"Faith, faith,..." they say. But what is meant by "faith"?

Samana Johann

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"Faith, faith,..." they say. But what is meant by "faith" What is a person of faith??

There is the case that a person has conviction that deeds by body, speech and mind make a different. Having convicion that his actions make a different, he thinks before he acts.
Furthermore there is the case that a person has conviction that things (all phenomenas), results have causes. Having conviction that results have causes, he thinks before he acts.
Forthermore there is the case that a person has conviction that beings are the owner, the heir of their actions. Having conviction that beings are the heirs of their actions, he thinks before he acts.
Forthermore there is the case that a person has conviction that liberation/awakening is possible and that liberated/awakened exist. Having conviction that awakining is possible and that liberated exist, he thinks before he acts.
Knowing that he does not forget and acts according to his faith, his mind is at peace.
Having experianced the peace of mind, his conviction naturally grows, and once having experianced the results of his deeds, how they arise, how they decay, he is no more able to fall away from conviction.
This is what is meant by a person of faith.

So was it said and for that reason was it said.
 

Thomas

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"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen"
Hebrews 11:1
 

peter_g

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Thomas, you offer a pretty sound working definition that doesn't dissemble, because it describes an individual's state of mind that may be open to being tested in everyday experience, and to modification by the results, carefully considered. For example, I buy what seems like a nice second-hand car with a one year breakdown warranty. Having some faith in the dealer with whom I have dealt before, I have a fairly high degree of assurance that the car won't give me problems, and a reasonable conviction born of experience of such transactions that I needn't worry unduly about breaking down on a long journey. It might, but the probability is acceptably low. I didn't do a thorough mechanical examination because I'm not qualified to do so. I accepted the warranty.

The car suffered a major breakdown within a month. I was disappointed, but the warranty saved me on repair bills and I got a free courtesy car and some cash compensation too. My faith in the dealer was slightly dented, but to err is human. I put it down to experience. I usually do, I've faith in that. I adopt a similar stance with religious matters too. Faith should not be blind.
 
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Samana Johann

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Faith (saddha) in regard of real personal de-velopment is always connected with a kusala (skillful, wholesome) mindstate.
Faith or belief or confidence that is connected with an unskillful mindstate (such as to gain material things), can not be called faith, belief, confidence in regard of real de-velopment.

There is normal not a single action, that is not connected or based on belief, confidence, faith.

So yes, real faith in its high meaning, is a matter of state of mind, Peter, and you sample displays good unskillful faith.

One more importand thing, such as unshakeable faith, because of having real experiances, seen how it actually is, is something only a Holly person, a person changed to the Noble ones, would have.

That means in regard of the path it's normally "blind" belief, since, as long as not put into action and having seen real fruits out of this cause, one would not have any relayable personal reference.

Having faith in assurances is in deed very blind, even makes more blind, in regard of cause and effect, since one would even stop to observe how things come to be.
 

peter_g

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Thank you, Samana Johann, for your kindly reply. I take from your answer that one should avoid blind faith at one extreme, and avoid uncritical scepticism at the other extreme, instead pursuing a personal path (in company with learned, experienced and kindly others such as yourself) based on skilful and diligent watchfulness over one's every thought, word and deed. And, as you say, observing whence, and how, they arise.
 

Samana Johann

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Peter, nobody is guided good when told "don't do just skillful (good) blindly, don't let go of unskilful (bad) blindly.
One has to follow blindly in this regard, matters of real personal development, but of course it is wise to carefully investigate whom and following to where.

One is guided good when told "just follow doing what is skilful and avoiding what is unskiful, and that blindly, what ever might tell different.

A person able to figure out the path (e.g. knows what is skilful, unskilful) by him self is very very rare, and that is why such as admirable Friends, teachers, call them Gods, having gone already ahead, are most nessesary.
 

juantoo3

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I do agree "faith" is a multi-faceted concept, as so many ethical and moral concepts tend to be. One behavior today under one set of circumstances may well be immoral / unethical / wrong, and tomorrow under a different set of circumstances the same behavior may well be deemed moral / ethical / right.

To "faith" more directly, I think is the distinction between unquestioned obedience and doctrine, and a more reasoned understanding of expected outcomes based in experience. Neither can be "proven" in any truly scientific sense of the word, but personal experience does go far in solidifying a person's "faith." I have faith that if I put water and coffee grounds in the coffee pot, and push the "on" button, I will have a cup of coffee ready in a few minutes. That faith could be shaken if someone were to unplug the coffee pot, but after so many years of experience I doubt it would shatter my faith in that outcome.
 
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EdgyDolmen

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I do agree "faith" is a multi-faceted concept, as so many ethical and moral concepts tend to be. One behavior today under one set of circumstances may well be immoral / unethical / wrong, and tomorrow under a different set of circumstances the same behavior may well be deemed moral / ethical / right.

  • Without risk there is no faith...
  • Faith is the highest passion in the sphere of human subjectivity.
I ripped that off from somebody. I think it was Kierkegaard. Seems to fit though...
 

Samana Johann

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Beings are lead by passion, its passion that causes birth old age and death. Not believing that one will meet that is the reason why one does not develop desire to go beyound passion.

As for the desire to go beyound, that is actually the lowes passion that can be found in sphere of humans since they are strongly attached, have passion for becoming and sensuality.

So what does one risk, Edgy? Birth, oldage, sickness an death? Is it proper to speak of risk (willing to lust in a negative sense, mostly) or fear to lose of such?
 

juantoo3

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I am not EdgyDolmen, but I do think you have a basic point in that rising above animal nature is difficult for humans, and try as we might we are still subject to our animal nature even if we try to rise above. We never truly loose ourselves from the animal within, it is the animal within that our various religions seek to tame...even teach tricks like circus animals.

I think it is unrealistic to believe we can wholly separate our humanity from our animal nature. For one, we would end as a species. For two, there are still elemental forces such as gravity and time that impact on our essence, often in ways we don't fully understand, but occur as part of the infinite reality just the same. We are material, we are matter...not *only* matter, but significantly enough that we are subject to the natural laws that govern matter.
 

Samana Johann

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Sure a good topic "The faith of the animals differs how?" Sure mostly differents are really hard to see, even to find in one self since there is just faith in food for the sense.

So you beliefe that you are the body, form is you, yours?
 

juantoo3

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I'm not fully sure I understand you here. I don't dismiss morality in animals, it is a subject I explored here more than ten years ago. Truly objective observation is difficult because of the human tendency to anthropomorphize. It does *seem* as though many mammals, especially pack and herd animals, do indeed have a morality of sorts. Where it becomes more difficult still is in trying to make the connection between animal morality and human morality, in spite of the claims of some "nature religions." Red of tooth and claw...

Whether animals have faith, in the sense humans tend to use the term, I cannot say and dare not imply. I sense...and I must stress here this is my opinion...that animals as a whole have a better intuitive connection to the universal IS, that when humans developed the means to reason they lost contact with the IS. Many of the so-called "primitive" religions seem to me an attempt by humans to re-establish that connection. Somewhere in history that attempt was perverted and twisted into a means of controlling populations by ruling elites.
 

Samana Johann

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The point is simply that it is far off topic. Now we are speaking as humans with each other. Another speculation topic on that elsewhere is sure nice. Or do you believe that you never need to sort out all the mass and confusion caused, since beliving after death there is nothing? Using this planet / this place just like a railway station.
 

juantoo3

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Not at all. You wish to imply that humans are separate...completely...from the animals. That implies humans are not even subject to the same laws of nature.

I disagree.


As for life after death, that is something hoped for (in many faiths and religions), that is something people put faith in, but we have no proof. I don't know if there is another existence after this one, but I live my life in the hope that there is. I don't see any negative outcome from conducting my worldly affairs with this philosophy, but I do see potential negative outcomes from conducting my worldly affairs with the belief in no life after this.

Clearly you and I see this life after in different ways. You espouse rebirth / reincarnation in some form....I do not. I do not *believe* I will be back around to live another life in human or other animal flesh, but I do not know if that is the reality. It is a trust in faith in the IS that I conduct myself by, it is my philosophy.

I also noticed you deliberately avoided discussion of the twisting of religious expression in antiquity from re-establishing the connection with the IS, to controlling populations. NONE of the major world faiths is immune to this charge.
 
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Samana Johann

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Believing that after death there is nothing is the cause of heedlessness and living like animals.

For an animal: it would seek and chance all to just food and what can be not just be eaten it would be not interested, would it?

Its good and right to let animals just live as they like, but why engage in their ways? Want it natural?

http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books2/Ajahn_Chah_A_Still_Forest_Pool.htm#Our Life is Our Practice said:


What Is Natural?


Claiming they want their practice to be "natural," some people complain that this way of life does not fit their nature.

Nature is the tree in the forest. But if you build a house, it is no longer natural, is it? Yet if you learn to use the tree, making wood and building a house, it has more value to you. Or perhaps the dog is natural, running here and there, following its nose. Throw food to dogs and they rush to it, fighting each other. Is that what you want to be like?

The true meaning of natural can be discovered with our discipline and practice. This natural is beyond our habits, our conditioning, our fears. If the human mind is left to so-called natural impulses, untrained, it is full of greed, hatred, and delusion and suffers accordingly. Yet through practice we can allow our wisdom and love to grow naturally until it blossoms in any surroundings.
 
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juantoo3

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We cannot say that with anything close to certainty.

Why do you believe you are better than other animals?

“The Earth does not belong to man; Man belongs to the Earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. Whatever befalls the Earth befalls the sons of the Earth. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.” — Chief Seattle

Nice edit... ;)

Sam said:
The true meaning of natural can be discovered with our discipline and practice
I don't believe that is so. You have not demonstrated it, you have only stated it. What is more, I disagree with your statement.

Humans are already *subject to* their innate ties to their animal nature. Religion uses the guise of elevating humans above their animal nature to promote social cohesion. It makes it easier to control populations on the more nefarious side, no doubt the selling point to the ruling powers. On the *good* side, human animals learned sets of rules that allowed for coexistence within the group, what we commonly call morality and ethics.
 
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Samana Johann

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Atma did not say that humans are better than animals, actually most are just like or even worth. Its just that as a human one would have two chances: accumulate merits and even go beyound. You should fear to fall into animal existence. A live as nice pet is rare, very very rare, but maybe Juantoo does not know animals live like it is. Don't develope the ignorance of a pet. Dont was time, the pet live is not for sure, now and after.
 

juantoo3

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Ah! Tsk Tsk

Instead you would rather find other pets here? Be assured, I think too deeply and too widely to be a pet to anyone.

I trust my innermost being to no human. None. Don't take it personally.
 

Samana Johann

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All Juantoo does is believe this and that. What does he know?
Does he know that he took birth, will get older, sick and die? That he did so for a long long time? No secure can be found in the spere of the world, eg. eye, ear, nose, thonge, body, intellect... its objects ... its recognicion.
 

juantoo3

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All Juantoo does is believe this and that.
I am comfortable learning from sages of all walks.

What does he know?
I know less than nothing.

Does he know that he took birth, will get older, sick and die?
I know what I experience, and even then I cannot truly say I fully know what I experience, always and at all times.

That he did so for a long long time?
Or maybe only this ONE glorious time. I don't get another chance.
 
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