Rite of Chanting the Kalama Sutta (1): Stably Holding the Right Confidences
Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Samma SamBuddhassa
Respectfully pay homage to the Buddha: the World-Honored One, the Worthy One, the Exalted One, the Fully Awakened and Enlightened One. (Bell)
As wonderful as the lotus flower,
as bright as the northern star,
let us come back and take refuge in
the Teacher gods and human beings.
The precious lotus blossoms on the enlightened pedestal
the halo shines in all directions.
Wisdom goes beyond the dharma realms,
Loving-kindness and compassion permeate all over the mountains and rivers.
I have just seen the Buddha’s perfect countenance,
My whole heart is sincere to make offerings to the Buddha,
I forward it to praise the Triple Gem
Diligence in the Dharma path is well cultivated.
As the incense is lit,
sandalwood perfumes the air,
making an auspicious rainbow cloud.
I, disciple of the Buddha, with all my respect
offer my heart to the Buddhas of the Ten Directions.
May we practice the precepts seriously at all times
May we practice concentration diligently,
May we offer the precious fruit of insight as our offering of incense of the heart.
We would like to respectfully offer the incense of ethics, meditation, wisdom, deliverance, and that of deliverance with right understanding to the Buddha, Bodhisattvas, virtuous and noble Sangha, Dharma guardians, good gods, knowing and understanding our wholehearted minds. (Bell)
Touching the earth in deep gratitude to the Triple Gem
Praising the Buddha Jewel
The Buddha Jewel shines infinitely.
He has realized perfect understanding for countless lifetimes.
The beauty and stability of a Buddha sitting
can be in the mountains and rivers.
How splendid the Vulture Peak is!
How beautiful the light that shines forth from the Buddha’s third eye,
Illuminate the six dark paths.
The Nagapushpa Assembly will be our next appointment
for the continuation of the true teachings of practices.
We take refuge in the Buddha ever-present.
We, disciples of Gautama Buddha, wholeheartedly pay homage to the Buddha forever present in the three lifetimes and ten directions. (Bell, one prostration)
Praising the Dharma Jewel
The Dharma Jewel is infinitely lovely.
It is the precious words spoken by the Buddha himself,
like fragrant flowers floating down from the heavens.
The wonderful Dharma is clear to see.
It is recorded luminously in the three transparent baskets
handed down from generation to generation in the Ten Directions
so that today we can see our way.
We vow to study it with all our hearts.
We take refuge in the Dharma ever-present.
We, disciples of Gautama Buddha, wholeheartedly pay homage to the Dharma forever present in the three lifetimes and ten directions. (Bell, one prostration)
Praising the Sangha Jewel
The Sangha Jewel is infinitely precious,
a field of merit where good seeds can be sown.
The three robes and the bowl are symbols of freedom.
Mindfulness trainings, concentration, and insight support each other.
The Sangha dwells in mindfulness day and night,
providing the foundation for us to realize the fruit of meditation.
With one heart, we come home to the Sangha,
and take refuge in the Sangha ever-present.
We, disciples of Gautama Buddha, wholeheartedly pay homage to the Sangha forever present in the three lifetimes and ten directions. (Bell, one prostration)
(Meditation practice around 15 minutes)
The Dharma is deep and lovely,
we now have a chance to see,
study, and to practice,
we vow to realize its true meaning. (Bell)
Thus have I heard. Once the World-Honored One and his Sangha walked calm steps to the Kalamas’ Kesaputta District of Kosala country. When hearing the Buddha’s and his Sangha’s virtue, solemnity, loving-kindness, and compassion energies go to this place, the Kalamas were delighted to gather around, pay homage to the Buddha, the Sangha, and beg to ask the Buddha a few questions of the right confidences as follows:
Respectfully dear the World-Honored One, sometimes there were hermits and wanderers of Brahmanism, coming here to spread their religion, entice us into their religion, promote and glorify the doctrines of their religion uppermost. They regularly despised, scorned, disparaged, and distorted the doctrines of other religions. This issue made us feel hesitant. Among them, who told the truth and who told the untruth? The doctrines of which religion were right and the doctrines of which religion were not right? Who should we follow and who should we not follow? The doctrines of which religion should we follow and the doctrines of which religion should we not follow?”
The Buddha thoughtfully taught: “Kalamas, what you arouse doubt and hesitation has been already obvious. In this case, you should not hurry to believe in anyone and reject the doctrines of which religion when you yourselves do not understand them clearly yet.”
There are the ten right confidences you need to understand clearly as follows: (O)
The Ten Right Confidences
1. Do not hurry to believe in anything whether it is orally transmitted, or it has been acquired by repeated hearing.
2. Do not hurry to believe in anything whether it is a tradition, legend, habit, or a custom.
3. Do not hurry to believe in anything whether it is a report, surmise, or a rumor.
4. Do not hurry to believe in anything whether it is noted in scriptures, or in books.
5. Do not hurry to believe in anything whether it is a conjecture, or a metaphysical theory.
6. Do not hurry to believe in anything whether it is an axiom, or a stance to be deduced.
7. Do not hurry to believe in anything whether it only relies on the viewpoint of bias, or on ambiguous data.
8. Do not hurry to believe in anything whether it is a fixed karma, prejudice, view of permanence, or a view of annihilation.
