Doubt

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Doubt (vicikicchà) is the state of being uncertain about something and is often accompanied by feelings of unease and discomfort. Other expressions of doubt are scepticism, mistrust, hesitation and perplexity. In Buddhist psychology doubt is seen as having both negative and positive roles. When doubt about the Dhamma causes wavering, indecisiveness and hesitancy about practising then it is seen as a hindrance (Anguttara Nikaya 1. 61). When it motivates one to seek clarification and to investigate a matter more deeply then it can lead to understanding. When the Kàlàmas told the Buddha that they had doubts about all the different beliefs they were being bombarded with he replied, ‘It is good to doubt, it is good to be undecided about matters that are doubtful’ (Anguttara Nikaya 1. 188).

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