A question of faith

A question of faith

Postby gingercatni » Thu Jan 26, 2012 3:28 pm

Does anyone else here ever experience severe doubt in their faith? Lately I have been going through a period of confusion, lack of belief in my own efforts etc. I suppose in some way I have difficulty comprehending why anyone (Buddha's) would have an interest in my happiness and freeing me from samsara. I don't think I'm a bad person, though in the past I've made some mistakes, but ultimately my feelings of this is too easy for me to be excused, so that this existance can be reborn in a better place to achieve enlightenment, seem to lead to more conflict. :(
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Re: A question of faith

Postby plwk » Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:35 pm

Does anyone else here ever experience severe doubt in their faith? Lately I have been going through a period of confusion, lack of belief in my own efforts etc.
Sever all afflictions & Tolerance of Adversity
At the bottom of great doubt lies great awakening. If you doubt fully, you will awaken fully - Hakuin Ekaku (1686 - 1768)

I suppose in some way I have difficulty comprehending why anyone (Buddha's) would have an interest in my happiness and freeing me from samsara.
http://buddhistfaith.tripod.com/purelan ... s/id2.html
I take pity on living beings
And resolve to save them all.
http://www.ymba.org/BWF/bwf32.htm#points
3. The Land of Ultimate Bliss is so extremely lofty and beautifully adorned that we cannot rely merely on "a few good roots, blessings, virtues, causes and conditions" to achieve rebirth in that Land. Reflecting upon ourselves, we see that our good roots, merits and virtues are indeed shallow, while our bad karma and obstructions are heavy; how can we expect to attain, in this very life, conditions favorable to rebirth in the Pure Land?
I respectfully beg of you, ten million times, not to have such doubts!
For, if you can finger a rosary and recite the Buddha's name, you already have deep roots of merit and virtue. Do think again.
How many people are there on this very earth who lack the opportunity to hear the Buddha's name?
How many, even after hearing Amitabha Buddha's name, continue to seek fame and profit, chasing after mundane dusts and refusing to recite the Buddha's name?
You have now heard the Dharma and recited the Buddha's name in all sincerity.
Is this not proof enough that you already have many good roots, merits and virtues?

In the Longer Amitabha Sutra, Buddha Sakyamuni said to the Bodhisattva Maitreya:
If any sentient being hears the name of Amitabha Buddha and is transported with delight even for a moment, you should know that he has received great benefit and has perfected supreme merit and virtue.
This quote should be proof enough: the very fact that a person practices Buddha Recitation shows that he already has many good roots, merits and virtues.
The book, Biographies of Pure Land Sages and Saints, records the life histories of individuals who committed extremely heavy transgressions, yet achieved rebirth in the Pure Land through singleminded recitation of the Buddha's name at the time of death.
Your good roots, merits and virtues far surpass those of the evil beings cited in these biographies.
Therefore, why should you have doubts about being reborn in the Pure Land in this very lifetime?
http://www.thezensite.com/ZenTeachings/ ... faith.html
Next, suppose there is a man who learns this teaching for the first time and wishes to seek the correct faith but lacks courage and strength.
Because he lives in this world of suffering, he fears that he will not always be able to meet the Buddhas and honor them personally, and that, faith being difficult to perfect, he will be inclined to fall back.
He should know that the Tathagatas have an excellent expedient means by which they can protect his faith: that is, through the strength of wholehearted meditation on the Buddha, he will in fulfillment of his wishes be able to be born in the Buddha-land beyond, to see the Buddha always, and to be forever separated from the evil states of existence.
It is as the Sutra says: "If a man meditates wholly on Amitabha Buddha in the world of the Western Paradise and wishes to be born in that world, directing all the goodness he has cultivated toward that goal, then he will be born there."
Because he will see the Buddha at all times, he will never fall back.
If he meditates on the Dharmakaya, the Suchness of the Buddha, and with diligence keeps practicing the meditation, he will be able to be born there in the end because he abides in the correct samadhi.
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Re: A question of faith

Postby Mr. G » Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:08 pm

gingercatni wrote:I suppose in some way I have difficulty comprehending why anyone (Buddha's) would have an interest in my happiness and freeing me from samsara.


