Ben wrote:Can you explain what you mean by "faith"?
I think there's already been quite a bit written about this topic by authors such as Ven. Bodhi. I recognize that it's something of a hot-button issue for some people Ben, and I'm not sure that there's much I can add except to suggest that there is a whole spectrum of reasonable, intelligent saddhā that doesn't resort to what is pejoratively referred to as "blind faith," but is still faith in something which is beyond the sphere of certain confirmation via our current perceptions. Primarily, faith requires believing in the awakening of the Buddha. SN 55.37:
- "In what way, venerable sir, is a lay follower accomplished in faith?"
"Here, Mahānāma, a lay follower is a person of faith. He places faith in the enlightenment of the Tathāgata thus: 'The Blessed One is ... teacher of devas and humans, the Enlightened One, the Blessed One.' In that way a lay follower is accomplished in faith."
And faith in the Tathāgata is connected to hearing the dhamma; i.e. it's not something that we can confirm with our worldly perceptions. MN 112:
- Friends, formerly when I lived the home life I was ignorant. Then the Tathāgata or his disciple taught me the Dhamma. On hearing the Dhamma I acquired faith in the Tathāgata.
Also, it's only with the attainment of stream-entry that one's faith becomes confirmed, unshakable confidence (aveccapassāda). Until this noble stage is attained, not only are we are going to have to deal with the fetter of doubt, we are going to have to continually seek refuge in an authority that is more reliable than our own deluded perceptions.