Saddha (confidence) or attachment

Just a few reflections on the nature of saddha and what can be mistaken for saddha.

Saddha is a sobhana (beautiful) cetasika (mental factor) hence it arises only with alobha, never with lobha (attachment).

One can have much confidence in the Buddha’s teaching and this may be saddha.

However, people of other systems may have great confidence in their teachers wrong ideas. Or a scientist might be sure of his theories that life ends after physical death. Someone may have confidence in some wrong Buddhist path/technique.
These examples may seem like saddha - to the person holding them- but are actually only wrong view, miccha-ditthi, associated with lobha. No saddha at all.

These wrong ideas can and often are held very strongly, even all the life.

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According to the many modern dictionaries available:
Saddhā = faith, devotion, confidence, belief
Saddahati (verb) = (saṃ + dhā + a) To believe, to have faith

PTS: [Vedic śrad – dhā, only in impers. forms grd. śrad – dadhāna; pp. śrad – dhita; inf. śrad – dhā; cp. Av ƶraƶ – dā id.; Lat. cred – (d)o (cp. “creed”); Oir. cretim to believe. Fr. Idg. *kred (=cord˚ heart)+dhe , lit. to put one’s heart on] to believe, to have faith

In the Abhidhamma and majority Suttas, the term Saddhā is used to mean “faith in the real truth (Buddha/Dhamma/Sangha)” which is the “Buddhist meaning” of the term.

But in several other Suttas, the term Saddhā is used to mean “any kind of faith” which is the “common meaning” of the term.

Devadahasutta
‘pañca kho ime, āvuso nigaṇṭhā, dhammā diṭṭheva dhamme dvidhāvipākā.
Katame pañca? Saddhā, ruci, anussavo, ākāraparivitakko, diṭṭhinijjhānakkhanti—


‘These five things can be seen to turn out in two different ways.
What five? Faith, preference, oral tradition, reasoned contemplation, and acceptance of a view after consideration.

Caṅkīsutta
nanu evaṁ sante brāhmaṇānaṁ amūlikā saddhā sampajjatī”ti?

Api ca, bhāradvāja, susaddahitaṁyeva hoti, tañca hoti rittaṁ tucchaṁ musā;
no cepi susaddahitaṁ hoti, tañca hoti bhūtaṁ tacchaṁ anaññathā.


This being so, doesn’t the brahmins’ faith turn out to be baseless?”

Even though you have full faith in something, it may be void, hollow, and false.
And even if you don’t have full faith in something, it may be true and real, not otherwise.

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The mind is by nature attaches to everything it encounters, in terms of perception. We perceives according to our nature. We cannot perceive according to 'yatha-bhuta-nana-dassana, which is the nature of arahants. In this case, we have two choices: to let the mind attach to kusala dhamma or to attach to akusala dhamma. By nature, our minds attach to both kusala and akusala in terms of perception.

Whatever we see, hear, touch, smell, think about and/or taste, we perceive - with greed or anger. When we like something, the mind is lobha. When we dislike something, the mind is dosa. We’re supposed to get alobha, adosa, and amoha. But our untrained minds tend to be at the state of greed, anger and delusion. These three keep recurring constantly.

In this situation, we must try to attach our mind to kusala objects to have kusala citta all the time.

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Thanks, very interesting that sometimes saddha is used in this way.

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I guess I am lucky in this life to put my bet on Lord Buddha. And it works.

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There are reasons to arise the confusion, because Saddha and Lobha have some shared characteristics.

Visuddhimagga:

Herein, one of faithful temperament is parallel to one of greedy temperament because faith is strong when profitable [kamma] occurs in one of greedy temperament, owing to its special qualities being near to those of greed. For, in an unprofitable way, greed is affectionate and not over-austere, and so, in a profitable way, is faith. Greed seeks out sense desires as object, while faith seeks out the special qualities of virtue and so on. And greed does not give up what is harmful, while faith does not give up what is beneficial.

Even the temperament-types also share many characteristics.

  • The step of one of greedy nature will be springy.

  • The stance of one of greedy temperament is confident and graceful.

