In the first part of this discourse, the buddha critiqued various strategies commonly used for epistemic evaluation while in the second part he asked the Kalamas pointed questions to get them to reflect upon their own empirical knowledge. Ultimately, when we look at these first two parts of this discourse, the advice given by the Buddha to the Kalamas is to dismiss speculative teachings out of hand: such teachings are not based upon any reliably verified evidence.
However, the discourse doesn’t end there and the Buddha’s project in this discourse is not simply or only negative. After providing the Kalamas with a system of investigation and critical thinking, he offers a verifiably beneficial practice which is often called the “cultivation of the four boundless qualities.”
There is no place to seek the mind;
It is like the footprints of the birds in the sky.
Every contemplative tradition has what might be called "objectless" meditation emphasizing the characteristics of awareness. As simple as it may seem, it can be challenging for most, so here's an incremental practice to create the qualities of stability, reflectivity and resilient equanimity needed for such "objectless" meditation.
The "telephone," for many of us, has become something we can seem enslaved to: between texting, messaging, emails and various app notifications -- and of course actual phone calls -- we may fall into a pattern of deep attachment and reactivity.
The "telephone meditation" practice can create the conditions to step back and allow us to respond rather than react.
Continuing from my previous post, Just Sit, it may help to consider the following: Create a comfortable, private space to sit. It could be a corner of your bedroom, a walk-in closet or wherever you can have privacy. After even only a few days, the consistency of sitting in the same place will lead to a greater ease in letting go of other concerns and settling into 'just sitting.' The same thing goes with time: it's best, if possible, to sit at the same time(s) each day.
The Buddha’s teaching on anatman or “not self” and shunyata (emptiness) are perplexing for many people when they first are presented with it. And yet, it’s not only what physics, chemistry, psychology and all the other sciences tell us; it's also what the evidence right before our eyes if we actually look without the veils of assumptions, expectations and pre-conceptions tells us: there is no-‘thing’-ness to any phenomena.
With the coming of October, and the cooler days and longer nights of Autumn, and before the Holiday Season and its concomitant stresses, NOW might be a perfect time to commit to sit!
Start to enjoy the benefits of meditation practice before the stuff hits the fan!
In my first posting on this most popular discourse, I explored the criteria the buddha suggests we use to arrive at knowledge of what is true and helpful, leading to greater freedom and joy.
The discourse continues with the buddha asking the Kalamas to apply his suggested criteria to the “three poisons,” also known as the “four roots of suffering.”
To be mindful of our water, our need for water, and to celebrate the gift of water is to cultivate awareness and help preserve and conserve this precious source of life for all beings.
“The Discourse to the Kalamas,” most popularly known as “The Kalama Sutta,” has been called “The buddha’s charter of free inquiry” and “The buddha’s manifesto for critical thinking” and is justly famous – and often repeated in contemporary, western buddhist circles – for its encouragement of free inquiry but is often misrepresented by contemporary practitioners.