The Logic of Faith by Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel is a remarkable book which explores the much-maligned topic of faith. Here in the West, faith is often viewed as something to be avoided, because it tends to be seen as an opponent to logic and reason. In this title, the author presents a quite different perspective, and it is one in which faith and logic work hand-in-hand to help us experience truth in a direct way which goes far beyond the limits of purely conceptual understanding.
Elizabeth, who has been practicing the buddhadharma for over three decades under the guidance of Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, is Retreat Master at Longchen Jigme Samten Ling in southern Colarado and teaches extensively throughout the USA and Europe. Her considerable wealth of experience, both as a practitioner and as a teacher, shines through the pages of this book, which is best approached as an experiential guide that will enable you to discover, for yourself, the interdependence of all things.
That might sound like a lot to expect from a book, but The Logic of Faith is superbly written, and will take you – step-by-step – on a journey of open questioning. Several of the chapters include one or more meditations, and if you actually practice these as and when instructed, you will come to know what is being written about for yourself.
The book begins with two Forewords – one written by Thupten Jinpa and one by Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche – and a Preface in which Elizabeth shares something of her background and practice. An Introduction then follows, and there the author discusses using the principle of pratityasamutpada, or dependent arising, as a tool for exploring The F-Word (faith).
From there, the journey of exploration begins in earnest, and over the course of five chapters, the author encourages the reader to explore what faith really means. You will examine the surprisingly nebulous nature of truth, knowing and reality, and learn why it is important to investigate things for yourself, as well as how to do so. You will explore faith as a way of being rather than a ‘truth’, and progress to consider the topics of citizenship and living tradition from that new perspective.
By the time you close this book (assuming that you have practiced the meditations and worked with the teachings provided rather than merely reading the words on the pages) you will realise that The Logic of Faith is not an oxymoron, but that faith and logic really can, and probably should, go hand in hand.