Kill the Buddha- save the world

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Re: Kill the Buddha- save the world

Postby Nyana » Fri Apr 27, 2012 2:12 am

Ben wrote:Can you explain what you mean by "faith"?

I think there's already been quite a bit written about this topic by authors such as Ven. Bodhi. I recognize that it's something of a hot-button issue for some people Ben, and I'm not sure that there's much I can add except to suggest that there is a whole spectrum of reasonable, intelligent saddhā that doesn't resort to what is pejoratively referred to as "blind faith," but is still faith in something which is beyond the sphere of certain confirmation via our current perceptions. Primarily, faith requires believing in the awakening of the Buddha. SN 55.37:

    "In what way, venerable sir, is a lay follower accomplished in faith?"

    "Here, Mahānāma, a lay follower is a person of faith. He places faith in the enlightenment of the Tathāgata thus: 'The Blessed One is ... teacher of devas and humans, the Enlightened One, the Blessed One.' In that way a lay follower is accomplished in faith."

And faith in the Tathāgata is connected to hearing the dhamma; i.e. it's not something that we can confirm with our worldly perceptions. MN 112:

    Friends, formerly when I lived the home life I was ignorant. Then the Tathāgata or his disciple taught me the Dhamma. On hearing the Dhamma I acquired faith in the Tathāgata.

Also, it's only with the attainment of stream-entry that one's faith becomes confirmed, unshakable confidence (aveccapassāda). Until this noble stage is attained, not only are we are going to have to deal with the fetter of doubt, we are going to have to continually seek refuge in an authority that is more reliable than our own deluded perceptions.
Last edited by Nyana on Fri Apr 27, 2012 2:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Kill the Buddha- save the world

Postby danieLion » Fri Apr 27, 2012 2:27 am

For most of us Westerners this is the strongest power—the strongest obstacle in our practice—that wish for things to be other than they are. And we use the practice sometimes to reinforce that habit. This is why there came a time in my practice when I said, ‘Forget about Buddhism, forget about the Buddha, forget about the nuns—forget about everything. Just drop it and pretend there’s nothing there.’ That’s been the most extraordinary, liberating experience….

If you see the Buddha, kill the Buddha. That’s exactly what it is [giggling]. If you see the practice, kill the practice. If you hold onto the practice too tight, just kill it.


Ajahn Sundara, The Way Things Should Be, Part 1. 16:21-17:15 (http://forestsanghapublications.org/viewTalk.php?id=385)
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Re: Kill the Buddha- save the world

Postby Nyana » Fri Apr 27, 2012 2:33 am

danieLion wrote:
If you hold onto the practice too tight, just kill it.


Ajahn Sundara, The Way Things Should Be, Part 1. 16:21-17:15 (http://forestsanghapublications.org/viewTalk.php?id=385)

Of course holding too tight is counterproductive. This truism also includes holding tightly to aversion towards faith and faith-based practices.
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Re: Kill the Buddha- save the world

Postby danieLion » Fri Apr 27, 2012 5:50 am

[Amaro paraphrasing a Chinese Buddhist Abbot of a monastery in Californian during his talk at an inter-faith gathering the Abbot's monastery] ‘The whole point is not how right we are or how strong our faith is in what we know, but how much we can trust that certainty. If our faith in that is complete we’ll be able to be in harmony with others; if our faith in that is not complete then we need to defend ourselves against others because others are a threat; and if others are not a threat, then we don’t need to defend ourselves and so there’s a quality of human friendliness and warmth….

What we’re trying to do as Buddhists is not to promote Buddhism—that’s not our goal. We’re Buddhists, but we’re not trying to promote Buddhism. What we’re trying to promote is human virtue…, goodness….’