9. Do not hurry to believe in anything whether it is the menace, brainwashing, or the threatening of a supreme god fabricated, imagined, thought up, and spoken out.
10. Do not hurry to believe in anything whether it is proclaimed by your missionaries, preachers, or teachers.
The Right Confidences Getting Brightened and Comprehended
Kalamas, when you yourselves know clearly: “These things are not good, they are blameworthy, they are despised and criticized by wise people, these things if being performed and accepted, would lead to unhappiness and suffering, then you should strongly abandon them; Greed, anger, and delusion are the unwholesome things; Killing living beings, taking what is not given, living in sexual misconduct and adultery, violating kid’s sexuality, telling lies, taking alcohols, drugs, and toxins are the unwholesome things. When you are dominated and controlled by the unwholesome things, you will certainly get unhappy, suffered, scorned, and reproached.
Conversely, Kalamas, when you yourselves know clearly: These things are good, they are praiseworthy, they are praised and lauded by wise people, these things if being performed and accepted, would lead to peacefulness and happiness, then you should uphold and develop them; non-greed, non-anger, and non-delusion are the wholesome things; Not killing living beings, not taking what is not given, not doing sexual misconduct and adultery, not violating kids’ sexuality, not telling lies, and not taking alcohols, drugs, and toxins are the wholesome things. When you are dominated and controlled by the wholesome things, you will certainly reap the flowers and fruits of peacefulness and happiness, deserve being praised and lauded by wise people.
Kalamas, when the wholesome things are well practiced, greed, anger, and delusion are purified and transformed, Dharma learning, Dharma practice, Dharma understanding, Dharma joy, and Dharma happiness have the ability to permeate and make your bodies and minds cool and gentle. When a holy one dwells stably in right mindfulness and awareness, his loving-kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity have the ability to illuminate anytime and anywhere, embrace all sentient beings and insentient beings. When animosity, bad karma, unhappiness, affliction, and suffering in his mind are ended, right in his present life, he lives very peacefully, and up to when passing away, he will be born in a peaceful realm.
Kalamas, whenever those who say, think, and do an issue, you should not hurry to believe in it, but you should observe, think, contemplate what do they say, what do they think, and what do they do, go together, coincide together, suit together, and benefit yourselves and other people together? If yes, you should be determined to follow, practice, nourish, and develop them. If not, you should strongly let go of them.
Kalamas, the ten right confidences and the wholesome things were taught above by the Tathagata. You should remember and practice them well. Out of peacefulness for the many, out of happiness for the many, you should apply and cultivate the Buddha Dharma in your daily lives to bring the right and stable confidences for yourselves and for other people right here and right now in the present life.
After having heard the Buddha teaching, analyzing, and explaining the right confidences clearly, the Kalamas were extremely happy to respectfully pay homage to the Buddha, and spoke out the meaningful, praiseful, reverential, and metaphorical words as follows:
“How wonderful it is! Respectfully dear the World-Honored One. How marvelous it is! Respectfully dear the Exalted One, the Dharma skillfully proclaimed by the Buddha himself is very practical, present, specific, and clear, has been penetrated deeply into our hearts, made our minds softer, gentler, and better. The Buddha Dharma has opened our minds suddenly brighten up, as a person who erects upright what is fallen down, turns face upward what is overturned, opens out what is closed secretly, reveals what is hidden, shows the way to those who are lost, carries light into the darkness so that those who have eyes can see visible objects in detail. As a person who goes in the dark night meets light. As a blind person, whose eyes get brightened. By many skillful methods of teaching, the World-Honored One has helped us to see everything clearly like daylight.
May the World-Honored One regard and accept us as lay devotees. From now until our whole lives, we are determined to take refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha, and committed to practicing the five Ethical Trainings fully: 1. Respecting lives, developing compassion and loving-kindness, protecting natural environment, and nourishing inner peace by being aware not to kill living beings. 2. Letting go of the stingy and greedy mind, expressing the happy mind of almsgivings, making offerings, and protecting the Triple Gem by being aware not to take what is not given. 3. Building happiness for family, living faithfully with a legal spouse by being aware not to do sexual misconduct, adultery, and not to violate kids’ sexuality. 4. Saying the true, harmonious, and loving speech, bringing mutual trust and prestige for the many by being aware not to tell lies. 5. Protecting vigorous health, lucid mind, bringing peacefulness and happiness for families, schools, and societies by being aware not to take alcohols, drugs, toxins, including smoking, gambling, and playing violent video games online.
