Does the Kalama Sutta mean anyone can make up their own rules and call it Buddhism?
In the Kalama Sutta, Buddha asks His disciples to examine all religions and then choose the religion that is most suitable for them, and the world in general. But that does NOT mean Buddha says that anyone can do anything they please, and pass it off as Buddhism.
“Every Buddhist sect has rules, scriptures, traditions and practices that are sacrosanct. Buddhists do NOT have leeway or the right to make up their own sutras”
While the Kalama Sutta is popular with "Western Buddhists" as a free-pass to do whatever they want and call it Buddhism, it is NOT a cardinal sutra or the main text of ANY Buddhist tradition or sect in the world. Furthermore, it does NOT give Buddhists the right to make up their own Buddhism -- only encourages them to investigate all religions (and then choose Buddhism). Hence, Buddha gives us freedom of choice to choose Buddhism, but not freedom of composition to conjure up our own Buddhist sutras.
Buddhists MUST follow the Sutras of their respective sect
Buddhism is based on key sutras or scriptures and the most Cardinal sutras have strong endorsements from Buddha that anyone who "reads, recites, treasures, believes, propagates and promotes this sutra will surely be blessed with great merit and enlightenment".
This proves that holy Buddhist texts are venerated and have been for centuries. Therefore, Buddhists are NOT ALLOWED to make up their own nonsense and call it Buddhism. Think about that -- what is to stop a serial killer from saying killing is a part of Buddhism? Or what will stop an alcoholic from saying intoxication is the way to enlightenment? The Kalama Sutta is a NON-IMPORTANT sutra that was popularized by the hippies during the Vietnam era, as a way to misrepresent Buddha as allowing anyone, to do whatever they like, and make up their own Buddhism, instead of honouring Buddha's words. But in reality, in ASIAN Buddhism the way it is practiced authentically in ALL ASIAN NATIONS, we do NOT go against the teachings of the Buddha, but treat certain Cardinal or Vaipulya sutras as SACROSANCT and authoritative -- not to be contaminated or misrepresented. Anyone who disregards the Buddhist sutras of his or her sect can never be a Buddhist. Each sect will list its Cardinal Sutras -- none of them will list Kalama Sutta as a major authority in any school of Buddhism. If you are not sure which sutras or scriptures are the most important, contact us with information about your tradition or temple. and we will recommend the sutras accordingly. Truth Matters. Be Authentic, not wishy-washy when it comes to Dharma.