Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ask a Brahmin: 3 Kinds of Faith

Hinduism Today's Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami reads his Publisher's Desk article (Oct-Nov-Dec 2009 issue) on the three stages of faith: blind faith, informed conviction, and personal realization.

Faith in Buddhism
In Buddhism, faith (Sanskrit, Śrāddha; Pali, Saddhā) is the initial acceptance of the Bud-dha’s teachings, prior to the acquisition of right under-standing and right thought. Buddhism does not rely on supernatural authority or the word of the Buddha but claims rather that its teachings can all be experientially verified. Starting on the Eightfold Path (the Buddhist system of spiritual progress) involves, however, a provisional acceptance, through faith, of the Buddha and his teachings that is later confirmed by direct experience and by the growth of right understanding.

Some Buddhist commentators have analyzed three kinds of faith or saddhā: affective (devotional), conative (involving effort), and cognitive (rational).

In the devotional sects of Mahāyāna Buddhism, faith is elevated to a dominant position [just as it is in devotional Hindu sects], equal to wisdom, as being for most people the appropriate way of reaching salvation in this present unenlightened age. Among the Pure Land sects, for example, sincere invocation of the name of the Buddha Amitābha is sufficient to ensure rebirth of the faithful in his Western Paradise (the Pure Land). Source

  • Buddhist teacher Sharon Salzberg (author of Faith) describes the journey as having three interlocking stages: bright faith, verifying faith, and abiding faith.