how we see it.”

 

[The Buddha]

“This is why we said:

Come Kālāmās,

not by what you have heard,

not by lineage,

not by tradition,

not because it was passed down from your ancestors,

not by mere philosophical reasoning,

not because of one particular method or teaching,

not by judging external appearances,

not by mere pondering on views and opinions

not because something seems plausible,

Not because a certain teacher is respected.

 

But rather,

whenever you should know for yourselves:

 

‘These things are unwholesome,

These things are reprehensible,

These things are not recommended by the wise

These things, when fully undertaken

Lead to harm and trouble.’

 

These things you should abandon.

 

That is the reason why we said this.

 

[Knowing what is Wholesome] #

 

Come Kālāmās,

not by what you have heard,

not by lineage,

not by tradition,

not because it was passed down from your ancestors,

not by mere philosophical reasoning,

not because of one particular method or teaching,

not by judging external appearances,

not by mere pondering on views and opinions

not because something seems plausible,

not because a certain teacher is respected.

 

But rather,

whenever you should know for yourselves:

 

‘These things are wholesome,

These things are blameless,

These things are recommended [18] by the wise

These things, when fully undertaken

Lead to welfare and happiness.’

 

These things you should take up

and live up to them.

 

[Greedlessness] #

 

What do you think Kālāmās?

When greedlessness [19] arises in someone,

is that for the welfare

or their harm?

 

“It is for their welfare Bhante”

 

Because of greedlessness, [20] Kalāmās,

Because they are not overpowered and obsessed by greed,

people do not hurt living beings,

do not take what isn’t theirs,

do not sleep with another’s wife [or husband],

do not speak deliberate lies,

and do not encourage others to do likewise.

 

This being so,

will this not be for their welfare and happiness

for a long time?

 

“Yes Bhante.”

 

[Angerlessness] #

 

What do you think Kālāmās?

When angerlessness [21] arises in someone,

is that for their welfare

or their harm?

 

“For their welfare Bhante”

 

Because of hatelessness Kalāmās,

Because they are not overpowered and obsessed by anger,

people do not hurt living beings,

do not take what isn’t theirs,

do not sleep with another’s wife [or husband],

do not speak deliberate lies,

and do not encourage others to do likewise.

 

This being so,

will this not be for their welfare and happiness

for a long time?

 

“Yes Bhante.”

 

[True Understanding] #

 

What do you think Kālāmās?

When true understanding [22] arises in someone,

is that for their welfare

or their harm?

 

“For their welfare Bhante”

 

Because of true understanding Kalāmās,

Because they are not overpowered and obsessed

by delusional ideas,

people do not hurt living beings,

do not take what isn’t theirs,

do not sleep with another’s wife [or husband],

do not speak deliberate lies,

and do not encourage others to do likewise.

 

This being so,

will this not be for their welfare and benefit

for a long time?

 

“Yes Bhante.”

 

[Reasoning the Wholesome] #

 

What do you think Kālāmās?

Are these things wholesome

or unwholesome?

 

“Wholesome Bhante.”

 

“Are they blameworthy or blameless?”

 

“They are blameless Bhante.”

 

“Are they recommended by the wise or not?”

 

“They are recommended by the wise Bhante.”

 

“When these things are undertaken and practiced,

do they lead to welfare and happiness or not?

What do you make of it?”

 

“Undertaken and practiced,

They lead to welfare and happiness Bhante.

This is how we see it.”

 

“That is why we said:

Come Kālāmās,

not by what you have heard,

not by lineage,

not by tradition,

not because it was passed down from your ancestors,

not by mere philosophical reasoning,

not because of one particular method or teaching,

not by judging external appearances,

not by mere pondering on views and opinions

not because something seems plausible,

not because a certain teacher is respected.

 

But rather,

whenever you should know for yourselves:

 

‘These things are wholesome,

These things are blameless,

These things are recommended [23] by the wise

These things, when fully undertaken

Lead to welfare and happiness.’

 

These things you should take up

and live up to them.”

 

That is the reason for us to say this.

 

[Brahmavihāras] #

 

[Boundless Love] #

 

Then Kālāmās,

Well rid of selfishness

Well rid of resentment,

And completely done with confusion

Fully conscious and present,

the seeker of good meditates

with a mind filled with Love;

 

Pervading one direction.

Likewise, a second.

