mydhana wrote:Ok, I am a new member and I have joined to get feedback on this question I am stuck on. I am sure there will be more questions to follow as I explore Buddhism further. I hope I have posted in the right place.
Radiant inner peace is dependent on the realisation that my inner being is immortal. How is this a certainty? Isn't this a belief based on faith? How do I know this concept of 'rebirth' is true? I thought that Buddhism is not a religion and does not require any faith?
i second whoever said they don't know where you got that quote, it's not what the buddha taught. it may be from one of the mahayana sutras which have no direct connection to the pali canon.
as far as i know, blind faith has no place in buddhism. there is some faith involved and the buddha encouraged letting go of doubt but one can certainly practice simply using a trial and error technique. according to the dhamma encyclopedia (a little tip offered to me by retro, thanks for that
), it's called saddha and it is a type of faith but it is supposed to be rooted in reasoning and understanding and a person is asked to investigate and test the object of his faith. so it's certainly not the kind of faith that so many "religions" require. the buddha was big into trying things out. he at some point in the canon says, i'm paraphrasing: "don't do my practice because this old monk tells you to, do it because it is what you know is right in your heart". so basically, try out his teachings, if they work, use them, if something does not work, don't. for example if you simply cannot believe in rebirth, then don't. now this isn't to say, sit and meditate for five minutes and if you don't reach nibbana then give up, or try the precepts for a day and if they don't make you happy then drop them. it's more like a challenge; he was so confident that his teachings work that he taught to make a whole hearted effort to perfect his teachings and if, after a true and deep effort has been made over a reasonable amount of time, you don't have results or it doesn't seem right in your heart, don't do it.
one thing he said over and over is that "this dhamma is good in the beginning, middle and end". results are visible in this life, here and now. it's not about faith in some unseen afterlife or anything.
i think the idea is that eventually, inevitably, most people feel that the practices work and have no need for faith in anything they can't see. the four noble truths can be seen here and now and so can the effects of the eight fold path. kamma can be seen here and now as well in a simple cause and effect type way and certainly in a psychological way. and then some get so good at it that eventually they see rebirth and all that for themselves. but even if someone never gets that far, as long as it can free you from suffering some of the time and make you feel less suffering it's a win in my book!