2021-08-16-Faith (1 of 5) What Calms and Clears the Heart
3:07PM Aug 16, 2021
So good day to our Monday, on this first day of the week, and so the theme that I would like to talk about is faith. And I think the motivation to talk about faith is that I've been feeling lately quite inspired by it and hearten heartened by the faith quality of Buddhist practice. And so it's mostly to be able to talk a little bit share a little bit, something that's in my heart.
And there are different qualities of faith. So in different times in different ways, this Pali word saddhā, which is often translated into English as faith, as is this as different qualities, and so therefore, often translated then differently, and in context, and so sometimes it's trust, sometimes it's confidence, sometimes it's devotion, or love. And so whatever it is, this English word for the associations we have in English for faith, if those don't work for you, other words might work. Or you might put those aside and just realize the provisional nature of the English translation of sutta, as faith. But I like the word faith myself, because it's, to me in May, this might not be for others, of faith is not so much about tenant of belief, you know, what we believe we have to believe, belief that we don't have any verification for, but rather faith is to have some kind of trust or confidence in what can be called the Dharma, but not the Dharma that's out there that you read about, but the Dharma that's found in the heart. And so one of the definitions of this faith in Buddhism that I like, is that it is the attitude, the quality, that calms the heart. Sometimes it's said it's what clarify clears the heart or clarifies the art that clears can, in the word clear. And then the analogy for this in the ancient world is if the water like a pond is all muddy, like some, some animal has run through with, it's all muddy. Then there's apparently an ancient India, magical stone, that if you put it in the in the, in the pond in the water, it clears all the motorway.
And so faith clears away mud, the mud and have our distractions preoccupations, the things we swirl around in. And the ancient texts say specifically, that there's something about the power of faith, or this kind of deep trust that comes to the heart, that clears it, of the hindrances, clears it for the grasping at desires and aversions. being pulled into the world of restlessness, resistance, tiredness, the tiredness, but kind of a slothfulness, and out so the way the gray reach out and hold on to these things, or get caught in them, and there's something about the deep trust of that the Dharma can provide, that settles those things because the hindrances are an expression of mistrust. They are expressions of not having faith in where the heart can settle, where the heart can be at home in itself. When there's when we put faith in sensual desire. We put faith in something that keeps us a little bit dissociated from ourselves a little bit, reaching out beyond ourselves and wanting something Same thing with the ill will with faith and ill will, is not a good place to have faith in or trust in. But most people won't say they have faith or trust in ill will. But functionally, that's what kind of is happening unconsciously, that oh, this is how I become safe. This is how I get what I want. This is hyper protect myself is by or how I create myself as A person is by expressing my hostility, my anger, my criticism, complaints. And so there's confidence in that world of complaints and criticism and all that. And, and so what we're doing in the Dharma practice is a find someplace to be at ease and unrest in our own hearts and our own being. That is not dissociating. It's not reaching out and relating to the outer world in a way that desire and ill will does. And even doubt though sometimes that it's really settling is what settles the heart to clarifies the heart. And, and one of the classic purposes of faith in the Dharma, is not faith for its own sake, but rather of fake faith that provides the resolve, dedication, the intention, the the motivation, to practice, to live a different way. So it isn't passive faith to just sit back and kind of be taken care of, by, you know, in some passive, magical way, by what we have faith in. But rather, it's a faith, if there's some kind of action, a certain kind of walking this, that they're walking the, the, the moment moment steps of Dharma practice of showing up and being mindful being present. But as faith gets awakened, they practice the action of practice, the engagement and practice, can be had the same soothing or settling or clearing, quality as faith does, because faith is, comes along with it, or as part of the practice we do. And we practice without faith without this warm heartedness or this love or this care or this trust, then the mindfulness sometimes itself can become a little bit dissociated in disembodied, even as if it's a technique that we're doing. But when it comes out of faith comes out of the deeper trust, then it's not dissociated, it can be more embodied, or more presencing, or more inspired, evens inspiring for ourselves. So so the, you know, so, faith, so, so in these days, I'll talk about these different heart qualities, qualities of heart that come into play in different ways around this word, faith, his concept of faith. And so I thought of the Tuesday tomorrow, talk more about trust, and then Wednesday about the quality of love in relationship to faith. And, and then, on Thursday, confidence, in relationship to faith, but, you know, the question is, what do we have confidence in. And there's many things Buddha Dharma Sangha and things. But on Thursday, I want to talk about faith and non clinging. And then this wonderful, kind of holding together like left and right hand holding each other, of non clinging, and the warmth and the goodness of faith.
And then on Friday, talk about kind of in a sense faith as devotion, that is, expresses itself in service, expresses itself in acting for the benefit of others. And, and that that act of service is can be can be an expression of Dharma devotion, that's where the devotion can be, both to have the practice can really maybe take, get an expression itself. And so
and my hope is in talking about faith, that we really, you know, hope I can talk about it in such a way that you can begin recognizing it in yourself, because I don't you know, that's that's really where the faith lives is in ourselves, in our hearts, in our, in our inner life. And we all have the faculty of faith so. So in Buddhism, you wouldn't say that you have faith in certain teachings or something. Because that's a little bit more like, intellectual exercise of faith in Buddhism is considered to be a faculty. Like confidence is more like a faculty. I know and equanimity is a capacity of faculty. loving kindness is a capacity we have faculty we have we have an ability to have kindness and goodwill and generosity and. And so it's in that sense, this faith is a faculty is a nobility is a capacity that we can develop and grow in. And, and that sense it's something that already lives in each of us, though it might be dormant or might be resting or maybe the seeds of this Dharma faith is way sitting waiting to be watered. But it's there in everyone. And so we want to kind of, I'm hoping these talks will be a little bit more of a of a have some resonance inside of you something that you can recognize. So faith, trust, confidence, love, inspiration, motivation, devotion, service, all those kind of are in the sphere of what I'm calling faith or sutta. So thank you, and I'm very happy to be back here and look forward to this coming week. Thank you.