DHARMA FREE CRITICAL INQUIRY

   

The 19th-century British mathematician and philosopher William Kingdon Clifford declared:

"It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence."

Almost everyone would agree with this statement and yet when it comes down to using thought contaminated by individual Identity that credo becomes easily discarded. 

Clifford further declared that dedicated thinkers who are diligent and careful "build their opinions on the basis of facts, scientific inquiry, and logical principles, independent of any logical fallacies or the intellectually limiting effects of authority, confirmation bias, cognitive bias, conventional wisdom, popular culture, prejudice, sectarianism, tradition, urban legend, and all other dogmas. Regarding religion, freethinkers hold that there is insufficient evidence to support the existence of supernatural phenomena."


Buddha Dharma is completely in accord with this credo.






    Samyuttanikaya, Nidanavagga, Mahavagga, Sutta No. 8

"Friend Savittha, apart from faith, apart from liking, apart from what has been acquired by repeated hearing, apart from specious reasoning, and from a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over, I know this, I see this: 'Decay and death are due to birth.'"

Samyuttanikaya, Salyatanavagga, Navapuranavagga, Sutta No. 8

"Here a bhikkhu, having seen an object with the eye, knows when greed, hate, and delusion are within, 'Greed, hate, and delusion are in me'; he knows when greed, hate, and delusion are not within, 'Greed, hate, and delusion are not in me.' 

"Bhikkhus, have these things to be experienced through faith, liking, what has been acquired by repeated hearing, specious reasoning, or a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over?"

"No, venerable sir."

"Bhikkhus, this even is the way by which a bhikkhu, apart from faith, liking, what has been acquired by repeated hearing, specious reasoning, or a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over, declares realization of knowledge thus: 'I know that birth has been exhausted, the celibate life has been lived, what must be done has been done and there is no more of this to come'."

           

In the Kalama Sutra, 4 and 10, we find the base for Free Critical Inquiry:

For Rejection

4. "It is proper for you, Kalamas, to doubt, to be uncertain; uncertainty has arisen in you about what is doubtful. Come, Kalamas. Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; nor upon tradition; nor upon rumor; nor upon what is in a scripture; nor upon surmise; nor upon an axiom; nor upon specious reasoning; nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over; nor upon another's seeming ability; nor upon the consideration, 'The monk is our teacher.' Kalamas, when you yourselves know: 'These things are bad; these things are blamable; these things are censured by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to harm and ill,' abandon them."

For Acceptance

10. "Come, Kalamas. Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; nor upon tradition; nor upon rumor; nor upon what is in a scripture; nor upon surmise; nor upon an axiom; nor upon specious reasoning; nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over; nor upon another's seeming ability; nor upon the consideration, 'The monk is our teacher.' Kalamas, when you yourselves know: 'These things are good; these things are not blamable; these things are praised by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness,' enter on and abide in them."

Let us take a closer look. It is imperative that the listener or reader beware, for there are many traps that capture an unwary mind. 

Yet those traps are effective because Identity is lurking there, ready to pounce upon any statement that supports its causes, making that its truth, reinforced by its own dissonance.


Perhaps the greatest failing that those who have a clinging to words and their own intellect is the fact that they do not listen or read without entering the "Identity products" of their own minds into the discourse.

Unfortunately the structure of many languages permits the listener or reader to anticipate, often in error, what may be presented even in a single sentence, thus producing personal thoughts, refutation or hasty agreement.

One must allow the full presentation of the discourse as it unfolds without interference with one's own mind. One must allow the full construction of all new and old ideas presented and then, and only then, examining what has been declared see if there are any elements missing from the discourse that might complete it, asking for such completion.

Then you examine what has been presented as complete for INTERNAL CONSISTENCY and CONTRADICTIONS. You set aside all flim-flam and decorative speech and look to the essentials presented. If you can make a model of what has been presented just as it has been presented adding nothing of your own.


                Then Reject all of the following: 
    Like or Dislike

    Intellectual Indifference
    Repeated hearing
    Specious reasoning
    Cognitive bias
    Emotive persuasion
    Logical fallacies
Prejudice
Sectarianism
Tradition or Faith 
     Dogmas
     Conventional wisdom
     Popular culture
         Rumor

     Scripture
     Surmise
     Axiom
Intellectually limiting effects of authority
Confirmation bias 

Then, and only then, consider what has been said with respect to what you believe and be prepared to put your own beliefs to the same test.


Subpages (1): THE KALAMA SUTRA
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