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The Body of Faith (Part 2)

Faith has to do with understanding and knowing. Suppose you see someone make tofu. You believe that you did not miss any details so you have faith that you can make tofu by yourself. You go and get all of the ingredients together to make tofu, but it doesn’t work. You are unable to make tofu. So you go back to the other person and ask her to teach you again. Now you make the tofu in her presence to make sure that you do it correctly. After making it successfully, you have faith that you can make tofu. You tell yourself no one can remove your faith in your ability to make tofu. You may believe that your way of making tofu is the only way, or the best way. But one or two years later, you may meet a person who makes tofu in a very different way, and his tofu tastes better. You learn more, and you improve your art of making tofu. Your faith in making tofu is a living thing. It depends on your depth of seeing and understanding.

In the Buddhist circle, people speak about letting go of your knowledge. When you know something, you stick to your knowledge. You are not ready to let it go, and this is an obstacle on the path of practice. In Buddhism, knowledge can be seen as an obstacle. Many people try to accumulate knowledge, and one day they may realize that the knowledge they possess has become an obstacle to their understanding. The Sanskrit word for “knowledge as obstacle” is jneyavarana.

Thich Nhat Hanh
from Going Home; Jesus and Buddha as Brothers

To be continued . . .