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Thread: The F-bomb

  1. #1

    The F-bomb

    Hi All,

    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?

    Gassho
    Lisa

  2. #2
    Hi Lisa,

    Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts.
    For me Zen is about being with what is, letting go of attachments, accepting, watching reality without judging - actually learning to just be without any masks or adding anything. In zazen it is actualising/realising ones true nature and trying to take this into every day life.
    We are learning the ordinariness and sacredness of every thing there is, since we are everything there is.

    One can experience directly the (non-)fruits of this practice each and every day for oneself. So for me personally there is no faith involved.

    I call it a practice or a (pathless) path rather than a belief.
    However, I agree one part of this practice is also about trusting in the flow of life. But one finds out with time whether this trust was justified or not.

    If you look back at the time before you began with practice what has changed? Compare the Lisa of today with the Lisa before practice. This should give an important answer IMHO.

    Just my two cents...

    Gassho,

    Daitetsu
    Last edited by Daitetsu; 07-29-2014 at 10:59 AM.
    no thing needs to be added

  3. #3
    Dear Lisa,

    depending on one's language, words like "faith", "truth", "belief" etc. can carry a lot of baggage And sometimes they don't.

    Blind faith in terms of "shut up and believe whatever the authority tells you" has no place in the Dharma.

    Whilst at the beginning of one's path there is definitely a strong feeling of "a leap of faith" for many, as one stays with the current and momentum of this practise of realisation, a different taste might enter, which could be classically called Shraddha in Sanskrit.

    It might entail a powerful sense of deep trusting with surrender, in the same way that one might fight against acknowledging the fact that e.g. one truly loves a person with skin, bone and marrow...until one really opnes up to it unconditionally.

    I like the classical picture that illustrates dharmic faith: Like a bird that trusts the tree in which it builds its nest.

    http://buddhism.about.com/od/buddhis...a-Shraddha.htm



    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Last edited by Hans; 07-29-2014 at 11:49 AM.
    Chudo Mongen, Ordained Novice Priest-in-Training

  4. #4
    Hello Lisa,

    When I first converted, I was deeply suspicious of anything or anyone who asked me to have "faith." Buddhism seemed at the time to be a more empirical religion, and I still think that to an extent.

    Later, I came to view the role of faith in Buddhism as the same motivation a scientist has for an experiment; enough faith that the hypothesis is correct to actually test it out. I still think that to an extent.

    Then, I came to a place where faith faded away in response to the arising of direct knowledge. No need for faith.

    The Dharma is subtle and profound, and Buddha-nature permeates everything. Eventually practice begins to become self-actualizing practice, and then faith doesn't matter--one knows that there is nothing that is not practice, and the Dharma pulls us inexorably along no matter what.

    I have faith in this.

    May you forever be well,

    Saijun
    To give up yourself without regret is the greatest charity. --RBB

  5. #5
    Great question, Lisa. I think faith is a very important part of my life and practice. It's not an intellectual faith but a deep trust in being open to the universe. To whatever is, whatever happens. You could even call it a trust in god if that's how you choose to relate to IT. At the same time as part of our dualistic nature there is a great doubt about what is, a kind of not knowing. Maybe enlightenment is a total integration and balance of faith and doubt.

    Kind regards. /\
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

  6. #6
    Hi,

    I like so much what many folks are writing here.

    I would say that we do need a kind of trust and confidence in the Teachings and Practice before seeing any results (I hesitate to use the word "faith" because it is such a loaded term in the west), much like one must trust and have confidence in the doctor and the medicine prescribed even before the cure. One can look at the diploma and white coat, but one expects to see some results with time (even in a Practice such as ours where the "results" are sought primarily by dropping all seeking and thought of "results" ... all to work the Big Cure! )

    And we also need a great Gratitude Trust and a Willingness to Yield that is much like faith ... More on that below ...

    Gassho, J

    This is something I preach from time to time, but I thought it worth saying again. Perhaps it is good to shout it clearly. Namely, in Buddhism, we have a strange attitude toward life and the universe ...

