Many people are either deluded or unable to reason correctly. But worse still are those who take irrational reasoning as the truth. They may be attached to unorthodox teachings or destructive practices, both of which have detrimental consequences. Consider the following examples of irrational reasoning:
Once, a teacher caught his student cheating in an exam and said, “I am warning you now! You have peeked at your neighbor’s answers three times already.”
The student replied, “Teacher, don’t blame me, you should blame him instead. His handwriting is too small and scribbled. Otherwise, I would have just looked once!” It is incredible that this student could utter a statement of such distorted reasoning. Deviant rationale is a frightening thing.
A motorcyclist ran a red light and was stopped by a police officer. The police officer asked him, “Why did you run the red light? Didn’t you see that the traffic light had turned red?”
The man explained, “Sir, I did see the red light, but I did not see you there!” What daring and deviant reasoning!
A grandfather once slapped his grandson because he was being naughty. His son saw this and felt unhappy about it, so he slapped himself right away. The grandfather asked the father, “Why did you hit yourself?”
The father replied, “You slapped my son, so I slapped your son, too!” It is really incredible that someone could reason in this manner.
There was a thief who stole three thousand dollars from someone and was subsequently caught. His victim scolded, “How could you steal my money?”
The thief retorted, “You had five-thousand dollars in your wallet, and I only took three thousand. Aren’t you being too petty?”
Distorted reasoning and deviant rationale can be dangerous. Buddhism teaches the truth, and the truth must satisfy certain requirements in order to qualify as the truth. The validity and reasonableness of a saying or a situation, depends on if it is universal, certain, equal, and timeless. If it satisfies all of these conditions, then it is the Truth. Otherwise, it is distorted reasoning and deviant rationale. If we were to use distorted reasoning and deviant rationale, others would not tolerate us for long. We should all keep this in mind!