Check yourself (before you wreck yourself)
The Buddha made this statement, encouraging students to verify the Dharma for themselves. It is not enough just to accept the Buddha’s words out of respect for him. We must test them for ourselves. The Buddha said:
Just as a goldsmith would test his gold by burning, cutting and rubbing it, so must you examine my words and accept them, not merely out of reverence for me.
In the same way, Buddhist teachers will encourage students to “check for yourself”. Like the Buddha, they are asking us to look to our own personal experience, to look at our own mind and thoughts, and to compare them against the Buddha’s teachings. Are they aligned with what the Buddha described, or can we find something that will challenge the Dharma?
Buddhism uses logical reasoning to establish and defend views and concepts. Debate typically involves three steps:
- Refute alternatives thesis through logical reasoning. This establishes a gap in current thinking.
- Establish a new thesis based on logical reasoning. The establishes a new way of thinking.
- Defend the new thesis from counter arguments. This dispels doubts in the minds of others.