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Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience Paperback – September 2, 2003
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Bestselling author Sharon Salzberg explores the meaning of faith through her personal story about a harrowing childhood of isolation and loss (a father's abandonment, a mother's early death) and her eventual journey into the Buddhist tradition. The overriding message, explains Salzberg, is that faith is "not superficial or sentimental: it does not say everything will turn out all right." So what is faith, if not trust in a happy ending? Salzburg, the cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society, explains that faith resides not in the outcome, but in the willingness to see the possibility for change.
"The first step on the journey of faith is to recognize that everything is moving onward to something else, inside us and outside.... We see that a self-image we've been holding doesn't need to define us forever, the next step is not the last step, what life was is not what it is now, and certainly not what it might yet be."
Like the great teachers of Buddhism, Salzberg relies on her stories to make the teachings relevant. She shifts effortlessly from the voice of a memoirist to the voice of a master teacher. Through her insights, we come to understand faith as a verb. Faith means never giving up on the possibilities of each moment, always seeing "our own potential for happiness, for vibrant wisdom and sustained compassion--a potential that all beings share." --Gail Hudson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Current world events show that we need to find fresh ways to think about faith. Just at the right moment, Buddhist teacher Salzberg (Lovingkindness) offers a deeply personal and luminously honest work that makes faith relevant to us all. Unyoking faith from its usual association of adherence to systems of belief (and even the belief that we have no faith), she allows it to be a verb, an act of offering and affirmation that can heal and enlarge our lives. "Faith is the animation of the heart that says, `I choose life,' " she writes. "This spark of faith is ignited the moment we think, `I'm going to go for it. I'm going to try.' " In 1970, as a shy, 18-year-old college student, Salzberg recounts, she decided to travel to India to learn to meditate. She had lived cocooned in sadness since her mother died when she was young, until a course in Buddhism sparked the intuition that life held possibilities that could make her future different than her past. She went for it. In the rich stories that follow, Salzberg describes how that first flare of faith ignited the next, how a path appeared step by step, light by light, as she encountered teachers and friends and, finally, her own innate wisdom and compassion. True faith, according to Salzberg, is the action of the heart opening to admit life in all its unknown potential. It does not need to constrict around a particular belief or view, because it flows from an inner sense of reality, "a homing instinct for freedom." Salzberg shows that, in its essence, faith is a love of life that breaks out as it is exposed to real forces. Truth feeds faith. This is a work of great truth and great heart. It will help everyone who reads it.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
I marvel at how well Ms Salzberg has passed through life's difficult times, letting them propel her directly to the core of aliveness. No self pity here. I marvel at how well she has conceptualized it. I marvel at her meditation practice. I marvel at her deep grasp of Buddhist teachings. But mostly I marvel at her writing. It is so clear, so alive, so gentle - she has predigested your problems for you and is humbly giving you the answers. She hits the mark over and over again throughout the book. Blessings and thanks to her!
"Faith" is a word so abused in our times. If you regard faith as mere wishful thinking, rigid ideology, a divisive divine favor bestowed upon an elite few, or (to paraphrase Mark Twain) deciding to believe what you know ain't true, then prepare to shed those lack luster preconceptions.
This is Sharon's personal story. Her losses, her pain, her awakenings, her love and richly earned peace. When I took a workshop on faith with Sharon two years ago, I found her to be warm, candid, and down to earth. These splendid qualities radiate from every page of "Faith." She is a natural teacher, and this book teaches so much.
So, what is "faith?" Open to the present moment, clinging neither to pain nor pleasure, entrust yourself to the boundless compassion that lies at the heart of your spiritual center. Trust what you know about unconditional love, what your own experience teaches you when you do not flinch from it, but compassionately embrace it. And discover through clarity and compassion your interdependent connections with all beings.
Am I close, Sharon? :-)
Namu Amida Butsu... may you be well and happy, and may all of you read this lustrous book.