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Śraddhā (P. saddhā; T. dad pa དད་པ་; C. xin; J. shin; K. sin 信) is translated as "faith", "confidence", "trust", etc. The term also includes the sense of "belief".[1] According to Buswell, the term "has a wide range of meaings in Buddhism."[1] These meanings include:

  • a postitive disposition toward the Buddha[1]
  • faith or conviction in the "efficacy of the Buddhist path"[1]
  • a conviction to follow that path[1]

Śraddhā is identified in the following contexts:

Pali tradition

A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma states:

The first of the beautiful cetasikas is faith, which has the characteristic of placing faith or of trusting. Its function is to clarify, as a water-clearing gem causes muddy water to become clear; or its function is to set forth, as one might set forth to cross a flood. It is manifested as non-fogginess, i.e. the removal of the mind’s impurities, or as resolution. Its proximate cause is something to place faith in, or the hearing of the Good Dhamma, etc., that constitute the factors of stream-entry.[2]

Nina van Gorkom states:

Saddha is not blind faith in a person, it is confidence in wholesomeness. There is saddha with dana, with sila and with bhavana. There cannot be any kind of wholesomeness without saddha. Saddha is called by the Atthasalini the "forerunner of wholesomeness".[3]

The Atthasālinī states:

It has purifying or aspiring as its characteristic. As the water-purifying gem of the universal monarch thrown into water causes solids, alluvia, waterweeds and mud to subside and makes the water clear, transparent and undisturbed, so faith arising discards the hindrances, causes the corruptions to subside, purifies the mind and makes it undisturbed: the mind being purified, the aspirant of noble family gives gifts, observes the precepts, performs the duties of "uposatha"[lower-alpha 1], and commences bhavana. Thus faith should be known to have purifying as its characteristic...[3]

Sanskrit tradition

Geshe Tashi Tsering states:

Faith [śraddhā] in Buddhism does not refer to blind faith, but to faith that arises from observation and reflection. The Buddha's teachings include things too subtle for us to fully comprehend at this time, such as the most intricate workings of karma. But because we can prove the logical truth of what the Buddha says about things we can check up on, such as momentary impermanence, we can develop conviction that the more subtle teachings are also correct.[4]

The Khenjuk states:

Śraddhā is admiration of, longing towards, and trust in that which is true. It supports determination.[5]

The Abhidharma-samuccaya states:

What is śraddhā? It is a deep conviction, lucidity, and longing for those things which are real, have value, and are possible. It functions as the basis of sustained interest.[6]

StudyBuddhism states:

Believing a fact to be true (dad-pa) focuses on something existent and knowable, something with good qualities, or an actual potential, and considers it either existent or true, or considers a fact about it as true. Thus, it implies accepting reality.
There are three types:
  • Clearheadedly believing a fact about something (dang-ba’i dad-pa) is clear about a fact and, like a water purifier, clears the mind. Vasubandhu specified that it clears the mind of disturbing emotions and attitudes about the object.
  • Believing a fact based on reason (yid-ches-kyi dad-pa) considers a fact about something to be true based on thinking about reasons that prove it.
  • Believing a fact with an aspiration concerning it (mngon-‘dod-kyi dad-pa) considers true both a fact about something and an aspiration we consequently hold about the object, such as that we can attain a positive goal and that we shall attain it.[7]

Three types

In Tibetan Buddhism, three types of śraddhā are identified.

The three types are:

  • inspiration or inspired faith (Tib. དང་བའི་དད་པ་, Wyl. dang ba'i dad pa)
  • certainty or confident faith (Tib. ཡིད་ཆེས་ཀྱི་དད་པ་, Wyl. yid ches kyi dad pa)
  • faith of aspiration (Tib. འདོད་པའི་དད་པ་, Wyl. ‘dod pa’i dad pa)

Alternate translations

  • confidence-trust (Guenther)
  • faith
  • belief
  • believing a fact to be true (Berzin)
  • confidence
  • trust

See also


  1. Uposatha days are days of fasting or vigil; uposatha is observed an the days of full-moon and new-moon, and sometimes also on the days of the first and last moon-quarter. in Buddhist countries there is a tradition for lay-followers to visit temples and to observe eight precepts on these days.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Robert E. Buswell Jr., Donald S. Lopez Jr., The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism (Princeton: 2014), s.v. śraddhā
  2. Bhikkhu Bodhi 2000, s.v. Faith (saddhā).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Gorkom (2010), Confidence (saddha)
  4. Geshe Tashi Tsering 2006, p. 85.
  5. Mipham Rinpoche 2004, s.v. Faith.
  6. Yeshe Gyeltsen 1975, s.v. Confidence-trust [dad pa].
  7. Berzin, s.v. Believing a fact to be true (dad-pa).


Further reading

  • Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel, The Logic of Faith: the Buddhist Path to Finding Certainty Beyond Belief and Doubt (Boulder: Shambhala Publications, 2018)

External links