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Inquiry and faith

Inquiry and faith

A talk given at Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery, Singapore.

Not faith without investigation

  • Setting a proper motivation for listening to the teaching
  • “Faith” in Buddhism: the Tibetan and Sanskrit terms for “faith” do not have the connotation of undiscriminating faith
  • Inquiry plays an important role in our generating faith in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha
  • We get enlightened not simply by faith, but by transforming our mind, which can only happen through reasoning and inquiry
  • Don’t have “undiscriminating faith” in your negative emotions: try and use inquiry to dispel them

Inquiry and faith 01 (download)

The Kalama Sutra: the Buddha’s statement for free inquiry

  • Important to understand this sutra in context
  • The Buddha didn’t say that faith is unnecessary or that we should only rely on our own experience
  • An inquiring mind is not a skeptical mind
  • Faith and inquiry complement each other on the Buddhist path
  • What do we do when we have doubts about the teachings?
  • How do we verify the Buddha’s teachings?

Inquiry and faith 02 (download)

Questions and answers

  • I dreamt a few times of my grandma who passed away two weeks ago. Do dreams mean anything in Buddhism? What can I do for her after 49 days?
  • Is it possible to change our destiny or fate in this life by doing more positive actions?
  • Besides meditation, are there any other ways to develop mindfulness?
  • How do we practice in relation to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha? What’s the importance of seeking refuge in the Three Jewels?
  • Are Christians included in the cycle of rebirth? Is it a disadvantage to them to not know the Buddhist teachings?
  • How Sravasti Abbey makes the practice of generosity one of its core values.

Inquiry and faith 03 (download)

Venerable Thubten Chodron

Venerable Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood and practiced by Westerners. She is well known for her warm, humorous, and lucid teachings. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in 1977 by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche in Dharamsala, India, and in 1986 she received bhikshuni (full) ordination in Taiwan. Read her full bio.