How to Avoid False Reasoning

When the Buddha arrived in the City of Kalamas during one of his constant tours, Kalamas had already heard enough. Various thinkers had visited their city and talked to them.  Kalamas had listened to so many different, contrasting views that they were questioning themselves what to accept or reject. In short, they were fed up.

In that mindset, Kalamas addressed the Buddha and made a very pertinent comment:

“All the visitors who talked to us have said that what they believe is correct, and what others claim is false.  And they asked us to reject what others said and to accept only what they said.”

Apparently, the comments made by the Kalamas were a challenge to the Buddha himself. Kalamas seem to have asked the Buddha something like, “Are you going to tell us the same thing as said by the other visitors?”

“The Buddha began his reply with a compliment to Kalamas for making their comments. “You are right! You have the doubt where doubt should be. You have uncertainty where uncertainty should be,” the Buddha said immediately.

Then he began his speech with a discussion of how to evaluate an argument, a claim supported with reasons, rationally and how to accept or reject it.

According to the Buddha’s clarification in that discussion, an argument is weak if it is based on ten kinds of reasoning. Seven of them signify the speaker’s submission to various authorities while the other three indicate the speaker’s oversimplification of the reasons and manipulation of the listener.

If the speaker has surrendered to authorities, his or her reasoning shows the unwavering acceptance of:

  1. reported information (rumor, hearsay, news reports, etc.)
  2. traditional values, beliefs, and practices
  3. social truths
  4. ideas given in texts
  5. logical reasoning
  6. Reasons based on speculations (such as those given in religious texts and believed by society) are accurate
  7. the authority of a certain person, (such as “It is true because our leader said that”)

“Speaker’s oversimplification” means the given reasons are too simple and too narrow to support the claim.  The following three belong to that category:

  1. Hypothesized reasoning (Giving quick, simple, apparently plausible, but actually shallow reasons)
  2. Appealing to the listener’s natural tendencies (E.G.: You like a pay raise; you want a pay raise, so your boss shouldn’t say “No.”)
  3. Using the persuasive skills to validate the argument (E.G.: I speak clearly and assertively, so my argument is correct.)

The Buddha advised Kalamas to practice caution so that they would not fall prey to this false and weak reasoning.

Vihara News

Vesak Ceremony on May 25 & 26 (Saturday and Sunday)

This year’s Vesak celebrations at the Vihara will be held on May 25th and 26th

From 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm: Lighting Vesak pandals, Pujas, and the blessing service

Saturday’s Special Event:

From 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm: Children’s and adults’ Vesak Bhakthi Gee

8:45 pm: Dinner


7:00 am: Sila program begins
7:15: Buddha Puja
8:00: Breakfast Dana for Bhikkhus and Sila observants
9:00: Children’s Sila program begins
11:15: Buddha Puja
11:30: Dana for the Maha Sangha and Sila observants followed by lunch
12:15 pm: Children’s Sila program ends
1:30 pm: Dhamma talk and discussion

Ven. Sathindriya Thero Will Conduct Sunday’s Sila Program

Ven. Sathindriya Thero, popularly known as Bhante Sathi, abbot of the Triple Gem of the North in Minnesota, will lead the Vesak Sila program on Sunday and will give the Dhamma talk at 1:30 pm.