Faith in Zen

Faith in Zen

Postby LastLegend » Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:21 am

What is faith in Zen?

Post passages, opinions, and whatever relevant here to increase our understanding of faith.

:twothumbsup:
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Re: Faith in Zen

Postby Lindama » Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:25 am

Two words describe zen:

"not always so"
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Re: Faith in Zen

Postby reddust » Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:26 am

LastLegend wrote:What is faith in Zen?

Post passages, opinions, and whatever relevant here.

:twothumbsup:


My first teacher is a Korean Zen Monk he taught me there are two kinds of faith, faith based on ignorance and the other kind of faith is based on teachings of the Buddha, the help of a wise person who you know and admire for along time. Someone who has shown over a long time they can be trusted, and your own experience. You know the teachings will work because you know it in your heart and you've seen it happen in your own life.
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Re: Faith in Zen

Postby Lindama » Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:38 am

reddust wrote:My first teacher is a Korean Zen Monk he taught me there are two kinds of faith, faith based on ignorance and the other kind of faith is based on teachings of the Buddha, the help of a wise person who you know and admire for along time. Someone who has shown over a long time they can be trusted, and your own experience. You know the teachings will work because you know it in your heart and you've seen it happen in your own life.


oh my, I'm recovering from 15 years in zen, I can't subscribe to that.

Zen is a wonderful place.... if you are a lamp unto yourself.
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Re: Faith in Zen

Postby Wayfarer » Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:41 am

The Buddhist term for faith - not a Zen term in particular - is Śraddhā meaning literally 'to place your heart upon'. I think it is indispensable but the meaning is somewhat different than in Christianity where it means 'believe no matter what'. In Buddhism it is simply confidence in the teaching, and, I think, also what keeps you going through those patches where you start to loose sight of what you're practicing for.

I rather like the well-known Alan Watts quote on the matter:

To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don't grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.


So it is letting go more than clinging.
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
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Re: Faith in Zen

Postby reddust » Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:48 am

Lindama wrote:
reddust wrote:My first teacher is a Korean Zen Monk he taught me there are two kinds of faith, faith based on ignorance and the other kind of faith is based on teachings of the Buddha, the help of a wise person who you know and admire for along time. Someone who has shown over a long time they can be trusted, and your own experience. You know the teachings will work because you know it in your heart and you've seen it happen in your own life.


oh my, I'm recovering from 15 years in zen, I can't subscribe to that.

Zen is a wonderful place.... if you are a lamp unto yourself.


Lindama, I studied with Sunim for 3 years, a couple times a month at his Korean Temple, the first two years I went every Sunday and babysat the kids too. He never asked me to become a Zen Buddhist, he taught me through example on how to be a good person and gave me my bodhisattva vows. The Korean Zen Buddhist taught me what compassion is, they put up with my redneck ways, I will always love them no matter what and their kind of Zen. Sunim helped me develop strong faith, as Jeeprs says, he taught me how to swim :namaste:
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Re: Faith in Zen

Postby Lindama » Tue Jan 14, 2014 9:01 am

That's lovely Reddust... that is where the rubber hits the road. It's a diff vib hearing your experience. Now, that is zen

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Re: Faith in Zen

Postby LastLegend » Tue Jan 14, 2014 9:17 am

jeeprs wrote:The Buddhist term for faith - not a Zen term in particular - is Śraddhā meaning literally 'to place your heart upon'. I think it is indispensable but the meaning is somewhat different than in Christianity where it means 'believe no matter what'. In Buddhism it is simply confidence in the teaching, and, I think, also what keeps you going through those patches where you start to loose sight of what you're practicing for.

I rather like the well-known Alan Watts quote on the matter:

To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don't grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.


So it is letting go more than clinging.



To my understanding, faith = mind. This very mind is you and not looking for the external or any thoughts to justify it. Have no doubt this very mind is you.
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Re: Faith in Zen

Postby smcj » Tue Jan 14, 2014 9:39 am

The buddhist term for faith…..is Śraddhā meaning literally 'to place your heart upon'.


I hadn't heard that before and like it. The literal translation is usually precise, but my rock'n'roll knee-jerk interpretation on what that might mean is "to invest oneself (in Dharma) with trust."

