It is proper for you, Kalamas, to doubt, to be uncertain; uncertainty has arisen in you about what is doubtful. Come, Kalamas. Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; nor upon tradition; nor upon rumor; nor upon what is in a scripture; nor upon surmise; nor upon an axiom; nor upon specious reasoning; nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over; nor upon another’s seeming ability; nor upon the consideration, ‘The monk is our teacher.’ Kalamas, when you yourselves know: ‘These things are bad; these things are blamable; these things are censured by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to harm and ill,’ abandon them.
-from the Kalama Sutta
As far as I know, this Sutta from the Buddha is unique among religion in that it asks the disciples to question their teaching and not accept his words on faith alone. Of course, on inspection, there is very little in the Buddha’s Dharma that I have trouble accepting. I’ve been told there are a few sort of strange Sutta about the Buddha conversing with Brahma or similar things, but I haven’t personally come across those yet. And over 2500 years later, there’s reasonable questionability as to exactly what the Buddha did or didn’t say.
Ironically, as I’m sitting writing this, my Korea mother-in-law is on the phone telling my wife that early tomorrow morning we have to put a bowl of sea-weed soup over our daughter’s head (it’s her second birthday tomorrow) so that the Mountain Grandmother will watch over her for another year. I’m still really not sure how to take these things. My doubt is exactly described in the Buddha’s words, but who am I to say what it, or that my wife shouldn’t follow her customs, if she chooses?