Likewise, a third.

Likewise, a fourth.

 

So above and below,

Around and everywhere,

To all living beings,

In the boundless universe.

 

One meditates

With a heart filled with Love,

Vast, expansive and unbounded.

Without a trace of hatred

Not holding any grudge. [24]

 

[Boundless Compassion] #

 

Then Kālāmās,

Well rid of selfishness

Well rid of resentment,

And completely done with confusion

Fully conscious and present,

the seeker of good meditates

with a mind filled with Compassion; [25]

 

Pervading one direction.

Likewise, a second.

Likewise, a third.

Likewise, a fourth.

 

So above and below,

Around and everywhere,

To all living beings,

In the boundless universe.

 

One meditates

With a heart filled with Compassion,

Vast, expansive and unbounded.

Without a trace of hatred

Not holding any grudge.

 

[Boundless Joy] #

 

Then Kālāmās,

Well rid of selfishness

Well rid of resentment,

And completely done with confusion

Fully conscious and present,

the seeker of good meditates

with a mind filled with Joy; [26]

 

Pervading one direction.

Likewise, a second.

Likewise, a third.

Likewise, a fourth.

 

So above and below,

Around and everywhere,

To all living beings,

In the boundless universe.

 

One meditates

With a heart filled with Joy,

Vast, expansive and unbounded.

Without a trace of hatred

Not holding any grudge.

 

[Boundless Calm] #

 

Then Kālāmās,

Well rid of selfishness

Well rid of resentment,

And completely done with confusion

Fully conscious and present,

the seeker of good meditates

with a mind filled with Calm; [27]

 

Pervading one direction.

Likewise, a second.

Likewise, a third.

Likewise, a fourth.

 

So above and below,

Around and everywhere,

To all living beings,

In the boundless universe.

 

One meditates

With a heart filled with Calm,

Vast, expansive and unbounded.

Without a trace of hatred

Not holding any grudge.

 

 

Then, Kālāmās, the mind of this seeker of good

is freed from anger,

freed from impatience,

freed from mental hindrances,

and it is purified. [28]

 

[Four Assurances] #

 

At that moment,

That person acquires four assurances,

here and now. [29]

 

(1) “If there so happens to be another world [after this],

and that good and bad actions bear results,

Then when this body will break, after death,

 I will reappear in a pleasurable existence.” [30]

 

This is the first assurance that one acquires.

 

(2) “If there is no other world [after this],

and that good and bad actions do not bear results,

I maintain myself in blameless happiness,

far from anger, resentment and trouble. [31]

 

This is the second assurance one acquires.

 

(3) “If wickedness comes back

to one who performs it,

In such a way, I do not intend harm to anyone.

Not performing any harmful deeds,

How could trouble come to me?” [32]

 

This is the third assurance one acquires.

 

(4) “If wickedness does not come back

to one who performs it,

All the best for me,

since I am then pure in both respects. [33]

 

This is the fourth assurance one acquires.

 

Then, Kālāmās, the mind of this seeker of good

is freed from anger,

freed from impatience,

freed from mental hindrances,

and it is purified.

 

 

These are the four assurances on acquires there and then.

 

 

[Kālāmās]

“So it is Bhagavā, so it is Blissful One.”

 

[Exact repetition of the four assurances but this time, by the Kālāmās…]

 

 

“Excellent Bhante!

Excellent Bhante!”

 

“Just as if what had fallen over had been set upright,

or as what had been hidden was uncovered,

or as if the way was shown to someone who was lost,

or as if a light was shone in the darkness, thinking:

 

“Let those with vision see!”

 

In the same way Bhante,

The Awakened One Has brought forth

And elucidated the Dhamma in countless ways.

 

Bhante,

We go to the Awakened One as a refuge,

to the Dhamma

and to the bhikkkhu saṅgha.

 

May the Awakened One count us

as a lay followers from now on,

who have gone for refuge for life. “

 

 


[1] kesamuttaṃ nāma kālāmānaṃ nigamo tadavasari.

[2] Samaṇa Brāhmaṇa

[3] Te sakaṃyeva vādaṃ dīpenti jotenti, parappavādaṃ pana khuṃsenti vambhenti paribhavanti omakkhiṃ karonti.

[4] “Alañhi vo, kālāmā, kaṅkhituṃ alaṃ vicikicchituṃ.

