A Buddhist is said to have
faith if "he believes in the Perfect One's (the Buddha's)
Enlightenment" (M 53; A.V, 2), or in the Three Jewels (s. ti-ratana),
by taking his refuge in them (s. ti-sarana). His faith, however, should
be "reasoned and rooted in understanding" (ākāravatā saddhā
dassanamūlika; M. 47), and he is asked to investigate and test the object
of his faith (M. 47, 95). A Buddhist's faith is not in conflict with the spirit
of inquiry, and "doubt about dubitable things" (A. II, 65; S. XLII,
13) is admitted and inquiry into them is encouraged. The 'ability of faith' (saddhindriya)
should be balanced with that of wisdom (paññindriya; s. indriya-samatta).
It is said: "A monk who has understanding, establishes his faith in
accordance with that understanding" (S. XLVIII, 45). Through wisdom and
understanding, faith becomes an inner certainty and firm conviction based on
one's own experience.
Faith is called the seed (Sn. v. 77) of all advantageous states
because, according to commentarial explanations, it inspires the mind with
confidence (okappana, pasāda) and determination (adhimokkha), for
'launching out' (pakkhandhana; s. M. 122) to cross the flood of samsāra.
Unshakable faith is attained on reaching the first stage of
holiness, 'stream-entry' (sotāpatti, s. ariyapuggala), when the
fetter of sceptical doubt (vicikicchā; s. samyojana) is
eliminated. Unshakable confidence (avecca-pasāda) in the Three Jewels is
one of the characteristic qualities of the Stream-winner (sotāpannassa
Faith is a mental concomitant, present in all karmically
advantageous, and its corresponding neutral, consciousness (s. Tab. II). It is one
of the 4 streams of merit (puññadhārā, q.v.), one of the 5 spiritual
abilities (indriya, q.v.), spiritual powers (bala, q.v.), elements
of exertion (padhāniyanga, q.v.) and one of the 7 treasures (dhana, q.v.).
See Faith in the Buddha's Teaching, by Soma Thera (WHEEL
262). "Does Saddhā mean Faith?'' by ñānamoli Thera (in