Saddhā: faith, confidence. A Buddhist is said to have faith if he believes in the Perfect One's the Buddha's Enlightenment; M 53; A.V, 2, or in the Triple Gem see: ti-ratana by taking his refuge in them see: ti-sarana His faith, however, should be;reasoned and rooted in understanding; ākāravatā saddhā dassanamūlika M. 47, and he is asked to investigate and test the object of his faith M. 47, 95. A Buddhist's faith is not in conflict with the spirit of inquiry, and;doubt about dubitable things; A. II, 65; S. XLII, 13 is admitted and inquiry into them is encouraged. The 'ability of faith' saddhindriya should be balanced with that of understanding paññindriya see: indriya-samatta It is said:; A Bhikkhu who has understanding, establishes his faith in accordance with that understanding; S. XLVIII, 45. Through understanding and understanding, faith becomes an inner certainty and firm conviction based on one's own experience.
Faith is called the seed Sn. v. 77 of all advantageous states because, according to commentarial explanations, it inspires the mind with confidence okappana pasāda and determination adhimokkha for 'launching out' pakhandhana see: M. 122 to cross the flood of samsāra
Unshakable faith is attained on reaching the first stage of Nobility, 'stream-entry' sotāpatti, see: ariya-puggala when the fetter of sceptical doubt vicikicchā see: samyojana is eliminated. Unshakable confidence avecca-pasāda in the Three Jewels is one of the characteristic qualities of the Stream-winner sotāpannassa angāni.
Faith is a mental concomitant, present in all kammically advantageous, and its corresponding neutral, consciousness. It is one of the 4 streams of merit puññadhārā, one of the 5 spiritual abilities indriya, spiritual powers bala, elements of exertion padhāniyanga and one of the 7 treasures dhana.
Maha Thera Nyanatiloka. Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines, Buddhist Publication Society, first edition 1952.