Faith: A Buddhist Perspective

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“The Buddha said, “Faith is the beginning of all good things.” No matter what we encounter in life, it is faith that enables us to try again, to trust again, to love again. Even in times of immense suffering, it is faith that enables us to relate to the present moment in such a way that we can go on, we can move forward, instead of becoming lost in resignation or dispair.” ~ Sharon Salzberg

“Faith is the ability to offer our heart to the truth of what is happening, to see our experience as the embodiment of life’s mystery, the present expression of possibility, the conduit connecting us to a bigger reality.” ~ Sharon Salzberg

“Faith is the animation of the heart that says, `I choose life,’ ” Sharon writes. “This spark of faith is ignited the moment we think, `I’m going to go for it. I’m going to try.’ ”

True faith, according to Sharon, is the action of the heart opening to admit life in all its unknown potential. It does not need to constrict around a particular belief or view, because it flows from an inner sense of reality, “a homing instinct for freedom.”

“The tendency to equate faith with doctrine, and then argue terminology and concepts, distracts us from what faith is actually about. Faith is not a commodity we either have or don’t have-it is an inner quality that unfolds was we learn to trust our own deepest experience.” ~ Sharon Salzberg

Distinctions between Belief and Faith
“Faith does not require a belief system, and is not necessarily connected to a deity or God, though it doesn’t deny one. This faith is not a commodity we either have or don’t have—it is an inner quality that unfolds as we learn to trust our deepest experience.” ~ Sharon Salzberg

“When we hold a belief too tightly, it is often because we are afraid. We become rigid, and chastise others for believing the wrong things without really listening to what they are saying. We become defensive and resist opening our minds to new ideas or perspectives. This doesn’t mean that all beliefs are accurate reflections of the truth, but it does mean that we have to look at what’s motivating our defensiveness… ” ~ Sharon Salzberg

“With their assumptions of correctness, beliefs try to make a known out of the unknown. They make presumptions about what is yet to come, how it will be, what it will mean, and how it will affect us. Faith, on the other hand, doesn’t carve out reality according to our preconceptions and desires. It doesn’t decide how we are going to perceive something but rather is the ability to move forward even without knowing. Faith, in contrast to belief, is not a definition of reality, not a received answer, but an active, open state that makes us willing to explore. While beliefs come to us from outside — from another person or tradition or heritage — faith comes from within, from our active participation in the process of discovery. Writer Alan Watts summed up the difference simply and pointedly as, ‘Belief clings, faith lets go.’ ‘”~ Sharon Salzberg

Developing Faith
“To develop a verified faith we need to open to the messiness, the discordance, the ambivalence, and, above all, the vital life-force of questioning. If we don’t, our faith can wither. If we don’t, our faith will always remain in the hands of someone else, as something we borrow or abjure, but not as something we claim fully as our own.” ~ Sharon Salzberg

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alexchua

If you're into photography, reading or writing, feel free to add me as friend :-) Thank you for visitng me in cyber space. This is a very very very big place… so it is no coincidence that you have somehow found me. I believe there are no coincidence, only synchronicity. There are no strangers, only friends who have not met. My name is Alex Chua. Nice to meet you :-) I'm a Peaceful Warrior of Light, Love and Laughter who have accidentally taken the Red Pill and now find myself asking 'What the Bleep Do We Know!?'. I'm a Kundalini Reiki Master and l Heart Huckerbees ;-P Having taken the Mindwalk and met The Alchemist along the way, I now know The Secret and my Waking Life is spent on The Road Less Traveled. I did not start out wanting to be a Warrior of Light. If you ask me, I've been a coward for most of my life, running away from many things… including the ones I love. I was driven by fear… including the fear of losing, rather than inspired by aspirations and dreams. In fact, it was the depressing darkeness and meaninglessness of life that drove me to begin my own Quest for Clarity. I found myself on The Path Well Trodden. I've lost my balance many times on this path… I forgot to pay attention sometimes, fell asleep, and lost my way too… Luckily, I've been guided by people who Ignited my SPARKS (Douglas) and people who taught me how to Share my SPARKS (my family & friends: Jeanine, Jinhan & Vincent), as well as led by series of Signs and Synchronicities to my life work as a Possibilities Coach. I spend most of my free time with my camera, as well as reading & writing. Beyond Possibilities is simply a platform through which I can share what I learn, with people who are open to going Beyond Possibilities. I'm currently working with Action City (Big Box International Pte. Ltd.) in Training & Marketing (since 2008). This is a wonderful company where I've made many friends who I believe will be with me for a long time to come. Some stuff that I'm proud of includes having my photography exhibited at the RING CUBE in Tokyo & published in a calendar in 2011. I have also been recognized for scholastic achievement and excellence by The Golden Key International Honour Society in 2001 and was awarded The RMIT Business Dean's Award in 2002. You can view my professional profile at http://sg.linkedin.com/in/alexchua

