I remember my teacher mentioned this in class :

"Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumoured by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it."

Does that mean that the sutras are 100% correct if I follow them? because it is very confusing, or according to what siddartha mentioned, I can't even trust the sutras when he says do not believe?

4 Answers 4


Your teacher was loosely quoting the Buddha's instructions to the Kalamas.

"So, as I said, Kalamas: 'Don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, "This contemplative is our teacher." When you know for yourselves that, "These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering" — then you should abandon them.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said. AN 3.65

What he is saying is that it's up to each of us to investigate the teachings for ourselves to verify their veracity and usefulness.


In the real quote (here), the Buddha emphasized believing in that which:

  • "when adopted & carried out, does not lead to harm & to suffering" and
  • "when adopted & carried out, leads to welfare & to happiness".

Therefore, you can trust the majority of the sutras because the majority (but not all) are about giving up harm & suffering and cultivating welfare & happiness.

The Buddha wanted his followers to investigate & realise the teachings for themselves.

  • But lying for the welfare of many, is it that bad? I mean people get lost very often from the path.....
    – kernx
    May 11, 2016 at 23:10
  • yes but as per the lord Buddha said follow this steps when ever you can.. as per over life style now its not possible but if we try we can do it ..
    – RANSARA009
    May 12, 2016 at 5:38
  • buddha taught 'karma' (action) is 'intention'. if you had to lie to save 100 people from a murderer, the intention is good intention. the moral rules in Buddhism are training rules rather than fixed absolutes. May 12, 2016 at 6:29

Yes Kernex your right. lord Buddha said like that. he said check from your Knowledge & is it fare to the rules.. then accept it. Buddhism was born in India before 2500 years before. after lord buddhas death Monk bring the sutras to the future mouth to mouth learning. so in that time some external things added to the Buddhists sutras. but the main thing of Buddhism is 100% true & that will help you to have a peaceful life without Bonds. just follow below basic 5 rules of the Buddhism.

  1. Do not take life
  2. Do not take what is not given
  3. Do not distort facts
  4. Refrain from misuse of the senses
  5. Refrain from self-intoxication through alcohol or drugs
  • So overthinking is toxic because it leads to judgment (number4) therefore vipassana is very important to be able to follow those rules, because it somehow opens a doorway to a new path right?
    – kernx
    May 11, 2016 at 23:11
  • this are not 5 rules. lord Buddha said to Follow this 5 Guidelines. this 5 guideline are the 1st Basic of the Buddhism..if you follow this basics it will take you to Nirvana.. Nirvana means No life after Death.. No suffering
    – RANSARA009
    May 12, 2016 at 5:42
  • Yes I understand that, but how can you follow these rules if one's mind is clouded with judgment like many in society? Like really clouded.... i Mean doesn't vipassana usually help someone follow these guidelines? I mean a convict or very evil person will have a lot of trouble following these lines withouth some sort of spiritual path...? no? @ RANSARA009
    – kernx
    May 13, 2016 at 12:51
  • 1
    before you go go vipassana you have to follow this guide line. when you can settle & clear your mind you can go for Higher things like Vipassana.. its very hard but we can do it if we try..
    – RANSARA009
    May 14, 2016 at 11:27
  • Just finished, man, the SURGERY KEEPS GETTING DEEPER.... Annicca to you my brother.
    – kernx
    Aug 1, 2016 at 1:47

The Suttas are contained in the Sutta Pitaka, within which are 5 collections or nikayas. Of these, the first 4 are the earliest and the ones that can be fully trusted. It is because you will never find any contradictions in it - from one sutta to the other. They are :

  1. Digha Nikaya consists of 3 books on the long discourses (34 Suttas) of the Supreme Buddha,
  2. Majjhima Nikaya comprises 3 books containing the Supreme Buddha's middle length discourses (152 Suttas),
  3. Samyutta Nikaya contains about 2000 short discourses in 5 books, and
  4. Anguttara Nikaya contains about 2000 short discourses in 5 books.

Khuddaka Nikaya, the fifth, is a minor or smaller collection. Although termed "smaller", it is in fact the largest as more and more books have been added to it over the years. It has grown to 15 books in the Thai and Sri Lankan versions.

In 1956, the Sangha Council in Burma added another 3 books, which are not the Supreme Buddha's own words. These 3 additions are Questions of King Milinda, Petakopadesa and Nettipakarana. This is how the Khuddaka Nikaya grew from a minor collection to become a major collection!

In the future, say in 500 or 1000 years' time, this would definitely create more confusion. Out of the 18 books now, probably only 6 are reliable in that they do not contradict the earliest 4 Nikayas.

These 6 reliable books are the Dhammapada, Sutta Nipata, Theragatha, Therigatha, Itivuttaka and Udana. As Buddhists, we should be familiar with the Suttas and if possible obtain our own copies. It is a sad fact that whereas we rarely find Muslims without the Quran or Christians without the Bible, yet we find many Buddhists without the Nikayas.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .