The term Saddhā is often translated as ‘faith’ but it is different from the ‘blind faith’ often associated with the word in the West. By exploring the ‘Chunky Sutta’ we gain an understanding that in the original Pali text, the meaning was closer to ‘provisional trust’ which is the opposite of skeptical doubt.
In Buddhism, we are encouraged to rely upon our own experience and discernment with regard to our practice or finding a teacher. We try things out and, as we see the results, our trust then becomes faith – a belief that we will continue to reap the benefits we have experienced thus far. Over time, our insight can eventually become an unshakeable faith, the hallmark of ‘stream entry’ when there is no going back.
Danadasa explores how faith can evolve from being one of the 5 Spiritual Faculties, to eventually become a power we possess (one of the 5 Spiritual Powers).
He also poses a question we can use to determine if we are ‘enlightened’: “Is it possible for me to be completely free of stress and anxiety at all times and under all conditions?” This is the promise of the Third Noble Truth, that complete cessation of stress and anxiety IS possible.
Dhammachari Danadasa has been practicing with the San Francisco Buddhist Center (SFBC) community since 1993 and was ordained in 2011. His current area of exploration is the cultivation of metta (universal loving kindness) as a response to all the hatred, discrimination, and bigotry in the world out there.