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The Logic Of Faith

Faith is a thorny subject these days.  Its negative manifestations and its seeming incompatibility with reason cause many to dismiss it out of hand. But Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel urges us to reconsider:  for faith is really nothing but our natural proclivity to find certainty in a world where certainty is hard to come by.  And if we look carefully, we’ll discover that the faith impulse isn’t separate from logic at all—faith and logic in fact work together in a playful and dynamic relationship that reveals the profoundest kind of truth—a truth beyond the limits of “is” and “is not.” Using the traditional Buddhist teachings on dependent arising, Elizabeth leads us on an experiential journey to discover the essential interdependence of everything, and through that thrilling discovery to open ourselves to the whole wonderful range of human experience.

Excerpt: "I wrote this book as a tribute to the experience of grace, the source, from which all authentic faith traditions have emerged. But I also had something else in mind. I wanted to introduce the natural principle of Pratityasamutpada, 'dependent arising,' into a bigger conversation regarding faith. I wanted to present an investigation that would liberate 'faith' from the stagnant realm of individual and cultural beliefs and go beyond the vague assumptions that remain locked up in language." 

I welcome The Logic of Faith with both excitement and relief. To generations of Western practitioners habituated to linear thinking, the Buddha’s central teaching of pratityasamutpada has remained a hidden jewel, taken as either too obvious to be interesting (as ‘everything has a cause’) or too arcane to be relevant to real life. Elizabeth Namgyel not only grasps, but conveys with fresh immediacy and delight the essence of this key to the dharma. She helps us to experience the reciprocity at the heart of the universe—and, in so doing, to rediscover our mutual belonging and the sheer grace of our existence.
— Joanna Macy, author of Coming Back to Life

The Power of An Open Question: The Buddha’s Path to Freedom

©2010 Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel. Published by Shambhala Publications.

Life is uncertain. We never know what happens next. And yet, despite uncertainty, we continue to search for a place to rest. Trying to find security in a fluid and changing world defines our struggle as human beings—our predicament.

In her book, The Power of an Open Question, author Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel takes this predicament by the horns and turns it into an inquiry…and she invites us to join her. Uncertainty, she suggests, can haunt us if we are looking for security. But Namgyel challenges us to see uncertainty in another way: “Wonder, amazement, creativity, our sense of adventure, we would have none of this if we had all the answers we’re looking for.” This spirit of wonderment is what she calls “open questioning”.

Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel has written a bold, playful and invigorating book about the Buddha’s most important and subtle teachings—the teachings on emptiness. As we read, we walk with her through the world of experience, looking clearly without reaching conclusions. We understand emptiness as a continuous discovery; we see life full of possibility for liberation. The Power of an Open Question is an important contribution to Buddhist literature of our times.
— Ani Pema Chodron

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