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Faith and Inquiry
Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery, Singapore
22 Apr 2006

by Ven. Thubten Chodron©

Ven. Chodron at PKS


[mp3 files]

Part 1. Setting a proper motivation for listening to the teaching. ~ What is ‘faith’ in Buddhism? The Tibetan and Sanskrit terms for ‘faith’ do not have the connotation of blind 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 ‘blind faith’ in our negative emotions. Try and use inquiry to dispel them.
[30 min] : Download

Excerpt: “In Buddhism, we don’t get enlightened simply by having faith. We get enlightened through transforming our own mind. If we’re going to transform our own mind, we have to understand how to do it. We have to know what is an afflictive (negative) emotion or a misconception. We have to understand why those misconceptions are misconceptions. We have to examine the thoughts and the ‘logic’ behind our negative emotions and see how that ‘logic’ is in fact illogical.”

Part 2. The Kalama Sutra: the Buddha’s statement for free inquiry. It is 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?
[40 min] : Download

Part 3 of 3: Questions and answers
[36 min] : Download

  • I dreamt a few times of my grandma who passed away 2 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.


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