Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

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Re: Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

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

Individual wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:Furthermore this discussion is not motivated to any particular problem that I have with my practise. Discussions such as this, I feel, do little to advance my practise. However, they can be an interesting diversion and may shed light on other discussions that go on here and elsewhere.

...A very common form of false speech on Buddhist forums.

I'm not clear what you mean here, but I've seen the "Nothing (important) is unverifiable in Buddhism" line used as an excuse to reject parts of the teaching. Sometimes blatantly, as in: "Rebirth is unverifiable, therefore it's not a core teaching", but sometimes much more subtly. I think that it might be beneficial to examine what is meant by "verify" in the various discussions that go on here.
Individual wrote:When you practice, because you can always see there are improvements (and there are improvements), that is the ultimate goal.

I don't understand the relevance of this statement. There are many practises, other then Buddhism, that give improvements.

And there is plenty of documented experience out there (and I have seen some of it for myself) that Buddhist Practise isn't just a matter of monotonic improvement. The "progress of insight" is not an easy road. See for example the "Insight Knowledges" section of this article on the development of insight by Patrick Kearney: http://www.buddhanet.net/imol/develop.htm

Jechbi wrote:... I think these two statements are really best understood in terms of dukkha. Faith in the statement "attaining Nibbana is possible" points to faith in the notion that this suffering, present right now, is temporary. ...

Yes, that's a good point. The Buddha taught:
  • Suffering
  • Cause
  • Cessation
  • Path
The ultimate goal is the cessation of suffering. Not: "A bit of a reduction of suffering that makes life a little more bearable".

Bubbabuddhist wrote:Of course, at some point we hope or assume we'll attain Supramundane Right View where faith in any form is superfluous. If anyone is already there, I for one would enjoy hearing about it.

:bow:

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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....

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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".
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Re: Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

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

mikenz66 wrote:The ultimate goal is the cessation of suffering. Not: "A bit of a reduction of suffering that makes life a little more bearable".

:thumbsup:

Peter wrote: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.

Good post, though I think it might oversimplify the notion of salvation as some Christians view it. Some Christians might argue that there are signposts along the way in their journey, just as you've described in yours, and that they have a pretty good clue about whether they're headed in the right direction.

Notions of "heaven" might still be flavored with wrong view, but then so are many of our views about Nibanna, truth be told.

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Re: Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

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

mikenz66 wrote:I don't understand the relevance of this statement. There are many practises, other then Buddhism, that give improvements.

There is no practice other than the Noble Eightfold Path which brings improvement. Practices other than Buddhism can only bring improvement to the extent that they teach the Noble Eightfold Path.

DN 16

And the Blessed One spoke, saying: "In whatsoever Dhamma and Discipline, Subhadda, there is not found the Noble Eightfold Path, neither is there found a true ascetic of the first, second, third, or fourth degree of saintliness. But in whatsoever Dhamma and Discipline there is found the Noble Eightfold Path, there is found a true ascetic of the first, second, third, and fourth degrees of saintliness.54 Now in this Dhamma and Discipline, Subhadda, is found the Noble Eightfold Path; and in it alone are also found true ascetics of the first, second, third, and fourth degrees of saintliness. Devoid of true ascetics are the systems of other teachers. But if, Subhadda, the bhikkhus live righteously, the world will not be destitute of arahats.


Peter wrote: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.

If you're going to San Francisco...
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Re: Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

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

Individual wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:I don't understand the relevance of this statement. There are many practises, other then Buddhism, that give improvements.

There is no practice other than the Noble Eightfold Path which brings improvement. Practices other than Buddhism can only bring improvement to the extent that they teach the Noble Eightfold Path.

I think you are misinterpreting the Sutta you quote. It says that only the Noble Eightfold Path can lead to Arahantship, not that only the NEP can lead to improvement.

Many other paths develop morality, concentration, etc. Other paths can lead to heavenly realms. The Buddha's teachers were reborn into the formless realms, for example.