Would you help family or friends in need? I think you would.

    As a result of intense vows and the development of compassion while following the Bodhisattva path to full Buddhahood....Through aeons of practice, compassion has become automatic, in fact spontaneous. In achieving Buddhahood the ability to help has been perfected too.

    - Professor Paul Williams - Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: A question of faith

Postby Astus » Thu Jan 26, 2012 6:07 pm

As Mr. G said, compassion is essential to the bodhisattva path, buddhahood is perfect unbounded compassion. Indeed, not only buddhas care about your freedom from suffering, but all bodhisattvas and even many who have not yet become bodhisattvas, or Buddhists.

plwk,

Zen's "great doubt" is quite different from doubting Buddhist teachings, it is more like doubting one's illusory preconceptions and this conceptual reality.
"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)

“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; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: A question of faith

Postby gingercatni » Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:17 pm

thanks everyone! :bow:
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Re: A question of faith

Postby Konchog1 » Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:46 pm

gingercatni wrote:Does anyone else here ever experience severe doubt in their faith? Lately I have been going through a period of confusion, lack of belief in my own efforts etc. I suppose in some way I have difficulty comprehending why anyone (Buddha's) would have an interest in my happiness and freeing me from samsara. I don't think I'm a bad person, though in the past I've made some mistakes, but ultimately my feelings of this is too easy for me to be excused, so that this existance can be reborn in a better place to achieve enlightenment, seem to lead to more conflict. :(
Ah but Buddhas don't think conceptually. They don't think "Oh, he's chanting my mantra and wants to be saved. Well I don't know dude. Are you worth it?" Buddhas are like the sun, they send their blessing to all beings, at all times, without having to think about it. You just have to receive it.

viewtopic.php?f=77&t=6510
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: A question of faith

Postby Nighthawk » Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:03 am

gingercatni wrote:Does anyone else here ever experience severe doubt in their faith? Lately I have been going through a period of confusion, lack of belief in my own efforts etc. I suppose in some way I have difficulty comprehending why anyone (Buddha's) would have an interest in my happiness and freeing me from samsara. I don't think I'm a bad person, though in the past I've made some mistakes, but ultimately my feelings of this is too easy for me to be excused, so that this existance can be reborn in a better place to achieve enlightenment, seem to lead to more conflict. :(


I also struggle with faith from time to time. My doubts mainly being around the idea of a Bodhisattva who has spent aeons and aeons of difficult practice to realize Buddhahood. It takes intense faith to grasp this notion permanently. The way I develop faith is by studying the words of the Masters and the experiences they have had. It's a life long journey to maintain faith.
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Re: A question of faith

Postby Mr. G » Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:24 am

    Everybody laments not awakening faith that their birth is decisively settled. This is completely absurd. No settledness is to be found in the hearts of foolish beings. Settledness is the Name. Thus, even though you lack faith that your birth is decisively settled, if you say the Name leaving all to your lips, you will be born. Birth, then does not depend on the attitude of heart and mind; it is through the Name that you will be born. If you think you can attain birth by establishing a firm faith in yourself, you will only return again to the working of your own mind. When you cast away your heart and mind and realize that it is wholly through the Name that you are born, the settled mind will immediately arise of itself.

    - Ippen
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: A question of faith

Postby catmoon » Sat Jan 28, 2012 4:06 pm

One may have great faith or or none at all. There are people of great faith who are lousy practioners, and people of no faith that are practically bodhisattvas.

So if your faith falters, look at your practice. If your intention is to be kinder and more compassionate, to break your attachments, and to help everyone else to do the same, what is there to worry about?
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.
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