YOU CANNOT POST. OUR WEB HOSTING COMPANY DECIDED TO MOVE THE SERVER TO ANOTHER LOCATION. IN THE MEANTIME, YOU CAN VIEW THIS VERSION WHICH DOES NOT ALLOW POSTING AND WILL NOT SAVE ANYTHING YOU DO ONCE THE OTHER SERVER GOES ONLINE.

Why is Buddhist Faith not blind? - Page 2 - Dhamma Wheel

Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 14947
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Feb 27, 2009 12:37 am


User avatar
zavk
Posts: 1161
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:04 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

Postby zavk » Fri Feb 27, 2009 12:39 am

Hi Mike,

I really appreciate your position. What you have written about your experience of 'verifiable faith' vis-a-vis your own experience of practice speaks to my own experience. I too feel that it would benefit our dhamma practice if we develop some sensitivity towards the notion of 'verified faith' vs. 'blind faith'. Reading the responses so far, I'd like to speculate further:

Along with most others, I would say that Buddhist faith is not 'blind faith'. But I don't want to say that it can only be 'verified faith'. I say this because we all talk about the limits of thought and how Awakening is beyond concepts, how Awakening is unconditioned, unthinkable, etc. So, a general way of understanding Awakening is that it involves the opening up of experience to something wholly 'other'.

To experience something that is totally 'other' to what we presently know and feel raises the question of expectation. Can we really experience this 'otherness' if it falls within our expectations? How can it be considered 'other' if it does? So I guess this is why people say that unlike other kinds of faith, Buddhist faith does not involve expectation.

However, I want to qualify that assertion. I would in fact say that to experience the wholly 'other' we cannot avoid having expectations. For 'otherness' to erupt into our experience, it has to come in such a way that it totally and utterly exceeds, disrupts and dismantle expectations. There must be some level of expectation to which the unthinkable must exceed. I don't think Buddhism totally denies expectation. Suggestions in the Satipatthana Sutta about how one can attain awakening in 7 years or the various suggestions about stages of arahantship can be read as certain kinds of expectations. However, the important thing to note is that those very same teachings also warn against expectation.

The kind of expectation that we have in Buddhism is no doubt one that emerges out of the context of our own experience and which is always measured against the dhamma. But, I see this as a kind of expectation that always acknowledges the utter vulnerability of its own position. In short, it is a kind of expectation that has a willingness to 'let go'.

I think it was Alan Watts (his unskilful behaviour notwithstanding) who said, 'Belief clings, faith lets go'. To the extent that 'blind faith' involves unquestioned beliefs, it is a certain kind of clinging. However, to the extent that 'verified faith' only accepts what rational thought can 'prove', it also risks sliding into a kind of clinging. Maybe what is needed is a certain middle path between 'verified faith' and 'blind faith'.

But I don't want to rely on some sentimental notion of the 'middle'. I don't want to suggest that we should simply have faith in the middle path as if the middle path is somewhere 'out there' waiting to be discovered. As the Buddha has said himself, the middle path is extremely subtle and difficult to discern. As I understand it, the middle path is not simply some median point between two poles, because whatever two poles there are (good/bad, eternalism/annihilationism, normal/abnormal, etc, etc), they are not fixed. The middle path is always in flux, shifting and contingent. The middle path unfolds itself when we are receptive to the flux and contingency of experience (I think Genkaku touches on this in his response above). For me, that receptivity to flux and contingency engenders a kind of faith. It is a kind of faith that emerges from a willingness to continually seek the ever-shifting middle path. A kind of faith not in the middle path, but from the middle path.

All in all, I would say that Buddhist faith is not blind, because it requires us to 'verify' the dhamma within the context of our experience. But I would also say that Buddhist faith is not ultimately verifiable, because it requires us to acknowledge and be receptive to an 'otherness' that we cannot possibly foresee, an 'otherness' that we cannot possibly inscribe within the domain of 'the expected' or 'the verifiable'. If I really have to give it a label, I'd call it a kind of 'radical faith'. That is, until a better understanding comes along....

:namaste:
In good faith,
zavk
With metta,
zavk

User avatar
kc2dpt
Posts: 957
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:48 pm

Re: Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

Postby kc2dpt » Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:30 am

Mike,

In any journey we take, until we reach the destination we do not know we will reach that destination. Every journey involves some element of faith. (or hope?)

Blind to me suggests having no clue that one is actually even headed in the right direction, that there even is a destination.

Let's consider visiting San Francisco. I have it on good word that San Francisco is west of New York, that there's roads that will get me from here to there. I can go over the directions and see they make some sort of sense. I've also got good reason to think SF really exists - guidebooks, people who have been there and talk about it, people who have traveled the route I'm thinking of taking, etc. Still, I might not get there. My car might break down, I might get lost, I might lose interest in the trip entirely.

Compare this to visiting Atlantis.

I think this perhaps illustrates the difference between blind faith and non-blind faith.

Th goal of Buddhism is ending suffering. The described path to get there makes sense to me. I can see an immediate reduction in suffering, which indicates I'm probably heading in the right direction. I read about and have met people on the path who's apparent suffering seems outrageously low.

Compare this to everlasting bliss hanging with Jesus and his dad.

Though I think if someone asks you whether Buddhism involves blind faith... best I think to start by asking them to define "blind faith".
- Peter


User avatar
Jechbi
Posts: 1268
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:38 am
Contact:

Re: Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

Postby Jechbi » Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:48 am


Individual
Posts: 1970
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:19 am

Re: Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

Postby Individual » Fri Feb 27, 2009 5:20 pm

The best things in life aren't things.