I'm not a translator or scholar, just doing a high school level interpretation of something I've just heard. Please feel free to disagree or offer a different interpretation.
A human being has his limits. And thus, in every conceivable way, with every possible means, he tries to make the teaching enter into his own limits. ChNN
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Re: Faith in Zen

Postby plwk » Tue Jan 14, 2014 10:43 am

More here
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Re: Faith in Zen

Postby Astus » Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:31 am

There are various forms of faith. There is the general faith in the Three Jewels, common to all Buddhists. There is the very first stage of faith within the ten faiths in the 52 stages system of the bodhisattva path, something one could call Mahayana faith. Such Mahayana faith has various interpretations depending on what source we look at. In Zen it is discussed for instance by Bojo Jinul, who identifies it with faith in buddha-mind, an initial insight into the nature of mind. Then there is great faith among the three essentials of Zen practice as taught first by Gaofeng Yuanmiao, and that is mostly about faith in one's ability to reach enlightenment (i.e. a form of faith in buddha-nature) and faith in the practice itself. In general, Zen teaches the faith that mind is buddha, and that is the highest faith of suchness as taught in Mahayana, where faith is in fact equal to enlightenment.

Dogen writes (Practical Advice On Pursuing the Buddhist Truth):

"In general, students of the truth want to be caught by the truth. To be caught by the truth is to lose all trace of enlightenment. Practitioner s of the Buddhist truth should first of all believe in Buddhism. Belief in Buddhism should be the belief that we ourselves originally ex ist inside the truth, without delusion, without wrong images, without disturbances, without anything extra or anything missing, and without mistakes. These are the kind of beliefs we should establish, and this is how we should make the truth clear. Then according to these beliefs, we practice. Th is is our basis for pursuing the truth."

Sources to look at:

Sung-bae Park: Buddhist Faith and Sudden Enlightenment
The Aspiration for Enlightenment through the Perfection of Faith in The Awakening Of Faith In Mahayana 3.1
The Ten Faiths
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Faith in Zen

Postby shel » Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:59 pm

jeeprs wrote:The Buddhist term for faith - not a Zen term in particular - is Śraddhā meaning literally 'to place your heart upon'. I think it is indispensable but the meaning is somewhat different than in Christianity where it means 'believe no matter what'. In Buddhism it is simply confidence in the teaching, and, I think, also what keeps you going through those patches where you start to loose sight of what you're practicing for.

I rather like the well-known Alan Watts quote on the matter:

To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don't grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.


So it is letting go more than clinging.

Faith doesn't mean 'believe no matter what' in Christianity, or any other religion for that matter, and that's what Watts indicates. Watts is not saying to "let go" or don't cling, he is literally saying to "TRUST YOURSELF." We can rely on the Three Jewels in Buddhism, and that's all well and good, but that is about securing meaning and may have little or nothing to do with faith. Again, this is what Watts is saying. Faith is essentially about being responsible. Do adults really need to be taught responsibility? Can an adult be taught responsibility? Do adults actually not know what the right thing to do is in ordinary circumstances? Even sociopaths, who do not possess a conscience, learn how to behave responsibly by adulthood.

Whenever someone tells me something like "I'm a religious person," I know not to trust them. I know not to trust them because they are relying on something outside themselves, a mere association, to convey their reliability or good moral conduct. It is most likely an illusion they've created for themselves, and the illusion they advertise when saying "I'm a religious person."
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Re: Faith in Zen

Postby smcj » Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:13 pm

To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don't grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.


So it is letting go more than clinging.

Faith doesn't mean 'believe no matter what' in Christianity, or any other religion for that matter, and that's what Watts indicates. Watts is not saying to "let go" or don't cling, he is literally saying to "TRUST YOURSELF." We can rely on the Three Jewels in Buddhism, and that's all well and good, but that is about securing meaning and may have little or nothing to do with faith. Again, this is what Watts is saying. Faith is essentially about being responsible. Do adults really need to be taught responsibility? Can an adult be taught responsibility? Do adults actually not know what the right thing to do is in ordinary circumstances? Even sociopaths, who do not possess a conscience, learn how to behave responsibly by adulthood.