    I would not call us "theists". And I would not call us "atheists"**. Yet we have a very definite gratitude, faith and confidence in this realm in which we live.

    For we see and experience clearly the deep interconnection of all phenomena of this world, taste that our birth in sentient form was not but random outcome, sense a reason and direction to human life and all of creation, honor this place, express deep gratitude, trust and a willingness to allow all to be.

    We are not "theists", for we do not ultimately require or cling to a particular 'god' or 'gods' to run the show. (That's not to say that we can't if we wish, and one can be a Zen Buddhist or Zennist while a Christian, Muslim, Jew or the like. We can. We neither require a "god", nor push any god away.).

    We are not "atheists", as we do not see reality through nihilistic eyes, as merely cold, dead, chaotic, random and pointless, without guiding hand, system or path.*** (Again, one might combine Zen practice with such an outlook, but it might make one's practice something cold and dead in result).

    I sometimes compare our attitude to that of innocent babes with a deep trust in this source and world that birthed us, that feeds us and which somehow allows us air to breathe. Sure, it is not a perfect place as we might always wish it to be (and certainly, if I were in charge of its making, I might choose to do things a bit differently), but it is an amazing place and a miracle that we are here. Do you know all that was involved in allowing that to be, in allowing you to be ... from the stars ... to the flowers and trees ... every twist and turn of history and natural conditions that allowed you to be?

    No, as the spring time comes following the winter, and life returns ... I say that we are grateful to that which allows it all to be, and us to be. Thank you.

    In dropping our sense of separate self, we trade our limited perspective (as but tiny cogs, pointlessly spinning) for a vision of the whole "Universal Machine" ... 'tis precisely us, and we are that. Amazing!! AMAZING!

    Perhaps what we have is a deep faith in "god" ... but without the need or demand to know her name, her story or all that she wishes of us. We place no demands upon her, even the demand that she be "god".

    We are alive, so I expect we should live! Gee, if something or someone went to all the trouble to let that be possible, then we should just go ahead with it and live our life well

    ... and, though I think it unlikely, even if it all just happened for no purpose at all, we had best go ahead with it and live our life well!. In any case, live life well!

    Seemingly, when we think of all the endless crossroads at which history might have gone otherwise ... all that was necessary for our lives to be here and now ... we should not be here. Yet here we are ... leading to the conclusion that we should be here. And whatever brought us here, we trust. Thank you.

    We express a willingness to yield, to allow, to embrace. We Celebrate and Sink Right In!

    AMAZING! Shout it from the Rooftops!

    Endless deep bows of gratitude.

    Gassho, Jundo

    ** Though one might be perhaps a "Theist" or an "Atheist" and still pursue Zen Practice, just as one might be a liberal or conservative, believer in U.F.O.s or not, man or woman, tall or short. Perhaps the only beliefs that might not fit with Zen Practice would be, for example, being a member of the KKK or a bomb-throwing terrorist ... due to the anger and violence there.

    *** I have also been rightly criticized for associating all "atheists" with a nihilistic view of the universe, cold and dead and without purpose. I have since been corrected by several such folks, who let me know that not all atheists are of such a view.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Nindo's Avatar
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    Great faith, great doubt, great determination are called the three pillars of Zen. May be a little more popular on the Rinzai side than in Soto, but I think I read it from some Soto sources as well.

    Personally I do think faith is important, in the sense of trust, and I don't have a problem to call that faith.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Daido Loori
    Most of the work [in Zen practice] takes place while sitting zazen, because in reality there's nothing anyone can give us. There's nothing that we lack. Each one of us is perfect and complete. That's why it is said that there are no Zen teachers and nothing to teach. But this truth must be realized by each one of us. Great faith, great doubt, and great determination are three essentials for that realization. It is a boundless faith in oneself and in the ability to realize oneself and make oneself free, and a deep and penetrating doubt which ask: Who am I? What is life? What is truth? What is God? What is reality?

    This great faith and great doubt are in dynamic tension with each other, and work to provide the real cutting edge of koan practice. When great faith and great doubt are also accompanied by great determination (the determination of "Seven times knocked down, eight times up"), we have at our disposal the power necessary to break through our delusive way of thinking and realize the full potential of our lives.
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-30-2014 at 04:45 AM.