[5] Kaṅkhanīyeva pana vo ṭhāne vicikicchā uppannā.

[6] diṭṭhinijjhānakkhanti: readiness to accept a view after reflection; a view preferred after reflection; ? New Concise P-E Dictionary has another example that can be likened to this one: dhammanijjhānakhanti: readiness to accept teachings after reflection; teachings preferred after reflection. Though I choose a different path.

[7] Etha tumhe, kālāmā, mā anussavena, mā paramparāya, mā itikirāya, mā piṭakasampadānena, mā takkahetu, mā nayahetu, mā ākāraparivitakkena, mā diṭṭhinijjhānakkhantiyā,mā bhabbarūpatāya, mā samaṇo no garūti.

[8] Good replacement for the slightly inappropriate classic translation as ‘reproached by the wise.’: Dismissed, refused, rejected, proscribed, countermanded, invalidated, repudiated, excluded, precluded, set aside, kept back, put down…

[9] Yadā tumhe, kālāmā, attanāva jāneyyātha: ime dhammā akusalā, ime dhammā sāvajjā, ime dhammā viññugarahitā,  ime dhammā samattā samādinnā ahitāya dukkhāya saṃvattantīti, atha tumhe, kālāmā, pajaheyyātha.

[10] Taṃ kiṃ maññatha, kālāmā, lobho purisassa ajjhattaṃ uppajjamāno uppajjati hitāya vā ahitāya vāti?

[11] “Luddho panāyaṃ, kālāmā, purisapuggalo lobhena abhibhūto pariyādinnacitto pāṇampi hanati, adinnampi ādiyati, paradārampi gacchati, musāpi bhaṇati, parampi tathattāya samādapeti, yaṃ sa hoti dīgharattaṃ ahitāya dukkhāyāti.

[12] doso

[13] Duṭṭho

[14] moho

[15] Mūḷho

[16] “Sāvajjā vā anavajjā vāti?

[17] Kathaṃ vā ettha hotīti?

[18] Good replacement for the slightly unaligned classic translation as ‘reproached by the wise.’: Dismissed, refused, rejected, banned, forbidden, prohibited, barred, proscribed, countermanded, invalidate, repudiated, abjured, excluded, precluded, set aside, throw out, kept back, put down…

[19] alobho

[20] Aluddho

[21] adoso

[22] amoho

[23] Good replacement for the slightly unaligned classic translation as ‘reproached by the wise.’: Dismissed, refused, rejected, banned, forbidden, prohibited, barred, proscribed, countermanded, invalidate, repudiated, abjured, excluded, precluded, set aside, throw out, kept back, put down…

[24] mettāsahagatena cetasā ekaṃ disaṃ pharitvā viharati, tathā dutiyaṃ, tathā tatiyaṃ, tathā catutthaṃ, iti uddhamadho tiriyaṃ sabbadhi sabbattatāya sabbāvantaṃ lokaṃ mettāsahagatena cetasā vipulena mahaggatena appamāṇena averena abyāpajjhena pharitvā viharati.

[25] Karuṇāsahagatena cetasā

[26] muditāsahagatena cetasā

[27] upekkhāsahagatena cetasā

[28] Sa kho so, kālāmā, ariyasāvako evaṃ averacitto evaṃ abyāpajjhacitto evaṃ asaṃkiliṭṭhacitto evaṃ visuddhacitto.

[29] Tassa diṭṭheva dhamme cattāro assāsā adhigatā honti.

[30] ‘Sace kho pana atthi paro loko, atthi sukatadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko, athāhaṃ kāyassa bhedā paraṃ maraṇā sugatiṃ saggaṃ lokaṃ upapajjissāmīti,

[31] ‘Sace kho pana natthi paro loko, natthi sukatadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko, athāhaṃ diṭṭheva dhamme averaṃ abyāpajjhaṃ anīghaṃ sukhiṃ attānaṃ pariharāmīti,

[32] ‘Sace kho pana karoto karīyati pāpaṃ, na kho panāhaṃ kassaci pāpaṃ cetemi. Akarontaṃ kho pana maṃ pāpakammaṃ kuto dukkhaṃ phusissatīti,

[33] ‘Sace kho pana karoto na karīyati pāpaṃ, athāhaṃ ubhayeneva visuddhaṃ attānaṃ samanupassāmīti,