Lampang wrote:danieLion wrote:I can't speak for Ñāṇa, but the idea that "devotional practices are justified in terms of their efficacy" is not not the implication I drew from this.
What implications did you draw?
The disconnect between faith and knowledge is not necessary, and in some cases essential.
danieLion wrote:the dichotomy between faith and knowledge is false
Lampang wrote:Why? As far as I can see, reference to faith which involves knowledge doesn't make sense.
Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Thus, for every listener, faith in the Buddha's Awakening was a prerequisite for advanced growth in the teaching. Without faith in the fact of the Buddha's knowledge of Unbinding, one could not fully accept his prescription. Without faith in the regularity of the Dhamma — including conviction in the principle of kamma and the impersonality of the causal law, making the path open in principle to everyone — one could not fully have faith in one's own ability to follow the path. Of course, this faith would then be confirmed, step by step, as one followed the teaching and began gaining results, but full confirmation would come only with an experience of Awakening. Prior to that point, one's trust, bolstered only by partial results, would have to be a matter of faith [MN 27].
Acquiring this faith is called "going for refuge" in the Buddha. The "refuge" here derives from the fact that one has placed trust in the truth of the Buddha's Awakening and expects that by following his teachings — in particular, the principle of skillful kamma — one protects oneself from creating further suffering for oneself or others, eventually reaching true, unconditioned happiness. This act of going for refuge is what qualifies one as a Buddhist — as opposed to someone simply interested in the Buddha's teachings — and puts one in a position to benefit fully from what the Buddha taught.
The Buddha employed various means of instilling faith in his listeners, but the primary means fall into three classes: his character, his psychic powers, and his powers of reason. When he gave his first sermon — to the Five Brethren, his former compatriots — he had to preface his remarks by reminding them of his honest and responsible character before they would willingly listen to him. When he taught the Kassapa brothers, he first had to subdue their pride with a dazzling array of psychic feats. In most cases, however, he needed only to reason with his listeners and interlocutors, although here again he had to be sensitive to the level of their minds so that he could lead them step by step, taking them from what they saw as immediately apparent and directing them to ever higher and more subtle points. The typical pattern was for the Buddha to begin with the immediate joys of generosity and virtue, followed by the longer-term sensual rewards of these qualities, in line with the principle of kamma; then the ultimate drawbacks of those sensual rewards; and finally the benefits of renunciation. If his listeners could follow his reasoning this far, they would be ready for the more advanced teachings.
We often view reason as something distinct from faith, but for the Buddha it was simply one way of instilling faith or conviction in his listeners. At several points in the Pali Canon [e.g., DN 1; MN 95] he points out the fallacies that can result when one draws reasoned conclusions from a limited range of experience, from false analogies, or from inappropriate modes of analysis. Because his teachings could not be proven prior to an experience of Awakening, he recognized that the proper use of reason was not in trying to prove his teachings, but simply in showing that they made sense. People can make sense of things when they see them as similar to something they already know and understand.
Thus the main function of reason in presenting the teachings is in finding proper analogies for understanding them: hence the many metaphors and similes used throughout the texts. Faith based on reason and understanding, the Buddha taught, was more solid than unreasoned faith, but neither could substitute for the direct knowledge of the regularity of the Dhamma and of Unbinding, for only the experience of Unbinding was a guarantee of true knowledge. Nevertheless, faith was a prerequisite for attaining that direct knowledge. Only when the initial presentation of the teaching had aroused faith in the listener, would he/she be in a position to benefit from a less-adorned presentation of the content and put it into practice (my emphases).
Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... html#intro
danieLion wrote:Both these quotes smack of ethnocentrism
Lampang wrote:Again, perhaps you could explain what you're getting at.
You're trying to understand Buddhism from a cultural perspective that's very foreign to Buddhist cultures.
*Edit: Impolite comment removed. Apologies.