Of course, the Buddhist view is that Samsara cannnot be transcended, and suffering ended, without the whole NEP, but there's no reason that a Christian, Moslem, Jew, Hindu, etc, can't be just as effective at developing the Sila aspects of the Path as a Buddhist.

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Re: Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

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

mikenz66 wrote:
Individual wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:I don't understand the relevance of this statement. There are many practises, other then Buddhism, that give improvements.

There is no practice other than the Noble Eightfold Path which brings improvement. Practices other than Buddhism can only bring improvement to the extent that they teach the Noble Eightfold Path.

I think you are misinterpreting the Sutta you quote. It says that only the Noble Eightfold Path can lead to Arahantship, not that only the NEP can lead to improvement.

I think your implication in that assertion is wrong, that there is such a thing as meaningful "improvement" apart from the path to Arahantship.

mikenz66 wrote:Many other paths develop morality, concentration, etc. Other paths can lead to heavenly realms. The Buddha's teachers were reborn into the formless realms, for example.

Of course, the Buddhist view is that Samsara cannnot be transcended, and suffering ended, without the whole NEP, but there's no reason that a Christian, Moslem, Jew, Hindu, etc, can't be just as effective at developing the Sila aspects of the Path as a Buddhist.

We mostly agree, but I wouldn't say simply sila. There's no reason that a Christian, Moslem, Jew, Hindu, etc., can't be just as effective at developing any aspect of the path as a Buddhist, except that by doing so, they may come to be judged as heretics by some of their peers.
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Re: Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

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

Greeting Individual,

Your understanding appears to differe from mine, and what I understand teachers such as Bhikkhu Bodhi to be saying. See for example:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ay_24.html
To the extent that a religion proposes sound ethical principles and can promote to some degree the development of wholesome qualities such as love, generosity, detachment and compassion, it will merit in this respect the approbation of Buddhists. These principles advocated by outside religious systems will also conduce to rebirth in the realms of bliss — the heavens and the divine abodes. Buddhism by no means claims to have unique access to these realms, but holds that the paths that lead to them have been articulated, with varying degrees of clarity, in many of the great spiritual traditions of humanity. While the Buddhist will disagree with the belief structures of other religions to the extent that they deviate from the Buddha's Dhamma, he will respect them to the extent that they enjoin virtues and standards of conduct that promote spiritual development and the harmonious integration of human beings with each other and with the world.

My opinion is that having the view that "other paths are not much good" is an impediment to progress.

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Re: Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

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

My opinion is that having the view that "other paths are not much good" is an impediment to progress.


Depends on what ones goal is, e.g. if one wants eternal life (or think they can have it at) a religion such as christianity would be a good path while buddhism would seem not so much good (i.e. teachings of Anatta, anicca)


For me the Abrahamic religions are "not much good" since its about desire for exsistence, they do have noble qualities to them in some teachings but morality is all they offer me in this life with a promise of eternal life after


To someone else, the abrahamic religions are good because of the moarlity it offers and the promise of eternal life, while buddhism is "not so good" since its about ending craving and clinging, which would seem threatening to someone who delights in life and is looking for eternal life
Last edited by clw_uk on Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

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

Hi Craig,

What I was trying to say is that for a Buddhist to have the attitude that "all other paths are worthless" is not helpful.

See also the Canki Sutta http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"If a person has conviction, his statement, 'This is my conviction,' safeguards the truth. But he doesn't yet come to the definite conclusion that 'Only this is true; anything else is worthless.' To this extent, Bharadvaja, there is the safeguarding of the truth. To this extent one safeguards the truth. I describe this as the safeguarding of the truth. But it is not yet an awakening to the truth.

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Re: Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

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

Oh sorry i misread you

What I was trying to say is that for a Buddhist to have the attitude that "all other paths are worthless" is not helpful.


