Definition: Faith is a clarity, an aspiring belief and a wish with regard to qualities, mere existence and ability, respectively.
☞ There is a threefold division of faith:
- Clarifying faith
- Faith of belief
- Aspiring faith
1. Clarifying faith is a clear awareness that is generated through seeing the qualities of objects which actually have qualities, such as the Three Jewels.
2. Faith of belief is faith in topics taught by the Buddha, such as the law of cause and effect, dependent arising and so forth and arises through having contemplated them.
3. Aspiring faith thinks, “I definitely have to attain this,” after having contemplated, for example, the four noble truths, and having ascertained that suffering and its origin are to be abandoned and that cessation and its path are to be attained. It is generated on the basis of understanding the possibility of realization if one practices accordingly.
Function: Faith acts as the antidote against faithlessness. It is also the basis for aspiration and thus helps to overcome laziness.
Generally, faith is praised by the sages as the root of all paths and grounds, and is therefore very important.
From the Ten Dharmas:
For people without faith
White dharmas are not generated.
It is similar to a seed burned
By fire and a green sprout.
☞ Faith and Liking
Sometimes in popular thought, faith is confused with liking. But while they do not necessarily exclude each other, they are also not always the same:
- Liking that is not faith: Liking temporary pleasures.
- Faith that is not liking: Faith in cyclic existence.
- Faith that is also liking: A liking faith in the teacher and in the white karmic laws of cause and effect, which arise by contemplating their qualities and benefits from the depth of one’s heart.
Faith and Reason
Contrary to the western view of faith, in Buddhism faith and reason do not have to cancel each other out. Rather, while there is also in Buddhism such a thing as blind faith, the superior type of faith arises as a result of investigation and experience.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama: Faith based on analysis is the superior type of faith.