​Q299. Is faith a stepping stone for or an obstacle to enlightenment?

A. Right faith and wrong faith are to your enlightenment as good food and bad food are to your health. Right faith is said to be a cornerstone rather than a stepping stone for enlightenment, which is very essential on the way to enlightenment. Wrong faith leads you in the opposite direction from your goal.

Right faith means a combination of the belief in the truth that you are a perfect and eternal being, determination to realise the truth by all means and the confidence that you can realise the truth. In fact, right faith is the foundation of Zen and it is impossible to attain enlightenment without right faith.

Wrong faith in Zen is to believe that there is an absolute being such as Buddha, or God somewhere else and that we have to depend on him for our eternal life or happiness since we are imperfect. That is no other than idol worship, or primitive religion. This means that we are deluded by imaginary figures created by our imagination. Producing imaginary figures is an obstacle to enlightenment because removing imaginary figures is the essence of Zen.

©Boo Ahm
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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