We Should Be Able to Question Anything…

5 Mar


Recently in a Dharma discussion, a friend proclaimed that, “The Buddha had said that all of us have the right to question anything…”

That didn’t sound quite right to me and so my mind race to find a rebuttal. I didn’t dare object something that was proclaimed by the Buddha. So, I said, “Yes, but we have to be careful with our line of questioning because questioning too much could lead us towards doubts.”

When I said that, she frown and said, “I don’t agree with that! I don’t agree with anything that stops me from questioning.”

I was appalled when she said that but I could not deny what she was saying either. In this day and age, faith is born from science and what we can perceive by our senses more than what we can glean from the divine wisdom of great masters. That night, the whole scenario played out in mind over and over again. I was thinking of a better explanation to what I had said. Then, it dawned on me… Did the Buddha really ask us to question everything? That sounds like the Buddha wants us to challenge his teachings. Then, I recalled something Rinpoche had explained to me before and that was the Buddha had told us not to take his teachings on face value but to test it out and see if it works for us. Now, that is to test out the teachings based on our honest experience of it and come to an honest conclusion and to me that was not an open invitation for people to challenge his teachings.

However, we can definitely question or challenge the Buddha’s teachings from any standpoint and angle. However, we have to be careful of the intent of questioning. I recall that questioning/challenging can lead us towards developing more doubts because we are merely looking for faults or it could lead us towards increasing our faith. The determining factor is our intention and our receptivity to the truth. I was like… Damn! I should have collected my thoughts better and come up with this explanation that day. Anyway, I am sharing it here with the hopes to benefit those who read my blog.

2 Responses to “We Should Be Able to Question Anything…”

  1. Andre April 23, 2014 at 10:37 pm #

    Thanks David for your answer. As you so eloquently explained, it seems that the Buddha taught us to live experiences for ourselves so that we can learn and know instead of have blind faith. I love it.

    Thank you,


  2. sweekeong July 11, 2014 at 12:14 am #

    I fully agreed that questioning can definitely create more doubt in certain situations than others. It could show that we don’t have confidence and trust in others or ourselves, in our abilities or whatever.

    The respond from your friend indicates that she don’t even want the questioning thought to be questioned! It’s kind of irony. If we hold that we should be able to question ‘everything’ than even questioning itself should be questioned.

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