  8. #8
    Thank you so much for this topic. Both interesting and inspiring.

    I concur to what already has been put so nicely be others. Some faith of the "it works"-kind is needed. I don't truly know whether or not my chair will collapse the next time I sit down but so far it hasn't so I go on using it "in good faith as you might might say. If you're comfortable with your own practice and feel that it works it probably does and some kind of confidence in the dharma (in lure of the classical "faith") naturally arises.

    As a secular type of Buddhist I see the dharma as a method (Soto Zen being my favorite handle on it) not as a religion or faith in the ordinary sense. I have confidence in this method both because it makes sense theoretically speaking and because in so far as I can I have observed that it works. I go with what works for me. Zen for me is about living as it is. Living in the fact rather than the wish. So I go on because I can't see any good reason not to. Sometimes there is flowery language but I don't mind as I am a fan of words and philosophy and interested in religion anyway. Also it's to be expected from the context in which the teaching arose. It still makes a profound sense either way. As for the grand purpose and hereafter and faith I won't pretend to know anything or act as if I did. I try to go with my integrity i. e. my educated guesswork.

    Gassho and thank you to all for the opputionity to ponder this issue.

    >>> atheist not bleak.jpg
    ~ Please remember that I am very fallible.

    Gassho
    Aske
    #SAT TODAY!

  9. #9
    Treeleaf Engineer Seimyo's Avatar
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    Thank you for this thread and for giving me comfort with the "F-word" again.

    Gassho
    Seimyo

    明 Seimyō (Christhatischris)

  10. #10
    At some point Jundo said he prefers the words "trust" and "dedication" rather than "faith" or "belief." Those sit better with me. Sorry my searching is failing, I can't find those posts. Maybe he never said it :P
    Gassho,
    Kaishin

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaishin View Post
    the words "trust" and "dedication" rather than "faith" or "belief."
    Yes Kaishin, I too agree ... if I use this Sangha as an example: I "trust" this Sangha and I am "dedicated" to this Sangha. To me these words more grounded and concrete in this moment and not just an idea/thought. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  12. #12
    Very interesting and helpful thread, thank you all.

    Gassho,
    Danny

  13. #13
    Senior Member Joyo's Avatar
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    Hi Lisa, I can definitely relate to what you are saying. I recall, back when I first started practicing Buddhism, reading somewhere that Buddhist "faith" was faith in the practice. And my mind often goes back to that now. I have faith in the dharma, in this sangha, in the teachings as I have experienced results. (and sometimes those results are just the letting go of expectations of any results at all) Ideas and/or thoughts, I don't really give those much thought anymore either. But faith in my practice, yes, most definitely. Thank you for sharing, and for being part of this sangha!!

    Gassho
    Joyo

  14. #14
    Hi All,

    Wow, so many great and thought-provoking responses!


    The word that keeps coming up here is trust, and I think that’s what it’s about. Daitetsu, you are right about the (non) fruits of practice, and direct experience. This is what sets this kind of faith apart from blind faith in dogma or individuals. Joyo, yes, this is it; faith in the practice! The balance of trust, faith, doubt, determination, confidence, and dedication that so many have mentioned is essential.


    Thank you Hans for the new word: shraddha, yes, that’s it! Kind of like riding a bike or learning to swim, in the beginning we have no trust and we overthink everything, but when we relax, have trust and that willingness to yield, suddenly... we’re doing it! I am starting to feel Saijun’s “inexorable pull of the dharma.” It’s exhilarating and at the same time, finally, so simple and restful.


    So much wisdom here, such generosity. Deep bows and gratitude to you all.

    Gassho
    Lisa
    Last edited by raindrop; 07-29-2014 at 09:08 PM.

  15. #15
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    The F-bomb

    A wonderful thread.

    Faith is trust isn"it? We are comfortable with 'trust" but not 'faith?' Perhaps because of the cultural connotation of the "f" word.....

