Well, that's why these sorts of discussions wth regards to kamma or rebirth tend to get 'interesting'. Not that I am suggesting that there is a sub-population of the membership at DW who can remember their past lives! (Maybe there is??). I think part of the difficulty lies in the fact that the path, for the vast majority of us, the path is characterised by the incremental revelation of the nature of reality via direct meditative experience (insight (naana:knowledge)). Yet many of us are living in or have grown up in cultures where a characteristic of the dominant religions is the power of salvation of belief. So I think it is not surprising that the quality of saddha (faith/confidence) in the Buddha Dhamma causes so much discussion.
The way that I look at it, saddha in Buddhism is a completely different beast to the absolute blind belief that one finds in, say, Christianity. In Buddhism, faith is a factor that leads one to insight. One cannot even begin to walk on the path without a scintilla of faith in a number of fundamental assumptions, including, a belief that there must be a better, happier, more wholesome, way of life. Then as we begin to practice Dhamma and we begin to notice some of the benefits for ourselves, there is the confidence that grows in the Dhamma. No doubt it is built on directly experiencing the benefits of practice, but it is also built on saddha (faith/confidence). If we had the attitude that something had to be proven to us before we would accept it, then we wouldn't even begin on the path.
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725
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