We have been covering the preparation for Infused Contemplation, the preparation of the Mindground as it were. An evacuation of the sensate faculties was in order before proper Union with the Unborn Mind could be conferred. If the mortal (and spiritual) appetites are not mortified, then the adept is still held-bound and preoccupied with habit-energy and thus not free to receive the Supernal Self-Realization and communication of the Unborn Spirit. Hence the mortification of habit-energy leaves the adept in a form of darkness and void with respect to them. The spirit is no longer fixated upon, and thus secured, from being further affected by them. The way is thus open for the first rudiments of Infused Contemplation to unfold. The active night of the senses thus ended, the way is now set for the active night of the spirit.
After passing through the first night which is a privation of sensate phenomena, one enters this second night of the spirit by living in faith, trust and compassion alone. Faith from a Buddhist perspective is as follows:
The objects of faith in Buddhism are the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha and in the Mahayana, the bodhisattvas also. Most schools of Buddhism have substantially the same attitudes to faith, one notable exception being Japan’s Jodo Shin Shu School founded in the 13th century. In a remarkable parallel to Protestantism, Jodo teaches that humans, being utterly evil and powerless, can only be saved by absolute faith and even that faith is given by the Buddha’s grace.
Faith (Pali: saddha, Sanskrit: sraddha) is an initial acceptance of the Buddha’s teaching prior to realising its truth for oneself. It is an important constituent element of all traditions of Buddhism, although the kind and nature of faith changes in the different schools. Other translations of saddha/sraddha include confidence and trust. According to received Pali-Buddhist tradition, some of the first words voiced by the Buddha after resolving to teach Dharma were, “Wide opened is the door of the Deathless to all who have ears to hear; let them send forth faith [saddha] to meet it.”
There is the case where the disciple of the noble ones is endowed with unwavering faith in the Awakened One: ‘Indeed, the Blessed One is worthy & rightly self-awakened, consummate in knowledge & conduct, well-gone, an expert with regard to the world, unexcelled as a trainer for those people fit to be tamed, the Teacher of divine & human beings, awakened, blessed.
Buddhists put faith in the reliability of the Buddha as a truly awakened spiritual friend and faith, conviction and confidence in the three jewels.
The ariyan [noble] disciple is of faith; he has faith in the Awakening of the Tathagata [Buddha], and thinks: He is indeed Lord, perfected one, fully Self-Awakened One, endowed with right knowledge and conduct, well-farer, knower of the world(s), matchless charioteer of men to be tamed, teacher of devas [gods] and men, the Awakened One, the Lord. (wiki)
A further embellishment of faith occurs in the Flower Ornament Sutra:
Faith is the basis of the Path, the mother of virtues,
Nourishing and growing all good ways,
Cutting away the net of doubt, freeing from the torrent of passion, Revealing the unsurpassed road of ultimate peace.
When faith is undefiled, the mind is pure;
Obliterating pride, it is the root of reverence,
And the foremost wealth in the treasury of religion …
Faith is generous …
Faith can joyfully enter the Buddha’s teaching;
Faith can increase knowledge and virtue;
Faith can ensure arrival at enlightenment …
Faith can go beyond the pathways of demons,
And reveal the unsurpassed road of liberation.
Faith is the unspoiled seed of virtue,
Faith can grow the seed of enlightenment.