This depends though on what one is "after", if one wants to awaken to the here and now christianity is unhelpful since its about desire

One shouldnt cling to a view of buddhism is right and everything else is wrong, Dhamma is the truth of the way it is, its about reality, this can be understood and taught in lots of different places be it philosophy or religion, just the Buddha understands the Dhamma completely and teaches the path to realise it perfectly while other religions just understand and teach small parts of the Dhamma and dont have deep insight into it

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Re: Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

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

Craig, I think you are still misreading me.
clw_uk wrote:Oh sorry i misread you

What I was trying to say is that for a Buddhist to have the attitude that "all other paths are worthless" is not helpful.


This depends though on what one is "after", if one wants to awaken to the here and now christianity is unhelpful since its about desire

I'm not talking about changing to another path, I'm talking about how I should think and behave as a Buddhist. Having a "superior attitude" towards other people's choices is something that I do my best to avoid.

Furthermore, I don't believe it's accurate to say that Chisitanity is just "about desire". Many Christians that I know appear to be developing kindness, tolerance, and selflessness.

Of course, I can think of Christians who are not. I can also think of Buddhists who are not...

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Re: Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

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

Furthermore, I don't believe it's accurate to say that Chisitanity is just "about desire". Many Christians that I know appear to be developing kindness, tolerance, and selflessness.



I didnt say they its "just" about desire i said "since its about desire for exsistence"

I dont deny that some do develop those qualities, however there central teachings are rooted in desire, the promise of eternal life made by jesus to all who follow him, is just delight in self and exsistence, heaven and hell are just words and concepts, an expression of the conditioned mind, of samsara

Im not saying that christians are wrong, they might be right but there only right in conditionality, it doesnt lead out of conditionality




I'm not talking about changing to another path, I'm talking about how I should think and behave as a Buddhist. Having a "superior attitude" towards other people's choices is something that I do my best to avoid.


I agree, to think one is superior is conceit and so false view, in relation to me i dont consider my self or my religion superior to say a christian, i just see the founders having different insights and so pointing to different things, Lord Buddha teaches the way to the end of becoming and Jesus teaches the way to good becoming


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Re: Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

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

mikenz66 wrote:Greeting Individual,

Your understanding appears to differe from mine, and what I understand teachers such as Bhikkhu Bodhi to be saying. See for example:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ay_24.html
To the extent that a religion proposes sound ethical principles and can promote to some degree the development of wholesome qualities such as love, generosity, detachment and compassion, it will merit in this respect the approbation of Buddhists. These principles advocated by outside religious systems will also conduce to rebirth in the realms of bliss — the heavens and the divine abodes. Buddhism by no means claims to have unique access to these realms, but holds that the paths that lead to them have been articulated, with varying degrees of clarity, in many of the great spiritual traditions of humanity. While the Buddhist will disagree with the belief structures of other religions to the extent that they deviate from the Buddha's Dhamma, he will respect them to the extent that they enjoin virtues and standards of conduct that promote spiritual development and the harmonious integration of human beings with each other and with the world.

My opinion is that having the view that "other paths are not much good" is an impediment to progress.

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That isn't my view. I agree with Bodhi.
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Re: Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

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

Individual wrote:That isn't my view. I agree with Bodhi.

:group:

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Re: Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

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

Hi Craig,
clw_uk wrote:I dont deny that some do develop those qualities, however there central teachings are rooted in desire, the promise of eternal life made by jesus to all who follow him, is just delight in self and exsistence, heaven and hell are just words and concepts, an expression of the conditioned mind, of samsara.

The view of "Jesus" and "Heaven" that you are basing your statements on seems to me to be on the level of understanding that many non-Buddhists have about Buddhism. For example, that Samsara and Nirvana are respectively places that we are trying to escape from and escape to.