    Zen practice requires great faith, great doubt, and great determination. Faith for me means nothing more than having sufficient trust in oneself and ones Sangha. In oneself as the ultimate source of the wisdom we seek, and in the Sangha to support us on that path.

    Language in my view is important. I hate to surrender cultural ownership of the "f" word .....

    My opinion only.

    Deep bows
    Yugen
    Last edited by Yugen; 07-29-2014 at 09:19 PM.
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  16. #16
    I think most of us who come from a Christian/Catholic environment learnt somehow to identify "faith" with "fear".
    That's what (on-purpose or not) we were taught, or what many of us understood.
    And thus the "f" word got ambiguous.

    Also my humble opinion.


    Gassho

  17. #17
    Hi Yugen,

    yes, I agree completely, language and words are important. The word faith is different from the word trust, it seems to have a deeper idea of surrender to it. Maybe this is why it was a scary and repellent word to me for so long. I do not want to be a mindless faith zombie, giving over my capacity to make decisions and use my own discernment. I say we take this word back from those who would make it the same as "religious belief". I'm going to keep using the F-word!

    Gassho
    Lisa

  18. #18
    Senior Member Clark's Avatar
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    Hello all,

    I don't have much wiser to say than some of the great posts already listed. It just occurs to me to share my own experience. The cultural religions I grew up with DO talk about faith in different light. Buddha advises us to experiment and see for OURSELVES if what he teaches is true. So if we define faith as trust; then yes, we do trust that at least what Buddha teaches makes sense enough to put it into practice. For me this has a great deal of spiritual integrity. Many of the more Judeo-Christian religions in the West that I have been exposed to, basically say faith is more belief in something that really cannot be proved. Maybe we will know when we die. But for now, have faith. Big difference in my opinion.

    Gassho
    C

  19. #19
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    In the most pedantic sense, trust and faith are two very different concepts. One is born from experience, history, and understanding (that would be trust). The other from hope without proof (faith).

    To put it in an even simpler way, my dogs have trust in me. Every day I feed them a treat at the same time, in the same place. They go to this place around 5 minutes before I do, and wait. This waiting is born of trust - in their direct experience, at X time, in Y place, I provide a delicious snack. If I were to adopt a new dog, and it were to join them in waiting on the first day, this would be faith at first (if we're sitting here, it must be good) because they're dogs - they cannot communicate the reason why they do this to the new one. Eventually it would be replaced by trust, as they found the practice to have merit.

    What I appreciate about buddhism is that it asks for trust, as Clark has referenced from the Buddha's own teaching. YMMV when practicing, but Buddha asked for nothing more than that the listener first trust, then verify. That trust however is not trust in the Buddha - the trust is in the reasoning that brought the listener to the Buddha, because we can communicate the reasons why we do what we do, which most simply put are expressed as the four noble truths. If we haven't, with our own lives, experienced that life is suffering, than nothing else about buddhism makes sense - but we all accept this as true, ergo the rest can follow. No faith necessary, or even recommended IMO as it is diametrically opposed to practice.

    Gassho,
    Morgan

  20. #20
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    I respect and admire the wisdom and thoughtfulness expressed in this thread. You are all helping my practice as I work out the relationship between faith and trust. I've had trouble with the word faith for a long time.

    It's hard to wrestle with the concepts of faith and trust, particularly when so many of us (myself most of all!) are strongly rooted (family, culture) in the Christian tradition. The notion of faith (as an opposite to evidence-based reason, scientific discourse, or personal experience) is exemplified for me by C.S. Lewis' exhortation to engage in "willing suspension of disbelief." In Zen we are encouraged to do the opposite.... interpret the teachings through the lenses of our own experience... Zen has to walk the talk or we drop out pretty quickly..... it's important not to switch off our questioning mind. Doubt is a huge part of our practice (and it is for many Christians as well - think of Mother Theresa's writings and crisis of "faith...")

    Language is important, and at the same time Zen encourages us to let go of the philosophical structures and dichotomies we have grown up with. Faith and trust are often posited in a dichotomous and contradictory relationship. If we "let go," it might be possible to see faith in another light. It is my opinion that faith and respect for one's own experience are not incompatible; indeed they are at the heart of our practice. Think for a moment of the sutra "Faith Mind" - to trust in the true nature of things is to have faith that things are indeed a certain way......

