I’ve been thinking about faith. About what it is to me and how it relates to my practice. This reflection then led me to think about doubt, faith’s counterpart. And quite naturally, determination followed. Kapleau Roshi called these the Three Pillars of Zen, and his teacher, Yasutani Roshi, referred to them as the Three Essentials: Great Faith, Great Doubt, and Great Determination.
As I explored these essentials it occurred to me that each one contains itself, plus the other two. So instead of just three, we have three containing three, each of which contains three, and so on, into infinity. It’s like the image of a candle multiplied endlessly between two mirrors. That’s why, in order to practice, we only need a little bit of faith, just enough doubt, a flicker of determination. We need just enough to turn toward ourselves, toward a path, toward a different way of meeting our minds, which is the same as meeting the world. We just need one percent, Yasutani Roshi once said—enough to get us started. And if we stay with it, that bit of light will spark another bit of light that gets reflected in a skillful action, a word, a moment of letting go, and this flicker sparks another and another.Read more