Great Faith, Great Determination, Great Doubt. These are called the Three Essentials of Practice. So Sahn said that a practice that is missing any of these is like a table missing a leg.
The text I reference in the video is “Mirror of Zen”. You can get my commentary on this wonderful text by clicking here:
Mirror of Zen
Fountain City Meditation: Meditate For Our Lives at Unity Southeast
Unity Southeast KC
3421 East Meyer Boulevard
Kansas City, MO
This is a public event. We’re meditating outside of a church. I’m going to give a short talk and a bit of guidance, then we will sit together. Tell all your friends.
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There are three essentials of Zen practice.
These are considered some of the greatest and most important virtues.
They are great faith, great doubt, and great determination.
Great faith means having faith in our mind’s ability to recognize our Buddha Nature. This is clearly very different from what other religions usually mean when they suggest that we should have faith.
It is holding on to the belief that the Buddha nature is present within us.
Great doubt is like the scientific method. It means don’t believe in anything unless we can demonstrate the truth for ourselves. All of our beliefs should be examined and re-examined often. Beliefs should be accepted or rejected based on our judgment. Any ideas that are found to be unhelpful, should be rejected.
In Zen we do not follow our religious teachers and leaders blindly. We check every belief against our own knowledge and experience.
It’s about having a healthy amount of skepticism. It might seem like great doubt and great faith are at odds.
The truth is we need a healthy dose of skepticism to temper our faith in ourselves.
Great determination is a firm resolution to go forward in our practice. It’s about staying on the path and avoiding discouragement. It’s about cultivating patience and self-discipline.
Zen is not always easy and it’s important to remember that there are no shortcuts.
These are important virtues in life and we should cultivate them.