What Is Faith Really For

by Horaku


Sitting on the cushion the other day I realized that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing there in the first place. Why was I meditating? Why was I on the buddhist path? Why do I wake up before the sun does to sit in the half-lotus and open to the energy around me and running through me? And then it hit me... FAITH.

You see, I have faith that what my teachers tell me about the Way is true. I have faith that the sutras tell me, I can realize to the marrow of me just WHO I really am. I have faith that if I sit on the black cushion and let the breath be the breath and just listen, that Who I think I am will fall away and Who I really am will awaken to pure and unspeakable joy. FAITH.

It's a necessary prerequisite to the complete surrender that leads to the Pure Land. It's what you fall back on when the Path gets a little too rocky. When you feel as though the years of practice have led to nowhere, remember that you had faith in the beginning; that the pratice would accomplish what your teachers told you it would do. FAITH.

But why is it that we lose faith when the going gets tough?

What I'm going to propose may seem a little radical but I have faith in what I'm going to tell you. You see, it's the illusionary ego that has faith in the Way as a path that make us complete again, but, we are ALREADY complete. So, the ego tries over and over again to become what we already are--complete, and then consistently becomes frustrated because we can never BECOME what we are, we can only BE what we are---complete. This egoic frustration causes us to question ourselves, our practice, our teachers, etc... and then we lose faith in the practice. The remedy for this is a change in perspective.

We need to stop looking at the practice as a way to make us complete and see it for what it really is: a way to bring about the Great Death of separateness. The only way the ego exists at all is because of self-attachment which is the 'faith killer' that we all experience in our journey upon the path. View the precepts, Bodhisattva vows, Four Noble Truths, Noble Eightfold path, etc... as the tools used to 'wash yourself of yourself' as Rumi put it in his poem, 'Be Melting Snow'. These 'tools' are enlightened actions, NOT tools to better yourself. They are to be seen as a means to get rid of our attachments to our ideas, beliefs and concepts. And in doing this we wake up from the dream of separateness into the world of form as an individual manifestation of THAT, GOD, THE INFINITE MYSTERY, the I AM THAT I AM. When this happens then life will be lived each moment as an expression of your faith. A faith that knows everything is complete and that includes you; that everything is just fine the way it is.

I came for a purpose

one that transcends me

and yet moves me…

Even no purpose at all

stands at the threshold

waiting to be fulfilled

and altered continuously

so I breathe deeply and smile.