Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience

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9780007151141: Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience

Faith is a word that is often misunderstood - we may think the innocent lucky few have it while the rest of us couldn't possibly, or that we have to give up independence to attain it. In this book, Sharon Salzberg strips away negative conceptions that dismiss faith as being divisive or requiring blind adherence to a belief system. She offers advice on understanding faith as a healing quality that is grounded in common sense, intelligence and, most importantly, our own experience. Weaving her own personal story into the text (her father became mentally ill and her mother died suddenly when she was a child), the author speaks of her search for meaning. She chronicles her encounter with the East and with Buddhism, but tells the story in an everyday style that should appeal to Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike.

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Review:

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

About the Author:

Sharon Salzberg has been practising and studying Buddhism for more than thirty years. Now a renowned meditation instructor, she trained with Buddhist masters in India, Burma, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet and many other countries. She is a cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society, a centre dedicated to meditation training, and the Center for Buddhist Studies in Massachusetts. The bestselling author of Lovingkindness: the Revolutionary Art of Happiness, Salzberg lives in New York City and Massachusetts.

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