The Dalai Lama said exactly the same thing when it was proposed to him that the fundamental duty of Buddhists was to spread the Buddha-dhamma. He said, ‘No! That absolutely wrong.’ The audience looked shocked. He said, ‘That’s absolutely wrong view. We’re not here to promote Buddha-dhamma. What we’re trying to do is promote compassion and kindness. That’s our first duty as Buddhists.’ Buddhism comes second. Kindness and compassion comes first. I think in that spirit…, if that priority is there, then our Buddhism will flourish and we’ll actually be practicing Buddhism in a much more complete and full way than if we’re kind of waving our Buddhist flag furiously and using that as a kind of identity, just a thing that we want…and makes us feel secure just because we belong to something. It’s just like supporting the Liverpool Football Club or the Labour Party, or whoever…. A true religion needs to be something more than just a tribe that we belong to.

Ajahn Amaro, The Unity of All Religions 13:14-15:46 (http://forestsanghapublications.org/vie ... hp?id=1058)
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Re: Kill the Buddha- save the world

Postby Ben » Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:15 am

Thanks Geoff,
Ñāṇa wrote:
Ben wrote:Can you explain what you mean by "faith"?

I think there's already been quite a bit written about this topic by authors such as Ven. Bodhi. I recognize that it's something of a hot-button issue for some people Ben, and I'm not sure that there's much I can add except to suggest that there is a whole spectrum of reasonable, intelligent saddhā that doesn't resort to what is pejoratively referred to as "blind faith," but is still faith in something which is beyond the sphere of certain confirmation via our current perceptions. Primarily, faith requires believing in the awakening of the Buddha. SN 55.37:

    "In what way, venerable sir, is a lay follower accomplished in faith?"

    "Here, Mahānāma, a lay follower is a person of faith. He places faith in the enlightenment of the Tathāgata thus: 'The Blessed One is ... teacher of devas and humans, the Enlightened One, the Blessed One.' In that way a lay follower is accomplished in faith."

And faith in the Tathāgata is connected to hearing the dhamma; i.e. it's not something that we can confirm with our worldly perceptions. MN 112:

    Friends, formerly when I lived the home life I was ignorant. Then the Tathāgata or his disciple taught me the Dhamma. On hearing the Dhamma I acquired faith in the Tathāgata.

Also, it's only with the attainment of stream-entry that one's faith becomes confirmed, unshakable confidence (aveccapassāda). Until this noble stage is attained, not only are we are going to have to deal with the fetter of doubt, we are going to have to continually seek refuge in an authority that is more reliable than our own deluded perceptions.


My reason for asking is to find out exactly what you mean when you use the word "faith". The term is subject to overlays of meanings. So it is good to know what it refers when you use the term rather than what is not meant. Having said that, I hope to provide a more substantial response later.
kind regards,

Ben
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Re: Kill the Buddha- save the world

Postby danieLion » Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:38 am

Holding to a view, then you’re bound; you’re limited by that very thing that you’re grasping. So in awakened awareness there’s no grasping; it’s a simple, immanent act of being here—patient. It takes patience—and trust—and learning to trust that in yourself…. Nobody can make you do it or magically…do it for you. It’s the sense of trusting this moment.

During my own practices I realized I’m a skeptical mind. I’m a questioner, a doubter, a skeptic by nature…. I don’t believe easily. I tend to dis-believe or suspect. I’m suspicious of things…. This condition we have to live with can be pretty unpleasant and because of that we’d like to believe in something and just kind of rest in a belief that we’re fully committed to….

We’re going beyond dualistic structures of thought and conditioned phenomena. Our refuge is in the deathless, the unconditioned—in the dhamma—rather than someone’s view about dhamma. To do this takes a sense of trusting in the awakeness of the moment.

And test it out….

Our refuge is in the awareness rather than making a big deal about the perception, because we all have views and opinions…. We all have strong feelings…, doubts…. So whatever you’re experiencing, trust in the awareness of it, rather than endlessly trying to figure it out….

Awareness doesn’t take sides. It’s not ‘for’ or ‘against’…. It will hold these things; it will embrace them. So, that’s why it is a refuge. You can trust it. If you’re taking sides, you can’t trust that….

If we’re emotionally attached to the way we do things..., we’re threatened by anyone who questions that. I’ve found in my own life that whenever I get upset [because] somebody starts criticizing Theravada Buddhism, or our sangha, or the way we do things…(I’ve been a monk for thirty-six years!), or someone says, ‘There’s a better way to do it,’ [I’ll say], ‘It can’t be! You’ve got to ordain and spend at least thirty-six years of dedicated practice to get where I’m at.’ So that’s a personality, isn’t it? The personality: committed, attached, identified with it. Can’t trust that—at all. I wouldn’t trust it for anything (laughs).

I do trust awareness.


Ajahn Sumedho, Awakened Awareness And Saying Goodbye 14:09-15:55, 41:48-42:33, 46:00-46:44, 48:15-48:40, 51:59-53:25 (http://forestsanghapublications.org/viewTalk.php?id=541)
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Re: Kill the Buddha- save the world

Postby m0rl0ck » Fri Apr 27, 2012 11:52 am

I have always liked Mark Twains definition of faith:

Faith is believing what you know ain't so.
Joshu was asked,
"When a man comes to you with nothing,
what would you say to him ?"
Joshu replied, "Throw it away!"
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Re: Kill the Buddha- save the world

Postby Viscid » Fri Apr 27, 2012 4:35 pm

The problem is that we've learned the word 'faith' first in the context of Christianity, so we associate it with an irrational belief in God. There's quite a difference between Christian 'faith' and Buddhist 'faith.' Christian faith is nearly its own end-- redemption is a direct result of having faith in Jesus Christ. Buddhist 'faith' is the initial and ongoing motivation for a slow process of change from within the individual.. a realization that change needs to occur and that practice in accordance to the Dhamma of the Buddha is capable of bringing it about.

nana wrote:one has to at the very least tacitly accept the premise that craving sensual pleasure, craving existence, and craving non-existence is the origin of suffering, in order to be willing to begin to abandon habitual actions, and so on. This is no small thing.


santa quoting bodhi wrote:as we apply ourselves to the practice of his path, we find that our defilements gradually lessen, that wholesome qualities increase, and with this comes a growing sense of freedom, peace and joy. This experience confirms our initial trust, disposing us to advance a few steps further.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: Kill the Buddha- save the world

Postby manas » Fri Apr 27, 2012 9:49 pm

If we make decisions based on the notion that our thoughts, words and actions will have kammic consequences in the future, and if we base that on "well the Buddha has been correct about so many other things, maybe he is right about this one, too - maybe the sutta recorders have indeed accurately handed down this doctrine. I'm not 100% certain yet, not having seen it directly, but I had better live my life as though it were, and make decisions accordingly" - then yes, we are exercising a measure of what I would call informed faith. Not blind. Based on my experience of the Dhamma working for me thus far, and on the fact that men and women of great virtue. calm and insight (various advanced practitioners I have met over the years) also live their lives as though the law of kamma & rebirth according to kamma is real (whether or not they have seen it in operation directly as yet). I don't feel like a supertitious ninny for this.

So if I (or some others I suspect) take issue with Harris, it is on this idea: that we could completely dispense with faith, and still be practising the Dhamma. I'm not so sure about that (unless one has higher powers and has directly seen the faring-on of beings according to kamma - not many have done so nowdays afaik). I sense that this flows from the modern-day subconscious deification of science as the highest authority in matters of truth. While science does have it's place and usefulness, there are some questions it cannot answer - and maybe never will. I'm not saying throw out science, no; I'm just pointing out a prejudice that might be influencing Harris' view on faith (ie, seeing it as totally unneccessary).

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Re: Kill the Buddha- save the world

Postby danieLion » Sat Apr 28, 2012 1:43 am

Nana,
The Buddha taught that pasada/conviction--"faith" is the worst possible translation--as a sufficient but not necessary condition to fabricate The Path. I never said I don't have pasada--everyone has at least some "faith," otherwise one could not even start walking The Path. The "aversion" you imagine I have to pasada is creative but completely off the mark, and it's not clear what you mean by "aversion". The Buddha was clearly aversive to stupidity. I'm merely following his example.
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Re: Kill the Buddha- save the world

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Apr 28, 2012 2:03 am

Well, of course, translation is a problem with many of these Pali terms. In the case of pasada one could argue that "faith" presses some unfortunate buttons, but personally I think "conviction" is a rather wimpy way to describe the determination one needs in the face adversity. ("I'll just do what I'm convinced about...").