Whenever someone tells me something like "I'm a religious person," I know not to trust them. I know not to trust them because they are relying on something outside themselves, a mere association, to convey their reliability or good moral conduct. It is most likely an illusion they've created for themselves, and the illusion they advertise when saying "I'm a religious person."

In a TB context (not Zen, as this thread is oriented) I've heard it said that when one "Takes Refuge" one is taking refuge from one's own unawareness, refuge from one's own mistaken interpretation of life. Somebody else, in this case Shakyamuni, has found the correct answer, so one takes refuge in enlightened awareness. So the idea here is that you can't trust your present mentality, but you can trust your ability to change.

But that idea flies like a lead balloon here in the West.
A human being has his limits. And thus, in every conceivable way, with every possible means, he tries to make the teaching enter into his own limits. ChNN
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Re: Faith in Zen

Postby reddust » Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:30 pm

Through my first teachers Sunim's compassion I learned great faith.

From my memory if my first lessons with Sunim there are 3 essential elements in Zen, Great Faith, Great Courage, Great Question. This elements are likened to the legs on a 3 legged stool. "Without all three the stool will not stand. Great faith means simple keeping one pointed effort not matter what happens in your life." Sunim sent me to an English speaking meditation master SN Goenka and that's where I learned to meditate like my heads on fire, for me anyway that took great courage to sit there while I was burning up or melting down and stay focused on object of meditation! I still have a great question "What am I?" I don't know :thinking:

This was taken from Zen Master Seung Sahn's book called "The Compass of Zen." Shan talks about water dropping on a rock over and over for hundreds of years until there is a hole worn through the rock. This is the same as great faith: all your energy is only keeping one point, no matter what. "I must attain my true self." Every day try, try, try for ten thousand years, nonstop. Then after some time, you can say, Ahhhh! That's my true self!" Or another way to explain great faith, a chicken sits on her eggs, keeping them warm so they will hatch. This may take three weeks, but during this time, she never has lazy mind. She nudges the eggs position every now and then. But she never lets the eggs grow cold. She knows that if she stays away too long, and the eggs become cold even once, then no baby chicks will about. If some thinking appears, or if she follows her desire-mind--maybe the chicken goes away to look for a boyfriend, or to find some good situation--the eggs will grow cold; her babies will die. So the chicken only sits there, never moving, nonstop. She has only one direction. She has no "my opinion" and "my condition" or "my situation," After some time, the chicks appear, and gather around their mother,, "Bee bee! Bee bee! Bee Bee!" Then this chicken can believe in herself. "I made these chicks I cared for them for twenty-one days." That is very wonderful! The mind that only goes straight like this is called great faith. :namaste:
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Re: Faith in Zen

Postby jimmi » Wed Jan 15, 2014 12:51 am

there is one word
for faith in zen
Always
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Re: Faith in Zen

Postby shel » Wed Jan 15, 2014 4:33 am

Why did the chicken cross the road? Cuz she only knows one direction. :tongue:
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Re: Faith in Zen

Postby shel » Wed Jan 15, 2014 4:37 am

smcj wrote:
Faith doesn't mean 'believe no matter what' in Christianity, or any other religion for that matter, and that's what Watts indicates. Watts is not saying to "let go" or don't cling, he is literally saying to "TRUST YOURSELF." We can rely on the Three Jewels in Buddhism, and that's all well and good, but that is about securing meaning and may have little or nothing to do with faith. Again, this is what Watts is saying. Faith is essentially about being responsible. Do adults really need to be taught responsibility? Can an adult be taught responsibility? Do adults actually not know what the right thing to do is in ordinary circumstances? Even sociopaths, who do not possess a conscience, learn how to behave responsibly by adulthood.

Whenever someone tells me something like "I'm a religious person," I know not to trust them. I know not to trust them because they are relying on something outside themselves, a mere association, to convey their reliability or good moral conduct. It is most likely an illusion they've created for themselves, and the illusion they advertise when saying "I'm a religious person."

In a TB context (not Zen, as this thread is oriented) I've heard it said that when one "Takes Refuge" one is taking refuge from one's own unawareness, refuge from one's own mistaken interpretation of life. Somebody else, in this case Shakyamuni, has found the correct answer, so one takes refuge in enlightened awareness. So the idea here is that you can't trust your present mentality, but you can trust your ability to change.