    The Great Way is not difficult; It only avoids picking and choosing.
    When love and hate are both absent,
    Everything becomes clear and undisguised.
    Make the smallest distinction, however,
    And heaven and earth are set infinitely apart.
    If you wish to see the truth,
    Then hold no opinions for or against anything.
    To set up what you like against what you dislike
    Is a disease of the mind.
    When the deep meaning of things is not understood,
    The mind’s essential peace is disturbed to no avail.
    The Way is perfect like vast space,
    Where nothing is lacking and nothing is in excess.
    Indeed, it is due to our choosing to accept or reject
    That we do not see the true nature of things.
    Live neither in the entanglements of outer things
    Nor in inner feelings of emptiness.
    Be serene in the oneness of things
    And such erroneous views will disappear by themselves.
    To deny the reality of things
    Is to miss their reality;
    To assert the emptiness of things
    Is to miss their reality.
    The more you talk and think about it,
    The further astray you wander from the truth.
    Stop talking and thinking
    And there is nothing that you will not be able to know.

    If we have an understanding in the "reality of things" is that not trust in true nature or the oneness of the universe, or the Way? Is it faith, or trust?

    We may decide not to use the word "faith" at all in our practice.... and use the word "trust." Each inidividual's practice and perspective is important, and the teachings are vehicles to be used as appropriate for each person... For me, understanding the word faith and challenging its cultural context is to unlock its beauty.

    Just some thoughts..... and I stress this is my opinion only. I'm terrible at hermeneutics.

    Deep bows,
    Yugen
    Last edited by Yugen; 07-30-2014 at 06:05 PM.
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  21. #21
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    ok, guys.

    Faith and trust are very different.

    trust arises out of the dual, the relative. You trust somebody, a principle something out there. in the action of trusting, you bridge two realities.

    In faith, at least in our tradition, you allow Buddha to sit you, you allow the universe to fully express itself as you. it is being one with, merged with, beyond ideas, hopes and the likes.

    please, don't think it is the same.

    gassho


    Taigu
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu View Post
    ok, guys.

    Faith and trust are very different.

    trust arises out of the dual, the relative. You trust somebody, a principle something out there. in the action of trusting, you bridge two realities.

    In faith, at least in our tradition, you allow Buddha to sit you, you allow the universe to fully express itself as you. it is being one with, merged with, beyond ideas, hopes and the likes.

    please, don't think it is the same.

    gassho


    Taigu
    Thank you Taigu. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  23. #23
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    The F-bomb

    Taigu, thank you.

    Deep bows
    Yugen
    Last edited by Yugen; 07-31-2014 at 04:02 AM.
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  24. #24

  25. #25
    Thanks, Taigu. Understood.

    Kind regards. /\
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

  26. #26

  27. #27
    Deep bows, gassho,
    John

  28. #28
    Lovely, Taigu.

    Perhaps best as neither "faith" nor "trust" nor "conviction" nor "belief", but just embodying and expressing Reality As It Is.

    And you can trust us on that! (One has to, until one no longer needs to merely trust)

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-31-2014 at 04:18 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  29. #29
    Thanks Jundo. Understood.

    Kind regards. /\
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

  30. #30
    Senior Member Myosha's Avatar
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    Thanks to all.


    Gassho,
    Myosha
    Practice with humility, respect all beings, avoid attachments, give rise to prajña from your own awareness, put an end to delusions - Hui-neng

  31. #31
    While I was looking around I found this lovely quote by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi on Faith/Trust, from one of his talks on the Lotus Sutra.

    It is in response to a student's question (and the grammar is left in the broken English he spoke, yet clear as a bell) ... Big Mind, Reality, sweeping in and sweeping out "faith" and "trust" and "subject" and "object" ...

    So,That's the Truth & Keep the Faith!


