Why Question?

It is possible that we may balk at the idea of being asked to believe something in blind faith, especially where religion is concerned, but unquestioningly take our own assumptions, opinions and beliefs to be true.

I distinguish here between faith and blind faith. Faith is indispensable on the Buddhist path. Until we ourselves reach Enlightenment, and possibly forever afterwards, there will always be teachings that we cannot verify by our own experience yet we have faith in them because we have done a certain amount of practice and found it to confirm enough of the basic teachings to encourage us to continue.

I use the term blind faith to mean that we are wilfully blind, resisting examining an idea that is capable of being examined albeit that there is a limit to how far reason can take us.

My point is that thinking can be used to eliminate a lot of misperceptions and limited or just plain wrong understandings and thus make the way clearer for truer understandings and insights to arise. You can start with any thought that you find yourself believing, for example: I can’t do this. (Whatever this may be.) Is that true? Or do you not want to try? Why? Through such questioning we can come to a deeper understanding of ourselves and, for example, the Buddha’s teachings on the cause of suffering.

We can also listen to what we say and question ourselves – do I really understand what I am saying? Do I actually know that to be true? Have I thought about it? Or you can deliberately choose a word or concept, such as I did in my previous post about the meaning of acceptance, and explore your understanding of it as far as you can go. It will take application and effort, but has the potential to be highly rewarding.

I can’t finish without this wonderful quote by the theologian and psychologist Thomas Moore who says that “The point in thinking is to reach the far edge of understanding and to stand there in wonder.”

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