I’ve been thinking about something the last few months. I’m going to have to use the F-word here. Faith. It used to be a dirty word to me. It’s something I rejected in religion, and part of the appeal of Buddhism for me in the beginning was that faith did not seem to be required. You do the work and figure things out for yourself. I like that. Well, what do you know, these many years later I’m starting to think that this trust that we put into the practice, this surrendering to just what is... I think maybe this is a kind of faith.
It’s not a blind faith in something or someone. It’s more like “good faith”. The dictionary defines good faith as “honesty or sincerity of intention.” Give the practice a real try in good faith for a while and see what happens. Have a little faith in the process and let it work a bit, then decide for yourself if you want to keep going or not.
Signing on with Treeleaf was an act of faith for me, quite scary actually, as I am not a joiner. Since I joined I have committed to shikantaza in good faith, and have set aside my other practices and ways of meditating. I thought I’d try it for a while. And... wow.
I’m not educated in Buddhist sutras or canon. But I don’t often hear Buddhists talk about faith. It feels weird to even write this, I have avoided the word for so long. What do you guys think about faith? Does it have a place in Zen? Is it part of your practice?