11 Jan
Posted in: Homework
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There Is A Seed

“Though I do  not believe a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect miracles.” — Thoreau

One of the topics for this month’s DPP homework is saddha, a Pali word which usually is translated as faith….a word that, at least for me, comes with an awful lot of baggage. Saddha is also translated as confidence, conviction, or trust….which I prefer….but there is a kind of power in the word faith….especially when I think about having faith in a seed….that I don’t want to lose.

Here’s part of this month’s focus on faith:

Saddha, usually translated as faith, is an essential ingredient in the spiritual journey. In the Buddha’s teaching, it is one of the five spiritual faculties necessary for true understanding and awakening, along with energy, mindfulness, concentration, and wisdom. 

“Faith is usually placed first because it fuels the whole process. Likewise, doubt (the lack of faith), is the most formidable of all hindrances because it stops us from ever beginning. We are frozen out of even stumbling onto understanding because we never practice in a manner that allows the truth of the dharma to be known. For this reason, a certain amount of faith is not an option, but a necessity.

Faith requires at a minimum an acknowledgement that the fruit of the dharma (the end of suffering) might be true, and it may be possible that even we, with all our flaws, might experience this fruit. It also requires an acknowledgement that the possibility of attaining such a fruit is worthy of great effort.

Notice that faith does not require a belief in some force outside ourselves, but rather a realization that we suffer and it might be possible to have it end.

“It creates an unhealthy and unproductive tension to try to force more than this minimum amount of faith. Faith grows because of the insights we have and from our intuitive recognition of the truth of the teachings. As recognition occurs that the teachings are essentially true, faith grows stronger on its own accord.

“At some point a love of the dharma or the Buddha or the sangha naturally occurs. At this point, there is a heartfeld dimension to the practice, a natural devotion.”


Of this much, I am sure.


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