    ----

    Student F: In this chapter [of the Lotus Sutra] it says that—Buddha's speaking to his
    disciples and he says that they should evince the strength of great
    faith towards the dharma of the Buddha. How—how do you evince—
    ... —how do you acquire or evince strength of faith? How do
    you evince—how do you acquire or evince strength of faith? How do
    you acquire faith?

    Suzuki-rōshi: Acquire—how we acquire what—faith? Faith.

    Student F: Trust in the teachings.

    Suzuki-rōshi: Yeah. This is, you know, actually only one way, you
    know. We—if Buddhist put emphasis on faith, you may feel strange.
    So I am trying not to say "faith" or [laughs], you know, "belief." I am
    trying. But actually there is no other way, you know, to. In this point,
    I think all religion will be the same. And it is that—you know, the
    other day I explained in this way, you know: Eyes cannot see eyes,
    you know, although eyes can see many things, but eyes cannot see
    themselves. How eyes will know themselves is to put faith in it. And
    that is, you know, not to be involved in dualistic idea. You know,
    when we say, "Don't be involved in dualistic idea," it means that
    "Don't be involved in idea of object or subject." Actually, Buddhist put
    emphasis on this point. The ... difference between
    Hīnayāna teaching and Mahāyāna teaching is this point. The view of
    substantiality, you know, is to put object in front of ourselves and to
    say, "Here is a book."
    That is usual understanding, but is not real—is not complete and is not
    real. When we say, "Here is," you know, "this book," it means that,
    "Here is my mind." [Laughs.] "My mind is here," you know. "My
    mind is looking at it." When you reflect on yourself, you know, your
    mind is projected in objective world and you say "This is my mind,"
    but actually my mind—your mind is here [patting self], you know, not
    there. So my mind [patting self] is not something which you can see,
    which you can understand. When you understand in that way, my
    mind—you mind is all over. Wherever you see something, that is your
    mind also. Do you understand? My mind is there. Nothing can be
    just objective. It—things which we see is subjective and objective,
    and my mind is always working on it. In this sense, this is so-called-it
    "essence of mind." Mind which follows—which is everywhere, and
    mind which create everything. And that mind is not particular mind to
    our- [partial word]—myself or to you. It is more big mind; it is not
    small mind because it is everywhere.

    On what [laughs]—what was you question? [Laughter.] I lost your
    question [laughs, laughter].

    Student F: It was about faith.

    Suzuki-rōshi: Hmm?

    Student F: It was how to—how to acquire faith.

    Suzuki-rōshi: Faith, yeah—acquire faith. You know, that kind of
    mind, you know, is not the mind which you can put, you know, as a—
    which you can take as a face of object, you know, because everything
    is—that mind, you know, is on everything or in everything I don't
    know [laughs], but that mind is everywhere. Do you understand that
    mind? That kind of mind—to understand that kind of mind is just to,
    you know [laughs]—that is it, you know. No need to explain. But if—
    because you have always think or believe in something in term of here
    or there, or great or small, right or wrong, we must say something
    about it. But this is the ultimate truth which we should accept.
    You may say, "If we shut our eyes, even though we shut our eyes,
    things exist," you know. But that is some created idea by your mind.
    So where—whatever you do, wherever you go, that mind is—follows
    you, even though you don't figure out exactly what it is. So the only
    way is to put faith on it. Then you will have, you know, freedom from
    everything. That kind of mind is essence of mind. That kind of
    understanding is real understanding of emptiness.

    Maybe, you know, you don't accept [laughs] what I say right now.
    Maybe it takes time. Do you understand what I am saying?
    This kind of teaching is not Hīnayāna or Mahāyāna. It is ultimate
    truth. When Lotus Sūtra—knowing this point says—"you put faith in it"
    means you should know this—know this mind. This is essence of
    mind, or big mind. Okay? Did you understand [laughs]?

    So Buddhist doesn't, you know, accept any kind of mind, you know,
    except this mind. We don't accept just objective being or subjective
    being. We don't say mind create things, or things produce function of
    mind—mind-like function, or material first, or mind first. We don't say
    so. Whatever it is, it is mind and b- [partial word]—materialistic—
    material and spiritual. That is, you know—and we only discuss
    something which is both material and spiritual. This is the golden rule
    of Buddhism [laughs, laughter].
    ...

