For serious Buddhist, we engage in spiritual practice to gain enlightenment or become awaken.
Like the modern us, we are used to certifications and examinations. Reviews and performance appraisal. So how do we know if we have made any progress in our Buddhist practice?
The following is inspired by the ‘7 treasures of a Buddha cultivator’ 修佛者七宝
1. Unwavering faith
It sounds a bit religious but faith in Buddhism is unlike faith in a God. The faith in Buddhism is born out of logical rational thinking and wisdom. In Buddhist practice, we need to have faith that our effort will bring positive results. For example, faith in karma will result in a greater good for oneself and society. Faith in the doctrine of non self will produce more selfless individuals. The list goes on and on…..
After we analyse the dharma and logically know it’s benefits, our faith which is based on logical thinking will arise.
However, that is insufficient because since ancient time, mankind is trapped by the delusion of self awareness. What is the purpose of life? Who created life? Such are just some of the examples. Questions that requires answer that are beyond rational thinking.
Therefore, we need to practice Buddhism. That means, we observe precepts and train our mind. With the ultimate aim of seeing the Truth. Just like Buddha.
This leads to a necessity for faith in our practice, be it meditation or chanting or observance of precepts.
Faith in practice grow when we gradually experience the desired result of the practice. Faith is one of the result.
At the beginning stage, one may experience peace and happiness occurring at home or at work. When we practice, we have more patience, we forgive easily, family members and friends benefited from associating with us. Over time, situations in family and at work becomes better.
Such experience will warm our faith. We witness the positive results of our practice in the secular world and in mundane situations.
As we practiced, our wisdom will mature. Once we start to deeply realise the Truth in the Buddha dharma, there will be no more rooms for doubt. That result in an unwavering faith.
The tricky part is to look deeply within ourselves, to examine if there are still lingering doubt. As we progress, doubt of various levels will occurr in our mind. It is normal.
But as we practice and see more of the Truth, those doubts will be solved.
Therefore, one way of measuring our progress in Buddhist practice is to honestly examine the doubt within us. To gauge The level of faith in us.
Have fun in this self examination. MAY ALL BE WELL AND HAPPY.