There are, of course, similar problems with nibbida, where "disgust" is perhaps too strong, but "disenchanted" is a bit wimpy...
http://archive.thebuddhadharma.com/issu ... all03l.htm

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Re: Kill the Buddha- save the world

Postby Nyana » Sat Apr 28, 2012 2:31 am

danieLion wrote:Nana,
The Buddha taught that pasada/conviction--"faith" is the worst possible translation--as a sufficient but not necessary condition to fabricate The Path. I never said I don't have pasada--everyone has at least some "faith," otherwise one could not even start walking The Path.

You could read this post where you will see that I have clearly differentiated saddhā and aveccapassāda.

danieLion wrote:"faith" is the worst possible translation....

I think it's a fine translation of saddhā. When I look into my heart it's the most accurate English term for the saddhā I experience.

danieLion wrote:... as a sufficient but not necessary condition to fabricate The Path.

Saddhā is necessary. It is one of the five faculties (indriya) and one of the five strengths (bala) which are requisites of awakening (bodhipakkhiyā dhammā).

danieLion wrote:...it's not clear what you mean by "aversion".

Well, it seems that faith is some sort of bugaboo for you.

danieLion wrote:The Buddha was clearly aversive to stupidity. I'm merely following his example.

Like I've said, I have faith in the three jewels. Devotion as well. So let me ask you: Do you think that's stupid?
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Re: Kill the Buddha- save the world

Postby polarbuddha101 » Sat Apr 28, 2012 6:27 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
danieLion wrote:Nana,
The Buddha taught that pasada/conviction--"faith" is the worst possible translation--as a sufficient but not necessary condition to fabricate The Path. I never said I don't have pasada--everyone has at least some "faith," otherwise one could not even start walking The Path.

You could read this post where you will see that I have clearly differentiated saddhā and aveccapassāda.

danieLion wrote:"faith" is the worst possible translation....

I think it's a fine translation of saddhā. When I look into my heart it's the most accurate English term for the saddhā I experience.

danieLion wrote:... as a sufficient but not necessary condition to fabricate The Path.

Saddhā is necessary. It is one of the five faculties (indriya) and one of the five strengths (bala) which are requisites of awakening (bodhipakkhiyā dhammā).

danieLion wrote:...it's not clear what you mean by "aversion".

Well, it seems that faith is some sort of bugaboo for you.

danieLion wrote:The Buddha was clearly aversive to stupidity. I'm merely following his example.

Like I've said, I have faith in the three jewels. Devotion as well. So let me ask you: Do you think that's stupid?


Hi Nana, I've noticed that engaging in what appears to be semantics in a two language context where one of those languages is essentially dead is rather complicated. But still, I digress, what about confidence as saddha. The way you conceive of the term Faith is different than the way I do. Faith to me sounds like it's waiting for a gust of wind to topple it, like its up on stilts whereas confidence comes across me as a more grounded word, resolute, determined. Faith gives the connotation that one would just accept certain claims without feeling they would ever test them or realize them whereas confidence sounds like the word to use when saying I am going to realize this, whatever it is. Now this is just the way my brain processes that word as a concept, so my question to you is why do you choose faith as the translation as opposed to confidence, what do you feel it is in the word faith that makes it more fitting?
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: Kill the Buddha- save the world

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Apr 28, 2012 6:51 am

polarbuddha101 wrote:But still, I digress, what about confidence as saddha. The way you conceive of the term Faith is different than the way I do. Faith to me sounds like it's waiting for a gust of wind to topple it, like its up on stilts whereas confidence comes across me as a more grounded word, resolute, determined.

