Grounds for Faith and Peace

Grounds for Faith and Peace

During all these years study, reading different explanations of this and that, meeting with different schools and teachers, personally i have never met any explanations of Dhamma that after a while does not have in some way an unpleasant additional taste. Something unsatisfactory about it, not logic, not consistent. Something that after a while does not make perfect sense. Like it never fits perfectly. It is like it is always dukkha too.

That used to be a real problem for me. I read a lot of different teachers and different traditions. But now I do not see this anymore as a big problem. I think the intellect has its own needs and ground for faith. It trusts something that is logic, consistent, clear. When all pieces fall nicely into place and there are no inconsistencies, the intellect trusts and is at ease, peaceful.

But this is also fragile. New info can challenge that and lead to cognitive dissonance again.
As a result you can grasp very strongly at certain interpretations or explanations and exclude all others. Just to feel not confused and maintain, forcefully, this socalled fruit of peace and clarity of mind.

I belief this peace and faith the intellect seeks is all very insecure, vulnerable, tanha driven, and it does not lead to openness and detachment.

Still there is this need inside, and it is intellectually satisfying when explanations are seemingly consistent. I now think this must not be seen as Dhamma-expertise or even real faith and peace. Ofcourse the mind cools down to a certain degree when it is intellectually satisfied. But, I belief is all very fragile. It is never a real peace of the heart. It is always challenged.

I belief Dhamma-expertise is more visible in how one develops as a human being. Does one become more oneself, more sensitive, open-minded, detached, less furious and fanatic, less obsessive, also towards certain Dhamma-explanations. Claiming this and that.

In a sense it is perfect that there are so many interpretations of Dhamma. Teasing the intellect. Arousing and making visible here and now our need for intellectual clarity and satisfaction .

Ajahn Chah used to put it nicely: “The nature of saṅkhāra is death”. He used a simile of a snake. You can either pick it up by it’s head and that is suffering, or you can pick it up by it’s tail and we call that happiness, but it’s really just suffering when it turns around and bites you. :slight_smile:

well written. it seems you are a hard to please person :grinning:. you have very limited human capability yet you seem to have too much confidence on your human limitedness. maybe you need a leap of faith, or to extend your knowledge base, you know without enough data your intellect cannot give you real transcending inferential wisdom. or maybe you need certain extraordinary experience, always staying in your comfortable zone blinds you… just some thoughts after reading your post. not to offend you.

Through study of different schools and teachers, we are seeking inspirations. Inspirations spark new thoughts; new thoughts lead to new choices, new behaviors, create new experiences, lead to new emotions, new feelings; after repeating effects eventually form new habits, until they become our integrated new traits, characters, and personalities, a new state of being. This is how we grow, to transcend our mundane, mediocre existence to become an extraordinary, noble, and enlightened being. During this process, there are always hindrances. old habits may resist by using emotions. then you may feel I don’t feel like it, it doesn’t make sense, not logic, consistent or clear and so on, using feelings to block the change. you have to be aware of your mind states. When we are seeking schools and teachers to study, there is always a tendency we just seek something from outside to give us relief from the dukkha we feel inside of us. Then we may find what we seeking is not something perfect, then we reject it. This is not the right way. Instead we should always interiorize the teachings from outside to be part of our own knowledge and experience. All traditions or schools or lineages are valuable assets for our human civilization passed down from our forefathers. By stripping off the outside “pretentiousness”, we may find something simple, elegant and beautiful. This is what we can interiorize and integrate to be part of our new self. Change sometimes is not easy, to deal with the resistance from our mind, we can rely on the five strengths prescribed by Buddha, the faith saddha, tenacity viriya, mindfulness sati, concentrated power samadhi and penetrative wisdom panna, either of them can help to deal with the situation, to prevent the mind from shrinking back to old self. this way we may transition from ordinary to extraordinary.

1 Like

Thanks Bhante @mudita

Speaking for myself (but i know also others experience this) buddhism can be quite confusing because of the variety of ideas, meanings, explanations, interpretations, narratives etc. Even of the basic elements such as Paticca Samuppada, Four Noble Truths, Khandha’s , Tilakkhana etc. Also in how Pali words are translated one can see differences in how one understands Dhamma or wants to understand it.

I think many people experience this and what to belief? What is the true meaning? It is easy to feel lost in this landscape of different explanations.

Arrived at this point i think a lot of people feel the need to go to the source, to what must be most undistorted Dhamma. The scriptures do not become only inspirational anymore at this point but one seeks for clarity and certainty in the texts, trying to solve the confusion. Longing for a one and only meaning. Longing for consistency. That every piece fitts perfectly in the puzzle.

A great intellectual effort is made to read all texts, lay down the puzzle, find consistency, eliminate contradictions, illogical stuff etc. Dhamma becomes a very intellectual challenging thing.
To be honest, this is how it went for me. This is my personal travel.
By the way, tha is not how it started.

But i now feel it is good to see what has been going on. Even if one finds some peace of mind traveling that way, that peace is because of grasping not because of not-grasping. It relies on intellectual knowledge.

Maybe this report proofs that i am a person with very limited human capacities, with a very wrong focus, lost, but so it is. I now find i have put to much effort in seeking clarity and peace of mind in an intellectual understanding. That was a kind of wrong effort, i now think.

We are sons and daughters of the Buddha, it should be our responsibility to make Buddha’s teachings more simple, and easy to be accessible. Then by this “good” intension, we made it even more confusing. Dukkha.

1 Like

The type of feeling you are experiencing (based on what you wrote above) might be the result of not getting any kind of satisfaction (mentally) or lack of inspiration. It can also be result of reading (almost)everything for intellectual satisfaction and then arriving at a stage where you don’t get that intellectual satisfaction easily. Maybe try reading about lord buddha…like for example…his physical characteristics, the causes that lead to it, or any texts like shatavadana(the hundred tales about kamma) or anything like that which you haven’t yet read…just to feel inspired I mean.

We are kind of people who can’t continue to meditate without feeling happiness from within or without getting something more sublime than the thing we are feeling. When we enter in mental concentration, (provided that we are successful in entering those stages) we feel different kinds of various happinesses(like for example piti, rapture when person enters jhanas) and because of them we continue. We won’t continue to meditate if we don’t experience those things. If a person does not experience any kind of bliss, even after trying hardly for so long, he surely feels tired and less inspired to continue.

I think we lack enough merits(blessings) to reach there easily. Any person when is sad or feeling uninspired, is feeling like that only because he is desiring something which he is not getting from the way his life is right now. He might be desiring noble things as well, but he is surely desiring something, or seeking satisfaction. So maybe you want something, and you don’t know exactly what do you want and hence you are not feeling inspired! Just my thoughts ok…I may not be correct.