The Inexhaustible Lamp of Faith: Faith and Awakening in the Japanese Rinzai Tradition

Erez Hekigan Joskovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


In the modern period, Zen has often been depicted as a faithless form of spirituality that favors discarding authority and encourages existential doubt. The primary objective of this article is to challenge this assumption by highlighting the importance of faith in the Zen tradition. To achieve this goal, I focused on Shūmon mujintō ron, a major text of the Rinzai tradition, written by the eminent Japanese master Tōrei Enji (1721-1792). After establishing “faith” as an analytic category for studying Zen, I adopted the philosophical framework of necessary and sufficient conditions in order to elucidate the relationship between faith and awakening, as well as the interdependency of faith and doubt in Zen training. By examining the role of faith in the text, I shed new light on the role of faith in the Zen tradition, particularly in Rinzai training.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-338
Number of pages20
JournalJapanese Journal of Religious Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Doubt
  • Faith
  • Rinzai
  • Shūmon mujintō ron
  • Tōrei Enji
  • Zen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies


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