What is the test of truth? The Buddha offers a simple formula: Test things in terms of cause and effect. Whatever is unskillful, leading to harm and ill, should be abandoned; whatever is skillful, leading to happiness and peace, should be pursued. Apply the test of skillfulness to all teachings in all your actions. Where is this teaching taking you? Is it moving you in a direction that is wise and kind? One quick test isn’t enough, you know.

You have to keep at it, so that your sensitivity to the results of your actions grows more and more refined with practice. When you’ve done the hard work of asking these questions, then you can decide for yourself whether a teaching, or a teacher, is worth following. And at the same time, you’ve also taught yourself how to live—a learning that can bring with it joy and the energy to go even deeper.

– Larry Rosenberg, from “The Right to Ask Questions,” Tricycle, Fall 2003

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Read the full article:

The Right to Ask Questions

Temple
Dharma to your inbox

Sign up for Tricycle’s newsletters

Thank you for subscribing to Tricycle! As a nonprofit, to keep Buddhist teachings and practices widely available.

Liberate this article!

You’ve read all five of your free articles for the month. Subscribe now for immediate access to the magazine plus films, video dharma talks, e-books, and more.

Subscribe Now

Already a subscriber? Log in.