    Student G: The word "faith" is maybe not a good word.

    Suzuki-rōshi: No. No, not at all good. So I don't like to use that
    words—"faith," you know. It seems to have something [to do with]
    "to put faith in it," you know. It is not so, you know. All the—all the
    things we see is just good expedience of, you know—good means of
    suggesting the true ultimate reality. So not only Small Vehicle, but all
    the—all the teaching and all the being, whatever it is, it is good means
    of Buddha. Who is Buddha? [Laughs.] We don't know. It is not
    something we can describe. It is beyond description, but something
    we should—we have to, you know, believe in it. Without that, we
    cannot think, we cannot say anything, we cannot do anything.
    Nothing exist.

    To find out that essence of mind is—or how to talk about the essence
    of mind is good skillful means of Buddha. So he is always talking
    about [that] which is not possible to talk about. That is skillful mean—
    what it means by skillful mean. So for Buddhists there is no other
    teaching than skillful means. Whatever the teaching may be, that is
    just skillful means.

    http://www.shunryusuzuki.com/suzuki/.../69-11-07V.pdf
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-31-2014 at 05:10 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  32. #32
    Senior Member Clark's Avatar
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    Thank you Taigu and Jundo, and Shunryu Suzuki.

    C

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Clark View Post
    Thank you Taigu and Jundo, and Shunryu Suzuki.

    C
    Yes, I too enjoyed that view from Suzuki Roshi! =)

    Gassho
    Shingen
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  34. #34
    Piping in here a little late...cause I thought F-bomb meant..you know, F-bomb, and there isn't much to add to an f-bomb.

    My own, strictly personal, view is that aversion to devotional practice is an unfortunate part of contemporary western Buddhism. For some years I was the bell ringer and basics describer for the local community of another Buddhist tradition. It was very common to have people show up because we were not mom and dad's church. That usually involved aversion to anything "religious". This troubled me because I have a religious character. A big part of practice especially early on was devotional... opening the heart, having the heart break in the presence of unconditional compassion. Was it dualistic? It involved imagination and contemplation...so I guess so, but it was what opened my heart.

    Once I wrote down this little note and sealed it with wax..



    Perfect Tathagata
    Beautiful Tathagata

    I open my heart to your blessing
    I open my mind to your dharma
    I have deep faith in your way



    When it was written it was real, and it is real. As real as anything. The presence of unconditional compassion, in whatever form, breaks the heart. That heartbreaking changed everything.

    Gassho
    Daizan
    大山

  35. #35
    Thank you for this thread Lisa,

    I spent some time yesterday wondering if to say one has a 'faith' or one has a 'practice' is the same thing?

    Like many members writing here I used to have a problem with the connotations of 'faith' as rooted in Christianity. A book that helped me a great deal is Thich Nhat Hanh's 'Living Buddha, Living Christ'.

    I've read this book twice and intend to read it again because I'm experiencing a softening of my defences and feel able to incorporate the notion of faith into my practice.

    Hanh writes ' In Buddhism, the source of our energy is faith in our daily practice ...... it is a kind of experiential faith.'

    and 'Our faith must be alive. It cannot be just a set of rigid beliefs and notions .... Faith implies practice, living our daily life in mindfulness.'

    This sits easy with me.

    Gassho

    Willow

  36. #36
    Hello,

    the original question and this thread in general are great reminders that part of our own journey of awakening has to do with recognizing and dealing with old patterns.

    There is nothing wrong with the word faith at all. There is nothing wrong with the word surrender either.

    What is interesting is to reflect on what it was that made us "attach" to a certain gut reaction when hearing/using a certain word. Different fingers point at the moon, often it is not the pointing finger that is blocking the moonlight, but "ourselves". Yugen already referenced mighty Seng Ts'an. Just stop picking and choosing

    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Chudo Mongen, Ordained Novice Priest-in-Training

  37. #37
    Senior Member Joyo's Avatar
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    Great discussion, thanks everyone. Jundo, Taigu, wonderful teaching. Much thanks

    Gassho,
    Joyo

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