As I indicated, I think it's opposite. I would have complete confidence in something if I had verified it. I take on faith that the Buddha achieved full awakening and that it such awakening is possible. I have definitely not verified that by experience.

I do have confidence that following the path makes my life better. I've verified that much. But "making my life better" is a long way from full awakening, and could have been achieved by innumerable methods.

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Re: Kill the Buddha- save the world

Postby polarbuddha101 » Sat Apr 28, 2012 7:04 am

mikenz66 wrote:
polarbuddha101 wrote:But still, I digress, what about confidence as saddha. The way you conceive of the term Faith is different than the way I do. Faith to me sounds like it's waiting for a gust of wind to topple it, like its up on stilts whereas confidence comes across me as a more grounded word, resolute, determined.

As I indicated, I think it's opposite. I would have complete confidence in something if I had verified it. I take on faith that the Buddha achieved full awakening and that it such awakening is possible. I have definitely not verified that by experience.

I do have confidence that following the path makes my life better. I've verified that much. But "making my life better" is a long way from full awakening, and could have been achieved by innumerable methods.

:anjali:
Mike


right, but do you have confidence that you will realize in this lifetime your greatest potential "goal" (in the dhamma) by following the Buddha's teachings so skillfully that you'll either attain full unbinding/awakening or you'll come to the realization that what you were looking for doesn't exist. Do you have confidence in yourself to utterly break down the path of the Dhamma to the point where you don't follow the Buddha anymore, you've realized for yourself. That is confidence, and its faith, but its grounded in determination and resolution. Are you out to conclusively and decisively reach the end or finish the race do you have the confidence to get yourself to do it? That's why confidence sounds more intense to me, because it is resolute faith, it is determined to reach the finish (even if that means letting go, the finish is just metaphorical) Anyway, that is just the way that the concept of confidence comes to mind and it seems to provide a better attitude to scaffold the mind onto (taking into account the meaning of determination, resolve and effort in a buddhist context of course)

In short, do you have confidence in your capability to verify the buddha's teachings in such a way that in your mind you Will realize them?

you see what i mean, confidence is just a stronger word
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: Kill the Buddha- save the world

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Apr 28, 2012 7:08 am

Greetings,

Faith may mean simply that one trusts that something is good.

:candle:

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Re: Kill the Buddha- save the world

Postby polarbuddha101 » Sat Apr 28, 2012 7:21 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Faith may mean simply that one trusts that something is good.

:candle:

Metta,
Retro. :)


Yeah, thats totally an accurate definition of faith, because it's the trusting that makes it faith. Faith is trust and confidence is just a more hyped up version. When I talked about confidence I was talking more about confidence in oneself to realize the full extent of the goodness, to taste the final fruit of that faith or trust

True Confidence in onerself + faith in the value and wisdom of dhamma = full attainment of fruit

and that's why I like the word confidence because consolidates faith into determined action

anyway though, can saddha even be translated as confidence, i don't know any pali words accept anicca, dukkha, anatta :alien:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: Kill the Buddha- save the world

Postby santa100 » Sat Apr 28, 2012 3:28 pm

I never doubt the Buddha's wisdom and His enlightenment nor doubting the potential for awakening in myself and other people. But just like anything else in life, the potential for awakening could only be transformed into real fruit depended directly upon how much effort one is willing to put into making it happen. And this is the area where I don't have 100% confidence in: whether I'll have the strongest determination to put in all of my effort and time single-mindedly for this objective. Remember the Buddha didn't have any secret formula or quick shortcut to reach enlightenment. His "secret formula" was simple: utmost effort and perseverance. Unfortunately for us mortals, this plain simple truth is also the most difficult one to carry out. So bottom line is, "faith" in the Buddha, or the Dhamma, or the Sangha isn't the question. The right question should be: do you have faith in "yourself"? And the individual will need to work hard on it to find out..
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Re: Kill the Buddha- save the world

Postby Nyana » Sat Apr 28, 2012 5:10 pm

polarbuddha101 wrote:what about confidence as saddha.

