Putting Faith in Our Practice

by Hotai


There is a saying that there are no atheists in a foxhole. This means that when the shells are raining down, everyone wants to believe they will be okay. This little saying tells us it is easier to have faith in some circumstances than in others. Prison can strip a person of their faith. It can strip a person of their confidence. It can strip a person of their peace of mind. Prison is often a place of violence, confusion and noise. It can overwhelm a person and take everything from them.

In Zen Buddhism, we practice being in the here and now, no matter what that here and now is. We are committed to being present and available to whatever situation we find ourselves in. We are in the here and now because it is part of our teaching that everything is temporal and will fade away. So we cannot put our faith in any material thing or person because one day they will be gone. Instead our faith is in our practice, in our breathing and in accepting what each moment has to offer.

Some people are in prison even though they live in a million dollar mansion and drive a luxury car. Others can find freedom behind the fence because they are free from the suffering caused by delusion. Have faith in our practice for it offers freedom no matter where you find yourself.