Five Unreliable Ways of Determining the Truth
Awakening to the Truth
Five things that cannot be relied upon for concluding that a thing is true because they can be seen to be sometimes true and sometimes not and the reverses of each are similarly sometimes true and sometimes not.
For example: Something held to be true because it is agreeable can be incorrect; something held to be false because it is disagreeable can be true.
|Pāli||Olds||Horner||Bhks. Nanamoli/Bodhi||Bhk. Thanissaro|
|Anussava||Hear-say||Report||Oral Tradition||Unbroken Tradition|
|Ākāra-parivitakka||Formulating through reasoning||Consideration of Reasons||Reasoned Cogitation||Reasoning by Analogy|
|Diṭṭhi-nijjhānakkhan||Acceptance or satisfaction with an insight arising from a point of view||Reflection on and approval of Opinion||Reflective Acceptance of a View||Agreement through Pondering Views|
These same five things, however are the ways truth may be preserved down through time.
How to Awaken to the Truth
Examine the teacher as to bodily and verbal behavior with regard to states of Lust, Anger and Delusion.
Is he in the contol of these states such that he might, not knowing, not seeing, say: "I know" or "I see"?
Is he in the control of these states such that he might urge others to act to their detriment?
Does the Doctrine of this teacher lead to dispassion, giving up, letting go, detachment and freedom? A Doctrine that is profound, hard to see and hard to understand, peaceful and sublime, unattainable by mere reasoning, subtle, to be experience by the wise each for himself here in this visible state, for such Doctrine is not easily taught by one in the control of lust, anger and delusion.
After determining that this teacher is in control of these states such that he would not, not knowing, not seeing, say: "I know' or "I see," and would not urge others to act to their detriment, then only:
|Pāli||Olds||Horner||Bhks. Nanamoli/Bodhi||Bhk. Thanissaro|
|saddhaɱ Niveseti||Repose Faith Upon||Reposes Faith in||Places Faith||Places Conviction|
|upasaṅkamanto payirupāsati||Reposing Faith, approach respectfully near||Draws close and sits down near by||Visits and pays respect||Visits and grows close|
|payirupāsanto sotaɱ odahati||Respectfully give ear||Lends Ear||Gives Ear||Lends Ear|
|dhammaɱ suṇāti||Giving Ear, Listen to Dhamma||Hears Dhamma||Hears Dhamma||Hears Dhamma|
|sutvā dhammaɱ dhāreti||Having Listened, Retain Heard Dhamma||Remembers||Memorizes||Remembers|
|dhāritānaɱ dhammānaɱ atthaɱ upaparikkhati||Having Retained, Grasp the Profit in the Retained as Heard||Tests the Meaning||Examines the Meaning||Penetrates the Meaning|
|dhammā nijjhānaɱ khamanti||Having Grasped the Profit, repose satisfaction with or acceptance of the insight arising from this Dhamma||Approves||Reflectively Accepts||Comes to Agreement through Pondering|
|dhamma-nijjhānakkhantiyā sati chando jāyati||There Being Satisfaction with the insight arising from this Dhamma, Wish is born||Desire is born||Zeal Springs Up||Desire Arises|
|ussahati||Wish Born, there is daring to do||Makes an Effort||Applies Will||Becomes Willing|
|tulayati||Daring to Do there is Taking Measures||Weighs Up||Scrutinizes||Contemplates, Weighs Up|
|pahadati||Taking Measures there is Taking Steps||Strives||Strives||Makes Exertion|
|pahitatto samāno kāyena c'eva paramasaccaɱ sacchikaroti,||
paññāya ca taɱ ativijjha passati
|Having taken steps, the shaman, bodily embraces the truth and thus wisely, with his very own vision, sees.||being self-resolute he realizes with his person the highest truth itself; and penetrating it by means of intuitive wisdom, he sees.||Resolutely striving, he realizes with the body the ultimate truth and sees it by penetrting it with wisdom.||Exerting himself, he both realizes the ultimate meaning of the truth with his body and sees by penetrating it with discernment.|
The above practice brings one to the state of having wakened to the truth. To secure that awakening one must repeat this practice again and again.
Caution! While is is often very helpful for understanding a term to know the translations of that term in another language, many translations of the Suttas in languages other than English are not translations from the Pali at all, but are translations from English language translations. Consequently there is the possiblity of error being propagated across languages. So both those reading about Buddhism for the first time from a language other than English, and those English-speakers consulting other languages for insight should be careful to check the source! Your refuge is the Pali.
The Four Causes of Error
1. The influence of fragile or unworthy authority.
3. The imperfection of undisciplined senses.
4. Concealment of ignorance by ostentation of seeming wisdom.
— From Remembrance Rock by Carl Sandberg, attributed to Roger Bacon. Note the following from Encyclopaedia Britanica, Eleventh Edition, Vol. 3-4, AUS to CAL, Bacon, Roger (c. 1214-c. 1204) p 153: "Phyical science, if there was anything deserving that name, was cultivated, not by experiment in the Aristotelian way, but by arguments deduced from premises resting on authority or custom. Everywhere there was a show of knowledge concealing fundamental ignorance," words not attributed to Bacon.
Etha tumhe Kālāmā mā anusasavena,||
mā samaṇo no garū ti||
yadā tumhe Kālāmā attanā va jāneyyātha:||
ime dhammā akusalā,||
ime dhammā sāvajjā,||
ime dhammā viññugarahitā,||
ime dhammā samattā samādinnā ahitāya dukkhāya saɱvattantī ti —||
atha tumhe Kālāmā pajaheyyātha.|| ||
— Kesaputtiya Suttaɱ
Let not thy going, Kalamas, be by tradition
nor by reliance on conclusions
nor by hearsay
nor by that which is contained in the scriptures
nor by that which is driven by cranking out thought
nor that which is driven by method
nor by thoroughly thought through constructions
nor by just capitulating to some viewpoint
nor by appearance of reasonableness
nor by instruction of your teacher,
but, Kalamas, let thy going be
by knowing for thyself:
'this thing is unskillful',
'this thing is blameable',
'this thing gives rise to a fault'
'this thing undertaken, accomplished,
is harmful, painful in result' -
and going by that, Kalamas
rid thyself thereof.