“Doubt Everything. Find Your Own Light.” What the Buddha Really Said
The Buddha is often quoted as having said, “Doubt everything. Find your own light.” The “quote” is actually a 6 word summary of a much longer teaching, The Kalama Sutta. As Soma Thera writes in the quote above, this teaching is important as it reminds us to actively cultivate our capacity for critical thinking, thus avoiding the pitfalls of extremism.
What follows is my re-writing of The Kalama Sutta. I’ve based it on Soma Thera’s translation of the scripture in Pali and the commentary by Bhikkhu Bodhi. The original has a lot of repetitive phrasing, and is beautiful to read. I recommend finding some quiet time to appreciate the full text. My version, with all due respect, is concise, and I apologise for anything that’s been lost in translation. The description at the beginning of how the Kamalas go to the Buddha, some bowing, some with their hands in prayer position etc, is found in the translation from the Pali texts. I think this detail of the scripture is particularly lovely.