  • By the action: also in the acts of sweeping, etc., one of greedy temperament
    grasps the broom well, and he sweeps cleanly and evenly without hurrying or
    scattering the sand, as if he were strewing sinduvára flowers.

  • And by seeing and so on: when one of greedy temperament sees even a slightly pleasing visible object, he looks long as if surprised, he seizes on trivial virtues, discounts genuine faults, and when departing, he does so with regret as if unwilling to leave.

  • As with sweeping, so too with any action such as washing and dyeing robes, and so on. One of greedy temperament acts skilfully, gently, evenly and carefully.

  • Also one of greedy temperament wears his robe neither too tightly nor too loosely, confidently and level all round.

  • By eating: One of greedy temperament likes eating rich sweet food. When eating, he makes a round lump not too big and eats unhurriedly, savouring the various tastes. He enjoys getting something good.

  • And by seeing and so on: when one of greedy temperament sees even a slightly pleasing visible object, he looks long as if surprised, he seizes on trivial virtues, discounts genuine faults, and when departing, he does so with regret as if unwilling to leave.

  • By the kind of states occurring: in one of greedy temperament there is frequent occurrence of such states as deceit, fraud, pride, evilness of wishes, greatness of wishes, discontent, foppery and personal vanity.

Those of faithful temperament should be understood in the same way as those just described, since they are parallel.

In one of faithful temperament there is frequent occurrence of such states as free generosity, desire to see Noble Ones, desire to hear the Good Dhamma, great gladness, ingenuousness, honesty, and trust in things that inspire trust.

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It is clearly difficult these days to know who is teaching correctly and who is not.
https://suttacentral.net/an5.88/en/sujato

Numbered Discourses 5.88
Aṅguttara Nikāya 5
9. Senior Mendicants
9. Theravagga
Senior Mendicants
88. Therasutta
“Mendicants, a senior mendicant who has five qualities is acting for the hurt and unhappiness of the people, for the harm, hurt, and suffering of gods and humans.
“Pañcahi, bhikkhave, dhammehi samannāgato thero bhikkhu bahujanaahitāya paṭipanno hoti bahujanaasukhāya bahuno janassa anatthāya ahitāya dukkhāya devamanussānaṁ.

What five?
Katamehi pañcahi?

They are senior and have long gone forth.
Thero hoti rattaññū cirapabbajito;

They’re well-known, famous, with a large following that includes both laypeople and renunciates.
ñāto hoti yasassī sagahaṭṭhapabbajitānaṁ bahujanaparivāro;
Variant: sagahaṭṭhapabbajitānaṁ → gahaṭṭhapabbajitānaṁ (bj)

They receive robes, almsfood, lodgings, and medicines and supplies for the sick.
lābhī hoti cīvarapiṇḍapātasenāsanagilānappaccayabhesajjaparikkhārānaṁ;

They’re very learned, remembering and keeping what they’ve learned. These teachings are good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end, meaningful and well-phrased, describing a spiritual practice that’s entirely full and pure. They are very learned in such teachings, remembering them, reinforcing them by recitation, mentally scrutinizing them, and comprehending them theoretically.
bahussuto hoti sutadharo sutasannicayo, ye te dhammā ādikalyāṇā majjhekalyāṇā pariyosānakalyāṇā sātthaṁ sabyañjanaṁ kevalaparipuṇṇaṁ parisuddhaṁ brahmacariyaṁ abhivadanti, tathārūpāssa dhammā bahussutā honti dhātā vacasā paricitā manasānupekkhitā diṭṭhiyā appaṭividdhā;
Variant: appaṭividdhā → suppaṭividdhā (bj, sya-all, pts1ed)

But they have wrong view and distorted perspective. They draw many people away from the true teaching and establish them in false teachings.
micchādiṭṭhiko hoti viparītadassano, so bahujanaṁ saddhammā vuṭṭhāpetvā asaddhamme patiṭṭhāpeti.

