This post is mainly for Christians to help them explore how others use the word “faith”. Doing comparative studies between different religions –especially very different religions– allows an insight that cannot be had by only in-house, confessional studies.
Believe it or not, “faith” is present in Buddhism too. But like all religions, there are many varieties of Buddhism and each with conflicting stances. For that reason, there is no agreement on “faith” in Buddhism just as there is no agreement on “faith” in Christianity. See this great Wiki article on “Faith in Buddhism” for a richer explanation..
So with that important caveat, below I share an example how “faith” is understood by some in a sect (denomination) of Buddhism called Vajrayāna Buddhism. What I love about this view is that it adds adjectives before the vague word “faith” to more closely describe different uses of “faith”. See my post on the various meaning of “faith” in Christian circles.
So here are the Vajrayāna different categories of “faith”:
- Blind Faith
Good Faith’s Evolution:
- Clear Faith (aspiration)
- Aspiring Faith
- Confident Faith (deep conviction)
- Unshakable Faith (irreversible faith)
Blind Faith: The Buddha warned his disciples against blind faith. ‘Do not believe what I say simply out of respect for me. Discover from your own lives the truth of what I am teaching you’.
1. Clear Faith: When the practitioner becomes aware of the qualities of the Buddha and his teachings, his mind becomes light and joyful. That is the first degree of faith: Clear Faith
2. Aspiring Faith: Then, when he realizes these qualities can enable him to achieve Enlightenment and help a large number of beings, he begins to want to acquire them. Clear faith has turned into aspiration.
3. Confident Faith: When the follower becomes sure, from his own experience, that those qualities can be developed and are as sublime as described in the writings, he acquires a deep conviction.
4. Unshakable Faith: Finally when, through spiritual accomplishment, his faith has becomes so much a part of his mind that he would not be able to renounce it, it is irreversible.
See other “Word!” posts, here.