After officially becoming the well-trained lay disciples of the Buddha, the Kalamas were extremely happy to hold the stable and right confidences in taking refuge deeply in the Triple Gem, applying, and cultivating the Buddha Dharma in their daily lives to bring benefits and happiness to living beings all over the planet.
Namo the Original Master Sakyamuni Buddhaya
(3 times, Bell)
The Heart Sutra of Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore
Avalokiteshvara, while practicing deeply with the insight that brings us to the other shore, suddenly discovered that all of the five Skandhas are equally empty. After this penetration, he overcame all ill-being. “Listen, Sariputra, this body itself is emptiness, and emptiness itself is this body. This body is not other than emptiness, and emptiness is not other than this body. The same is true of feelings, perceptions, mental formations, and consciousness.
Listen, Sariputra, all phenomena bear the mark of emptiness; their true nature is the nature of no Birth no Death, no Being no Non-being, no Defilement no Immaculacy, no Increasing no Decreasing.
That is why in emptiness, body, feelings, perceptions, mental formations and consciousness are not separate self-entities. The Eighteen Realms of Phenomena which are the six Sense Organs, the six Sense Objects, and the six kinds of Consciousness are also not separate self-entities.
The Twelve Links of Interdependent Arising and their extinction are also not separate self-entities. Ill-being, the Causes of Ill-being, the End of Ill-being, the Path, insight, and attainment, are also not separate self-entities. Whoever can see this no longer needs anything to attain. (Bell)
Bodhisattvas who practice the Insight that brings us to the other shore see no more obstacles in their mind, and because there are no more obstacles in their mind, they can overcome all fear, destroy all wrong perceptions and realize Perfect Nirvana.
All Buddhas in the past, present and future by practicing the insight that brings us to the other shore are all capable of attaining authentic and perfect enlightenment. Therefore, Sariputra, it should be known that the insight that brings us to the other shore is a Great Mantra, the most illuminating mantra, the highest mantra, a mantra beyond compare, the true wisdom that has the power to put an end to all kinds of suffering. Therefore, let us proclaim a mantra to praise the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore.
“Gate, gate, pāragate, pārasamgate, bodhi, svaha.” (Bell)
Gone, gone, well gone, gone beyond the other shore, got enlightenment so happily. (3 times, Bell)
THE THREE REFUGES
I take refuge in the Buddha, the One who shows me the way of loving-kindness, compassion, and wisdom in my lifetime.
Having taken refuge in the Buddha, I clearly see the path of light and beauty in life.
Turning back and taking refuge in the Buddha in myself, I aspire to help all people soon recognize and develop their own enlightened nature.
Buddhaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi
Dutiyampi buddhaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi.
Tatiyampi buddhaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi. (Bell)
I take refuge in the Dharma, the way of practicing peace, joy, happiness, understanding, and love for the many right in the present life.
Having taken refuge in the Dharma, I am learning and practicing the Noble Eightfold Path including virtue, meditation, and wisdom interconnected very closely with right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.
Turning back and taking refuge in the Dharma in myself, I aspire to help all people fully master the ways of practice and walk together on the path of liberation.
Dhammaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi.
Dutiyampi dhammaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi.
Tatiyampi dhammaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi. (Bell)
I take refuge in the Sangha, the Community of cultivated people who vow to lead their lives of ethics, harmony, and awareness to themselves and to others right here and right now in the present life.
Having taken refuge in the Sangha, I am enlightened, instructed, and supported by the Sanghabody on the way of practice.
Turning back and taking refuge in the Sangha in myself, I aspire to help all people build fourfold Communities, to embrace all beings, and support their transformation.
Saṅghaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi.
Dutiyampi saṅghaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi.
Tatiyampi saṅghaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi. (Bell)
Sharing the merit
Reciting the trainings, practicing the way of awareness gives rise to benefits without limit. We vow to share the fruits with all beings. We vow to offer tribute to parents, teachers, friends, and numerous beings who give guidance and support along the path. May the merit of this practice benefit all beings and bring peace. (Bell)
Express diligent vows and pay thankful respects to the Triple Gem
We, disciples of Gautama Buddha, are always aware of ourselves by day and by night, constantly practice and recollect the light of the Buddha. Namo Buddhaya.
(Bell, one prostration)
We, disciples of Gautama Buddha, are always aware of ourselves by day and by night, constantly practice and recollect the light of the Dharma. Namo Dharmaya.
(Bell, one prostration)
We, disciples of Gautama Buddha, are always aware of ourselves by day and by night, constantly practice and recollect the light of the Sangha. Namo Sanghaya.
(Bell, one prostration)
May we be well,
May we be happy
May we be healthy
May we be peaceful
May we be free from suffering, greed, anger, delusion, hatred, violence, and ignorance.
May the Buddha and Bodhisattvas bless and protect all anytime and anywhere.
Sadhu, lành thay, well-done, and Excellence.
(Bell, Bell, Bell)
Compiled and translated by Ven. Thích Trừng Sỹ
 See Anguttara Nikaya, III.65 Kalama Sutta