People follow their example, thinking that the senior mendicant is senior and has long gone forth. Or that they’re well-known, famous, with a large following that includes both laypeople and renunciates. Or that they receive robes, almsfood, lodgings, and medicines and supplies for the sick. Or that they’re very learned, remembering and keeping what they’ve learned.
Thero bhikkhu rattaññū cirapabbajito itipissa diṭṭhānugatiṁ āpajjanti, ñāto thero bhikkhu yasassī sagahaṭṭhapabbajitānaṁ bahujanaparivāro itipissa diṭṭhānugatiṁ āpajjanti, lābhī thero bhikkhu cīvarapiṇḍapātasenāsanagilānappaccayabhesajjaparikkhārānaṁ itipissa diṭṭhānugatiṁ āpajjanti, bahussuto thero bhikkhu sutadharo sutasannicayo itipissa diṭṭhānugatiṁ āpajjanti.
A senior mendicant who has these five qualities is acting for the hurt and unhappiness of the people, for the harm, hurt, and suffering of gods and humans.
Imehi kho, bhikkhave, pañcahi dhammehi samannāgato thero bhikkhu bahujanaahitāya paṭipanno hoti bahujanaasukhāya bahuno janassa anatthāya ahitāya dukkhāya devamanussānaṁ.

A teacher may be teaching Dhamma in diverse ways - almost all of it in line with the Saddhamma (true Dhamma) but still be wrong. . In fact this was the case even in the Buddha’s time.

Apparently even Devadatta taught Dhamma quite well in some aspects.

Once 500 young monks followed him after he created a schism.
The Buddha sent Mogallana and Sariputta to bring them back. And after Devadatta had spent the night preaching Dhamma he retired with a sore back leaving the 2 chief disciples to preach- despite his acolyte Kokalika warning him of Mogallana’s and Sariputta’s “evil” intent.

The 500 monks listened to them and became sotapanna, and, now knowing truly what was right and wrong Dhamma, followed them back to the Buddha - leaving Devadatta with a heavily depleted following.
[ *see Culavagga, Sanghabhedaka-khandaka, Sanghabhedaka-katha. also DhA.i.143 and J.i.491]

We see that even Devadatta could fool those 500 bhikkhus who had the basis to become enlightened.

I think the right path must be very narrow - so while it is easy enough to accept the general gist of Dhamma, it is another few steps to distinguish the subtle path.
We really need to rely on the Dhamma and our own efforts this far from the time of the Buddha.

Therefore, Ānanda, dwell as a lamp unto yourself,
Refuge unto yourself, seeking no other refuge;
With Dhamma as your lamp,
Dhamma as your refuge, seeking no other refuge.

-Mahaparinibbana sutta

[tasmātihānanda, attadīpā viharatha attasaraṇā anaññasaraṇā,dhammadīpā dhammasaraṇā anaññasaraṇā.]

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That is so true. For me, I often use this benchmark for differentiation: Sassataditthi & Ucchedaditthi.

Quite effective to set aside the bad teachings by monks away from others.

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Just like I have said before about Bhikkhu Bodhi and his comments which have led away people from the Abhidhamma and Commentaries. But, The Buddha said it better than me.

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Yes bhante, while his one-to-one-translated text portions were helpful to understand the Dhamma, his commenting style and many of his comments has led people away from the Abhidhamma and Commentaries.

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In a similar way the teaching of anatta is my touchstone. Does the teacher really believe that all elements are utterly anatta, or do they think some are under their control in a subtle way.

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On this subject of the Four Great Authorities, the Commentary draws the attention of the reader to miscellaneous points touching on it.

(1) The Four Great Authorities as taught in the Suttanta Piṭka

(Mahāpadesa sutta, Mahāparinibbāna sutta)

(2) The Four Great Authorities as taught in the Vinaya Piṭaka

(Mahāvagga - Bhesajjakkhandhaka )

(3) Four Types of Answer

(Ekamsavādī, Vibhajjavādī, Paṭipucchā, Ṭhapanīya)

(4) The Four Vinayas

( Sutta, Suttānuloma, Ācariyavāda, Attanomati)

(5) The Three Great Buddhist Councils.

( Headed by the Venerables Mahā Kassapa, Mahā Yasa and Mahā Moggaliputta)

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