9 thoughts on “Faith: A Buddhist Perspective”

  1. “Faith does not require a belief system, and is not necessarily connected to a deity or God, though it doesn’t deny one. This faith is not a commodity we either have or don’t have—it is an inner quality that unfolds as we learn to trust our deepest experience.” ~ Sharon Salzberg – this says it all, this quote. I like the idea of the inner quality unfolding, not being constricted or constructed. Inspirational post, Alex.

  2. I agree with Imogen Alex.
    “Faith does not require a belief system, and is not necessarily connected to a deity or God, though it doesn’t deny one. This faith is not a commodity we either have or don’t have—it is an inner quality that unfolds as we learn to trust our deepest experience.” ~ Sharon Salzberg
    This is so true. I am not bound by a belief system or religious dogma but my faith is indisputable and I do not challenge the connection to a divine being. Rather I embrace that connection.

  3. Lovely post, Alex. it put me in mind of Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata, from 1952. Here is the last bit.

    You are a child of the universe,
    no less than the trees and the stars;
    you have a right to be here.
    And whether or not it is clear to you,
    no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

    Therefore be at peace with God,
    whatever you conceive Him to be,
    and whatever your labors and aspirations,
    in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

    With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
    it is still a beautiful world.
    Be cheerful.
    Strive to be happy.

  4. The images are wonderful, as is the piece itself and the discussion of it. I’ve always thought that spirituality has questions, religion has one right answer. So I’ve never been religious, but continue a practice of spirituality.

  5. I struggle with religion… but I cannot dismiss the infinite possibility which gives me a faith of sorts. Oddly enough there are times when my nameless belief maintains the spark of optimisim which keeps me going. Excellent, interesting post.

  6. One of the marks of faith is the phenomenon of Beedti;
    Beedti has several levels of manifesting.
    I am delighted to have received the forst and most basic of these phenomaena known as Khutagaabeedti – which appears as the raising of the hairs on your body and goosepimples.. i get this about 40 times a day.. and it was confusing me until i showed it to a monk (i can make it arise at will) and he said “oh thats “beedti”, so i looked it up on thai Buddhist websites. To my great wonder and surprise i found an exact description of what was happening to me!
    I now know that faith is a real measurable phenomaena and am in awe and wonder at the fact that i have finally made the transition between intellectual and real, heartfelt Faith in Buddha and the Dharma and Sangha!
    http://www.dharmathai.com/buddhism-blog/?p=39
    I tracked back to this post on your blog and gave you a link as i find my post onb my blog and this page here on yours are so inter-related that they should be connected.
    Faith is a real phenomaena and can even be measured by physical phenomaena that occur in the body of the believer!
    May all beings be happy and have the causes of happiness, free from suffering and the causes of suffering, and live in equanimity, free from attachment and anger (aversion), that hold some close, and others distant! Om Mani Pedme Hung

  7. yes i agree too that no particular religious belief system is necessary to have faith as fitting withy one’s own world view.
    And yes, a very inspirational post..
    belief and faith really are different thats sure.My own experiences have show this to be true.

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