Just as all plants grow from earth, all spiritual attainments, good qualities, or virtues must be grounded in faith. Faith is like a mother who gives birth to those good things. Without a mother, they cannot be born. The ideal mother nourishes her children, teaches them, and helps them to grow. Faith is similar. Your practice of virtue is as strong as your faith. If your faith is shaky, your practice is shaky, and you won’t achieve your goal. If you don’t know what you are doing or why you are doing it, you will lack confidence. You will be uncomfortable, worried that you can’t do something correctly or that you are doing something wrong. This is good discomfort! It is foolish not to be uncomfortable when you lack understanding. This discomfort can be alleviated by gaining understanding. If your faith is based on strong understanding, you will joyfully engage in meritorious behavior. That is the practice of dharma.

From Nagarjuna’s Advice for Buddhists: Geshe Sopa’s Explanation of Letter to a Friend by Geshe Sopa with Beth Newman from Wisdom Publications.

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