User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 14947
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Feb 27, 2009 7:35 pm


Individual
Posts: 1970
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:19 am

Re: Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

Postby Individual » Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:14 pm

The best things in life aren't things.


User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 14947
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:24 pm


User avatar
clw_uk
Posts: 4655
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am

Re: Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

Postby clw_uk » Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:29 pm

Last edited by clw_uk on Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 14947
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:33 pm


User avatar
clw_uk
Posts: 4655
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am

Re: Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

Postby clw_uk » Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:36 pm

Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 14947
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Feb 28, 2009 12:49 am


User avatar
clw_uk
Posts: 4655
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am

Re: Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

Postby clw_uk » Sat Feb 28, 2009 1:27 am

Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

Individual
Posts: 1970
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:19 am

Re: Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

Postby Individual » Sat Feb 28, 2009 2:14 am

The best things in life aren't things.


User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 14947
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Feb 28, 2009 2:37 am


User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 14947
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Feb 28, 2009 2:53 am


User avatar
clw_uk
Posts: 4655
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am

Re: Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

Postby clw_uk » Sat Feb 28, 2009 3:25 am

Last edited by clw_uk on Sat Feb 28, 2009 3:42 am, edited 3 times in total.
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

green
Posts: 73
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 12:25 am

Re: Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

Postby green » Sat Feb 28, 2009 3:34 am

I wasn't a Buddhist, but after studying what Buddha taught in the Tipitika and doing an honest study of other religions, I became compelled to ask these questions honestly:

1)Can anyone say the Bible, the Gita or the Koran has something with as much clarity and understanding of development of the mind as the Noble Eightfold Path?

2)Does any other text have as much knowledge of heaven and hell, that I should listen to the almost elementary understanding of heaven and hell of these other faiths who threaten me with hell if I don't convert to their faith?


For me the answer became obvious...it was as if it's right in one's face.

Avijja itself is caused by not associating with "sapurisa" or truly good, honest people who can say, this is the highest truth, Learn it!

Buddhism is not blind faith, because if one were to be honest and without prejudice, one would see what is obvious.

nathan
Posts: 692
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:11 am

Re: Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

Postby nathan » Sat Feb 28, 2009 10:08 am

I will leave you all to simply speculate (please, please don't waste your time) how it is that I can have an absolute faith in the BuddhaDhamma and unswerving commitment to it while at the same time maintaining a personal relationship to Jesus Christ and an unabashed acknowledgement of God Almighty. I do.

For me, there is no 'problem' with faith in any of these regards. The Dhamma I practice, day in and day out, is focused on an exhaustive examination of the experience of being and becoming that I am having. If I take the simple principle 'all that arises also ceases' and I apply this to the present moment I certainly do see and know and realize and understand that it is true. I can see also that it is true not only in the present moment but across many varying time spans. In regards to all things in my experience, all that arises also ceases.

Examining in the moment I discover not only that this is so but I also discover why. Examining in this way I see not only cause and effect but causes and effects across time. There are consequences and therefore a moral and ethical dimension within each of those moments of my experience. This is, all of it, neither faith nor verification, this is investigation and discovery; this is seeing, this is knowing, this is realizing, and upon reflection it is understanding. It is in this way, by investigating and by discovering, that the suffering is revealed, that the desire is revealed, that the cessation of suffering is revealed and that the path of practice leading to the complete cessation of suffering is revealed.

There are eight steps on the path to liberation and there are many enlightenment qualities to be developed in keeping with this same simple practice of realizing. This work is not done via ignorance, this work is done by the discovery of ignorance and it's removal through realizations, many, many, many realizations. The truth is like climbing a mountain. I take the steps and every now and then I turn and look at the view from there. Then I go back to climbing towards the top. From the first step to the last in awareness of moving forward, there is no mystery involved in this.

We are the mystery. We are the creatures who exist in terms of the various forms of faith argued about time and again.

"I, me and mine", unarguably the greatest fallacy of all time, is the baseline faith we all come from, is our "common sense", is the creed or "faith" in which we all either are or were the "true believers". This "path to freedom" is walking a reasonable and straightforward path out of that "blind faith in myself", that ignorance, by means of an investigative process which is ongoing 'work' thereby discovering the "truth of myself" which is the ongoing reward. Every moment in which I take a step towards further waking up is one step closer to the very same full disclosure of the true nature of what I am; not only because it is not self but because it is whatever it is nonetheless, which owing to accepting the persisting ignorance has become a prison for only more of this being and becoming in 'faith'.

If there is an endemic need for faith which is blind it is not surprising at all because we have all been well and truly fully blind. We may begin with only hope but with only one step, with one moment of examination and discovery, this is enough of the actual path for that to no longer be the whole truth. There are parts of the path where turning back is possible and there are extents beyond which turning back is not possible. There is not even one moment of actual investigation and discovery which can not be said to lead to seeing, knowing, realizing and even eventually understanding something about something. That, for all of our ignorance, is our only hope of anything but ignorance.

Practicing well and understanding well leads to increased peace to increasing extents. Certainly well past the point that one is troubled about what other people call this peace. For the kind of absolute certainties that everyone only argues about as abstractions it is not enough to 'do' the eight steps. One must get them 'done'. ASAP

upekkha
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

green
Posts: 73
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 12:25 am

Re: Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

Postby green » Sat Feb 28, 2009 5:21 pm



Return to “Connections to Other Paths”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 12 guests

Google Saffron, Theravada Search Engine