Well, there are at least three Pāli terms that require translation here: saddhā, pasāda, and aveccapassāda. Ven. Ñāṇatiloka touches upon all three terms in his Buddhist Dictionary:

    A Buddhist is said to have faith if "he believes in the Perfect One's (the Buddha's) Enlightenment" (M 53; A.V, 2), or in the Three Jewels (s. ti-ratana), by taking his refuge in them (s. ti-sarana). His faith, however, should be "reasoned and rooted in understanding" (ākāravatā saddhā dassanamūlika; M. 47), and he is asked to investigate and test the object of his faith (M. 47, 95). A Buddhist's faith is not in conflict with the spirit of inquiry, and "doubt about dubitable things" (A. II, 65; S. XLII, 13) is admitted and inquiry into them is encouraged. The 'faculty of faith' (saddhindriya) should be balanced with that of wisdom (paññindriya; s. indriya-samatta). It is said: "A monk who has understanding, establishes his faith in accordance with that understanding" (S. XLVIII, 45). Through wisdom and understanding, faith becomes an inner certainty and firm conviction based on one's own experience.

    Faith is called the seed (Sn. v. 77) of all wholesome states because, according to commentarial explanations, it inspires the mind with confidence (okappana, pasāda) and determination (adhimokkha), for 'launching out' (pakkhandhana; s. M. 122) to cross the flood of samsāra.

    Unshakable faith is attained on reaching the first stage of holiness, 'stream-entry' (sotāpatti, s. ariyapuggala), when the fetter of sceptical doubt (vicikicchā; s. samyojana) is eliminated. Unshakable confidence (avecca-pasāda) in the Three Jewels is one of the characteristic qualities of the Stream-winner (sotāpannassa angāni, q.v.).

polarbuddha101 wrote:The way you conceive of the term Faith is different than the way I do. Faith to me sounds like it's waiting for a gust of wind to topple it, like its up on stilts whereas confidence comes across me as a more grounded word, resolute, determined. Faith gives the connotation that one would just accept certain claims without feeling they would ever test them or realize them whereas confidence sounds like the word to use when saying I am going to realize this, whatever it is. Now this is just the way my brain processes that word as a concept, so my question to you is why do you choose faith as the translation as opposed to confidence, what do you feel it is in the word faith that makes it more fitting?

I agree with Mike for the reasons already given. Some things -- like the Buddha's awakening -- aren't available for verification via direct perception. Also, for the Buddhist path to be optimally effective, it requires the development of both cognitive and affective qualities. Otherwise, practice is just a barren head trip with little power to transform one's life to the extent necessary for the radical process of Buddhist awakening.

Ven. Bodhi has some very insightful things to say on this subject. For example, in Going for Refuge & Taking the Precepts he offers the following:

    Like any other act of consciousness the going for refuge is a complex process made up of many factors. These factors can be classified by way of three basic faculties: intelligence, volition, and emotion....

    The third aspect of going for refuge is the emotional. While going for refuge requires more than emotional fervour, it also cannot come to full fruition without the inspiring upward pull of the emotions. The emotions entering into the refuge act are principally three: confidence, reverence, and love. Confidence (pasada) is a feeling of serene trust in the protective power of the refuge-objects, based on a clear understanding of their qualities and functions. Confidence gives rise to reverence (garava), a sense of awe, esteem, and veneration born from a growing awareness of the sublime and lofty nature of the Triple Gem. Yet this reverence does not remain cool, formal, and aloof. As we experience the transforming effect of the Dhamma on our life, reverence awakens (pema). Love adds the element of warmth and vitality to the spiritual life. It kindles the flame of devotion, coming to expression in acts of dedicated service by which we seek to extend the protective and liberative capacity of the threefold refuge to others.

This skillful affect doesn't necessarily come easily. For some of us it's been informed by long nights sitting with the clouds of doubt and disquiet in silent retreat.
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Re: Kill the Buddha- save the world

Postby polarbuddha101 » Sat Apr 28, 2012 6:55 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
polarbuddha101 wrote:what about confidence as saddha.

