Words of wisdom on not following doctrine

For another view, see Second Opinions Sought for My Salvation
Should one follow religious doctrine simply because it’s written in the “book,” or that it comes from special teachers’ “teachings” (including Dharma)?
I don’t know. But I do like a message of personal inclusiveness, and I like the following words of the Buddha from the Kalama Sutta:

“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.

 Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many.

Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.

Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.

Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.

But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.“

(Many thanks to Emily at Peace Ground Zero and her post:  Oxymoron: racist Buddhist, or unprejudiced human?)

7 comments on “Words of wisdom on not following doctrine

  1. Good stuff, Michael j! That’s long been one of my favorite Buddha citations….it was such a comfort when especially from religious dogmatism….



    • contoveros says:

      Gotta keep reminding myself that the Buddha’s way is the best way.

      Pick and choose a spiritual belief as if I were trying on a shirt I may want to wear a while. Or get a lifetime of wear from . . .

      michael j


  2. marktwainssecretary says:

    Thank you for your post. It gives this scientist great solace that there is room for reason, doubt and compassion in Buddhism. Particularly like this part of the reading…

    ‘Suppose there is a hereafter and there is a fruit, result, of deeds done well or ill. Then it is possible that at the dissolution of the body after death, I shall arise in the heavenly world, which is possessed of the state of bliss.’ This is the first solace found by him.

    “‘Suppose there is no hereafter and there is no fruit, no result, of deeds done well or ill. Yet in this world, here and now, free from hatred, free from malice, safe and sound, and happy, I keep myself.’ This is the second solace found by him.

    Happy New Year! (and please keep writing!!!)


    • contoveros says:



      You just knocked my socks off with this one!

      You’re only a secretary? Let me put you in for presidency.

      Who penned this exquisite aspiration? They had to have the wisdom of a Buddha.

      Hey, this alone would make a great post to write about. Hmmmm . . . that just gave me an idea. . .


  3. saradode says:

    Morning, Michael–

    I had a fleeting thought as I was waking up this morning that the “Garden of Eden” refers to the state in which we did not have the impulse to define the Divine according to our own world-views, biases, and tendencies toward self-righteousness and divisiveness (in other words, the useless and sometimes ugly trappings of our egos). There was no “dogma”–only the desire and uncomplicated ability to have a direct, personal, loving, and innocent relationship with God. Then that sumbitch serpent came along…

    Thanks for this.



    • contoveros says:


      We were “child-like” and loved from our hearts, not from our minds . . . or the stuff that got “stuffed” into our minds.

      How would you like to join me in “uprooting” that sombitch “tree of knowledge?”

      michael j


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