Some Christians think like that. However, many do not. They do not view "Jesus" and "Heaven" as beings and places, respectively, but in terms of the qualities that they are seeking to develop. In fact, some have a view quite close to the Buddhist ideas of impermanence (expressed more as "unreliability") and not-self. I'm not just making this up :popcorn: I'm recalling the sermon I heard in my Mother's Anglican Church last Christmas morning. :group:

I do agree that there are large differences. And I think that the Dhamma is much more consistent and clear, and, in particular, has a better "instruction manual". However, I can not agree that Christianity, Islam, and so on, are merely unsophisticated folk religions.

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Re: Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

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

The view of "Jesus" and "Heaven" that you are basing your statements on seems to me to be on the level of understanding that many non-Buddhists have about Buddhism. For example, that Samsara and Nirvana are respectively places that we are trying to escape from and escape to.


People think that nibbana is a place you go to because they dont understand the meaning of the word as used by the buddha, nibbana is also just a word and convention that comes from thought its just the only way to at least attempt to describe in some way what the unconditioned is like, since it means "to go out" it conveys some idea of what the realisation of Dhamma is

You could say the same for heaven and hell but the difference is they are conventions for describing that which will be conditioned. Heaven and hell are tied up with becoming, they are just concepts that come from the dualistic thinking that comes with conditionality i.e. me, you good, bad etc

With the Buddhadhamma you learn that me you, good bad, heaven hell are just concepts, that they come from samsara and are artifical constructs of a conditioned mind. In Abrahamic religions and most of the others this isnt so, the conventional of me you, good bad and heaven and hell is held to be reality so Dhamma is not known or penetrated to a deep level




I do agree that there are large differences. And I think that the Dhamma is much more consistent and clear, and, in particular, has a better "instruction manual". However, I can not agree that Christianity, Islam, and so on, are merely unsophisticated folk religions.


I never said they were, but you cant deny that they have a lot of ignorance in them,

permanent soul
Eternal heaven and hell
Salvation through another

They are mostly idealistic not realistic


Its not to say there wrong, they are correct on some level but only for samsara, there not connected with trying to fully understand Dhamma
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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.
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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

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Re: Why is Buddhist Faith not blind?

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

nathan wrote: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


Nathan, thank you for your declaration of faith -- I find it refreshing. These days people like Ven. Ananda and Vakkali -- those with great faith- would be derided by many as being highly emotional and contrary to the dhamma.

It is, unfortuneatly, unpopular in many Buddhist circles to just let lose and declare one's absolute faith and love for Buddha (i.e. God for other faiths -- Buddha is known as the Brahma kaya, Dhamma kaya -- literally the body of God and the Law, and Raja abhi Raja or King of kings.) --

Buddhism is about getting rid of all our WRONG views about God and wrong views about just about every other thing and establishing that love with truth so that our faith becomes unshakeable.

Until then, in Buddhism faith is one of the most powerful strengths (bala) out of 5 strengths...so your faith (in Buddha dhamma and Jesus) is a strength not a weakness.

Of course with me I have a commitment to Buddha dhamma and a personal relationship to Buddha. For example, the Buddha anusati (recollection of Buddha) is as if having Buddha "face to face".



Here is the purest declaration of "bhakti" and faith from early Buddhism:

Buddhassaahasmi daaso (WOMEN: daasii)va, Buddho me saamikissaro.
I am the Buddha's servant, the Buddha is my sovereign master,

Buddho dukkhassa ghaataa ca, Vidhaataa ca hitassa me.
The Buddha is a destroyer of suffering & a provider of welfare for me.

Buddhassaaham niyyaademi, Sariirañjiivitañcidam.
To the Buddha I dedicate this body & this life of mine.

Vandanto'ham (Vandantii'ha.m) carissaami, Buddhasseva subodhitam.
I will fare with reverence for the Buddha's genuine Awakening.

N'atthi me saranam aññam, Buddho me saranam varam:
I have no other refuge, the Buddha is my foremost refuge:
:anjali:
green
 
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