2. What is the Role and Focus of Faith in Buddhism?
Asanga Tilakaratne [+]
University of Colombo
In Buddhism, faith is a prerequisite for the practice of the path taught by the Buddha. Buddhists see it as meaning trust and a sense of admiration. So faith is the trust a Buddhist has in the Buddha, as the teacher, in his teaching (Dharma), the path capable of leading its practitioner to the goal, and in the monastic community (Sangha), those who are following the path fruitfully. Without this trust in the Triple Gem, to use the traditional mode of reference, religious life is not possible for Buddhists. Accordingly, faith is the most precious treasure a Buddhist can have, and the foremost motivating factor behind his or her religious life. Although faith is not the sufficient condition for final awakening or enlightenment, it is certainly a necessary condition that is present all the way through the path. To understand the role and focus of faith in Buddhism, we need to know why and how Buddhists should generate faith in the Triple Gem.