But that idea flies like a lead balloon here in the West.

I'd say that if you can't trust yourself then there is no hope. Mindless followers are like pawns. Clearly the world has enough pawns. What the world needs is for more people to take responsibility, in my opinion.
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Re: Faith in Zen

Postby smcj » Wed Jan 15, 2014 4:50 am

shel wrote:
In a TB context (not Zen, as this thread is oriented) I've heard it said that when one "Takes Refuge" one is taking refuge from one's own unawareness, refuge from one's own mistaken interpretation of life. Somebody else, in this case Shakyamuni, has found the correct answer, so one takes refuge in enlightened awareness. So the idea here is that you can't trust your present mentality, but you can trust your ability to change.

But that idea flies like a lead balloon here in the West.

I'd say that if you can't trust yourself then there is no hope.

Renumciation comes when one understands that there is no hope for lasting happiness in samsara.

Not necessarily a Zen perspective, but it is fundamental to Shravakaya and most Mahayana to admit that one suffers from unawareness, or "not knowing". "Not knowing" what? How things really are--specifically how we really are. So therefore the way we assume both the outer and inner world to be is flawed. It is like having some malware in our operating system. But we can be led out our delusional version of life, and the Dharma teaches us how, step by step. Being made to understand that any arrangement of people, places and things cannot give us lasting happiness is one of the first steps.

…unless of course you're a Dzogchenpa, but that's a bit different yet again.
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Re: Faith in Zen

Postby shel » Wed Jan 15, 2014 4:59 am

smcj wrote:
shel wrote:
In a TB context (not Zen, as this thread is oriented) I've heard it said that when one "Takes Refuge" one is taking refuge from one's own unawareness, refuge from one's own mistaken interpretation of life. Somebody else, in this case Shakyamuni, has found the correct answer, so one takes refuge in enlightened awareness. So the idea here is that you can't trust your present mentality, but you can trust your ability to change.

But that idea flies like a lead balloon here in the West.

I'd say that if you can't trust yourself then there is no hope.

Renumciation comes when one understands that there is no hope for lasting happiness in samsara.

Not necessarily a Zen perspective, but it is fundamental to Shravakaya and most Mahayana to admit that one suffers from unawareness, or "not knowing". "Not knowing" what? How things really are--specifically how we really are. So therefore the way we assume both the outer and inner world to be is flawed. It is like having some malware in our operating system. But we can be led out our delusional version of life, and the Dharma teaches us how, step by step. Being made to understand that any arrangement of people, places and things cannot give us lasting happiness is one of the first steps.

…unless of course you're a Dzogchenpa, but that's a bit different yet again.

You speak in extremely broad terms, Smcj, and of course there is nothing wrong with that. According to Buddhism, suffering does indeed begin with ignorance.

Are you suggesting that renunciation, if that's what you meant to say, is synonymous with faith?
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Re: Faith in Zen

Postby smcj » Wed Jan 15, 2014 5:23 am

shel wrote:You speak in extremely broad terms, Smcj, and of course there is nothing wrong with that. According to Buddhism, suffering does indeed begin with ignorance.

Are you suggesting that renunciation, if that's what you meant to say, is synonymous with faith?

Faith in Zen is the title of this thread. I don't know anything about that, except what I'm learning here.

But the initial type of faith that I can see in the Shravakayana is confidence in the correctness of what the Buddha taught. In order to have that confidence it seems necessary to admit that we somehow have it all wrong, or at least that is my current understanding. So faith and renunciation are two sides of the same coin (imho). Or if you prefer, the carrot and the stick.

From a few posts higher up in this thread:

smcj wrote:
The buddhist term for faith…..is Śraddhā meaning literally 'to place your heart upon'.

I hadn't heard that before and like it. The literal translation is usually precise, but my rock'n'roll knee-jerk interpretation on what that might mean is "to invest oneself (in Dharma) with trust."

Believing in the rightness of Dharma is having faith with your head. Having the courage to trust it is having faith with your heart. Both are "placing you heart upon".

These are just my ideas. Don't take any of this to heart. In any case if you've got a teacher run it by him and see what he says. Otherwise just consider it entertainment.

:focus:
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