Well, there are at least three Pāli terms that require translation here: saddhā, pasāda, and aveccapassāda. Ven. Ñāṇatiloka touches upon all three terms in his Buddhist Dictionary:

    A Buddhist is said to have faith if "he believes in the Perfect One's (the Buddha's) Enlightenment" (M 53; A.V, 2), or in the Three Jewels (s. ti-ratana), by taking his refuge in them (s. ti-sarana). His faith, however, should be "reasoned and rooted in understanding" (ākāravatā saddhā dassanamūlika; M. 47), and he is asked to investigate and test the object of his faith (M. 47, 95). A Buddhist's faith is not in conflict with the spirit of inquiry, and "doubt about dubitable things" (A. II, 65; S. XLII, 13) is admitted and inquiry into them is encouraged. The 'faculty of faith' (saddhindriya) should be balanced with that of wisdom (paññindriya; s. indriya-samatta). It is said: "A monk who has understanding, establishes his faith in accordance with that understanding" (S. XLVIII, 45). Through wisdom and understanding, faith becomes an inner certainty and firm conviction based on one's own experience.

    Faith is called the seed (Sn. v. 77) of all wholesome states because, according to commentarial explanations, it inspires the mind with confidence (okappana, pasāda) and determination (adhimokkha), for 'launching out' (pakkhandhana; s. M. 122) to cross the flood of samsāra.

    Unshakable faith is attained on reaching the first stage of holiness, 'stream-entry' (sotāpatti, s. ariyapuggala), when the fetter of sceptical doubt (vicikicchā; s. samyojana) is eliminated. Unshakable confidence (avecca-pasāda) in the Three Jewels is one of the characteristic qualities of the Stream-winner (sotāpannassa angāni, q.v.).

polarbuddha101 wrote:The way you conceive of the term Faith is different than the way I do. Faith to me sounds like it's waiting for a gust of wind to topple it, like its up on stilts whereas confidence comes across me as a more grounded word, resolute, determined. Faith gives the connotation that one would just accept certain claims without feeling they would ever test them or realize them whereas confidence sounds like the word to use when saying I am going to realize this, whatever it is. Now this is just the way my brain processes that word as a concept, so my question to you is why do you choose faith as the translation as opposed to confidence, what do you feel it is in the word faith that makes it more fitting?

I agree with Mike for the reasons already given. Some things -- like the Buddha's awakening -- aren't available for verification via direct perception. Also, for the Buddhist path to be optimally effective, it requires the development of both cognitive and affective qualities. Otherwise, practice is just a barren head trip with little power to transform one's life to the extent necessary for the radical process of Buddhist awakening.

Ven. Bodhi has some very insightful things to say on this subject. For example, in Going for Refuge & Taking the Precepts he offers the following:

    Like any other act of consciousness the going for refuge is a complex process made up of many factors. These factors can be classified by way of three basic faculties: intelligence, volition, and emotion....

    The third aspect of going for refuge is the emotional. While going for refuge requires more than emotional fervour, it also cannot come to full fruition without the inspiring upward pull of the emotions. The emotions entering into the refuge act are principally three: confidence, reverence, and love. Confidence (pasada) is a feeling of serene trust in the protective power of the refuge-objects, based on a clear understanding of their qualities and functions. Confidence gives rise to reverence (garava), a sense of awe, esteem, and veneration born from a growing awareness of the sublime and lofty nature of the Triple Gem. Yet this reverence does not remain cool, formal, and aloof. As we experience the transforming effect of the Dhamma on our life, reverence awakens (pema). Love adds the element of warmth and vitality to the spiritual life. It kindles the flame of devotion, coming to expression in acts of dedicated service by which we seek to extend the protective and liberative capacity of the threefold refuge to others.

This skillful affect doesn't necessarily come easily. For some of us it's been informed by long nights sitting with the clouds of doubt and disquiet in silent retreat.


Thanks for the thorough response, that clears thing up for me :thanks:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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