Friday, March 4, 2016

Faith in Practice

One area of Dharma practice that is often difficult for many is faith; especially faith in Buddha Dharma, in the Teachings and practice of Buddha and Ancestors, as well as faith as a fundamental aspect of taking refuge. I have addressed this in a number of places, including in several chapters of my book Everything is the Way.

Below is an interesting and insightful discussion of faith in science and how this is analogous to faith in practice traditions and religions; though the religious analogy used is primarily from a Christian tradition it is relevant to many traditions.

"The fundamental choice is not whether humans will have faith, but rather what the objects of their faith will be, and how far and into what dimensions this faith will extend.

When the scientists searching for gravitational waves set up the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, or LIGO, to detect the waves, they did so believing that Einstein’s mathematics would be reliable and that deep space would respond as their calculations had forecast. And they kept up this faith even when by 2010 and a decade into the experiment, they still saw no confirmation. Such persistence nicely invokes the spirit of the biblical epistle to the Hebrews: “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

But just as faith is indispensable to science, so is reason essential to religion. Many find themselves relating to God in a way analogous to the scientists searching for gravitational waves. These seekers of religious truth are persuaded by preliminary evidence and compelled by the testimony of those who have previously studied the matter; they are striving for a personal encounter with the realities so often talked about, yet so mysterious.

In such a context, it isn’t blind belief that fuels the search, any more than scientists blindly pursued the implications of Einstein’s theory. Rather, it’s a belief informed by credible reasons, nurtured by patient trust, open to revision."

For the rest of this article see: