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The Buddha’s Empirically Testable “Ten Criteria” Challenges the Authenticity of Truth Claims: A Critical Review and Its Potential Applicability to Debunking the Various Post-Truths

by Jay J. Choi 1,* and B. Hyun Choo 2
1
Independent Scholar, Fort Lee, NJ 07024, USA
2
Asian and Asian-American Studies, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Religions 2019, 10(12), 645; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10120645
Received: 31 July 2019 / Revised: 2 November 2019 / Accepted: 21 November 2019 / Published: 22 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buddhism in Modernity: Thriving or Threatened?)
Modern readers who investigate religious theories and practices are exposed to diverse truth claims and worldviews. Such claims are often conflicting and subject the readers to various misconceptions and misguidance. In Buddhism, the Buddha is said to have awakened to the true nature of existence and attained final liberation from suffering, referred to as “enlightenment.” How was he able to convince his disciples of his self-claimed enlightenment? Can his reasoning be applied to modern readers, who are well-educated, but overloaded with the incessant proliferation of digital information? The Buddha, specifically in the Kālāma Sutta, presents empirically testable guidelines, termed the “Ten Criteria,” which were formulated as an integrated interplay of reasoning and morality. This essay examines the Buddha’s strategy, which is empirical and pragmatic in nature and embraces the fundamental principles of modern science. We contend that his proposed methodology is verifiably evocative of a moral discipline, while presenting a pedagogical approach to the teacher–student dynamic. Serving as a reference point, this view may help modern readers in differentiating the right truth from the biased post-truths, which appeal to emotion and personal belief. View Full-Text
Keywords: The Buddha’s “Ten Criteria”; Kālāma Sutta; Ehipassiko; empiricism; pragmatism; Four Reliances; Four Assurances; Pascal’s Wager; post-truth The Buddha’s “Ten Criteria”; Kālāma Sutta; Ehipassiko; empiricism; pragmatism; Four Reliances; Four Assurances; Pascal’s Wager; post-truth
MDPI and ACS Style

Choi, J.J.; Choo, B.H. The Buddha’s Empirically Testable “Ten Criteria” Challenges the Authenticity of Truth Claims: A Critical Review and Its Potential Applicability to Debunking the Various Post-Truths. Religions 2019, 10, 645.

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