Faith can increase supreme knowledge,
Faith can reveal all Buddhas …
Faith is most powerful, very difficult to have;
It’s like in all worlds having
the wondrous wish-fulfilling pearl. (Wiki)
Thus, for the Aryian Spirit (The Noble One), faith is a prerequisite in order to ‘Put on the Illumined Mind of the Tathagatas.’ It’s the beginning of the Divine Infusion of ‘Still-Grace’, of being still and unhindered in the great Mind-Field of All Buddhas. Faith is walking secure in the dark night of things unknown by sensate reality. One comes to be instilled with the gnosis that ‘unsurpassed bodhipower’ always emanates from this deep faith. A second component that develops out of faith is Trust. In the Mahayana, Āśraddhya is a lack of faith being directly incurred from a lack of trust, of trust in the freeing message of the Buddhadharma. Thus, the spirit needs to be purged from six root unwholesome factors:
1. Raga: attachment
2. Pratigha: anger
3. Avidya: ignorance
4. Māna: pride, conceit
5. Vicikitsa: doubt
6. Dṛiṣṭi: wrong view
With Faith in the Tathagata, Trust in the Buddhadharma, and the Living Compassion of the Sangha, the Noble Spirit charts a course unknown in normal human exchange. Faith causes a darkness and a void in the intellect, Trust begets an emptiness of possessions in the memory, and Compassion produces the sheer emptiness of affection and joy of all that is not of the Unborn. Hence, there is a total absence of all spiritual faculties (linked with sensate phenomena) that can be a hindrance to divine union. One no longer places a premium on spiritual visions and apparitions produced either supernally or by the natural light of the imagination. Always be mindful that Mara, too, can transform himself as an angel of light and produce spiritual visions of his own design. Absent, too, is the spiritual delight in pleasing fragrances like incense. Yea, the spirit needs to empty itself of all this in order to rest unattached to anything but the proximate union with the Unborn Mind. The adept must refute the notion that they are somehow doing nothing in this new spiritual realization. They must not disturb their newfound quietude in the ALL of ALL by retreating backwards into pleasing sensations stirred by the imagination. The following are certain signposts from John of the Cross in discerning that the time is ripe to discontinue all former discursive meditations:
The first is the realization that one cannot make discursive meditation or receive satisfaction from it as before. Dryness is now the outcome of fixing the senses on subjects that formerly provided satisfaction. However, as long as one can make discursive meditation and draw out satisfaction, one must not abandon this method. Meditation must be discontinued only when the soul is placed in that peace and quietude to be spoken of in the third sign.
The second sign is an awareness of a disinclination to fix the imagination or sense faculties on other particular objects, exterior or interior. I am not affirming that the imagination will cease to come and go ‐‐ even in deep recollection it usually wanders freely ‐‐ but that the person does not want to fix it purposely on extraneous things.
The third and surest sign is that a person likes to remain alone in loving awareness of [the Unborn], without particular considerations, in interior peace and quiet and repose, and without the acts and exercises (at least discursive, those in which one progresses from point to point) of the intellect, memory and will. Such a one prefers to remain only in the general loving awareness and knowledge we mentioned, without any particular knowledge or understanding.
*we do not mean that those beginning to have this general loving knowledge should never again try to meditate. In the beginning of this state the habit of contemplation is not so perfect that one can at will enter into this act, neither is one so remote from discursive meditation as to be always incapable of it. One can at times in a natural way meditate discursively as before and discover something new in this. Indeed, at the outset, on judging through the signs mentioned above that the soul is not occupied in repose and knowledge, individuals will need to make use of meditation. This need will continue until they acquire the habit of contemplation to a certain perfect degree. The indication of this will be that every time they intend to meditate they immediately notice this knowledge and peace as well as their own lack of power or desire to meditate…Until reaching this stage (of those already proficient in contemplation), people will sometimes meditate and sometimes be in contemplation.
*When spiritual persons cannot meditate, they should learn to remain [still in the Unborn] presence with a loving attention and a tranquil intellect, even though they seem to themselves to be idle. For little by little and very soon the divine calm and peace with a wondrous, sublime knowledge of [the Unborn], enveloped in divine love, will be infused into their souls. They should not interfere with forms or discursive meditations and imaginings. Otherwise the soul will be disquieted and drawn out of its peaceful contentment to distaste and repugnance. And if, as we said, scruples about their inactivity arise, they should remember that pacification of the soul (making it calm and peaceful, inactive and desireless) is no small accomplishment.
[ ]=inclusion mine
Hence, in this active night of the spirit, the spiritual adept needs to withdraw from all apprehensions. One’s eyes need to be fixated on the imageless abode of the Unborn Mind, not what belongs to the former and inadequate sphere of the phenomena, whether natural or spiritual in nature.