The Teachings of Won Buddhism
The Threefold Practice
To reduce and eliminate suffering caused by greed, anger and ignorance, we practice the Noble Eightfold Path. This Eightfold path is summarized as the Threefold Practice in Won Buddhism: Cultivation of Spirit; Inquiry into Human Affairs and Universal Principles; and Choice in Action. It is like cleaning, polishing, and utilizing our natural, intrinsic mirror or original mind that is perfect and complete, utterly impartial and selfless. These elements of the Threefold Practice are closely related to and complement each other like the three legs of a tripod; without one, the others cannot stand.
The Threefold Practice is the path to uncover our Buddha Nature and the way to Nirvana (profound peace of mind).
- For Cultivation of the Spirit and to maintain the serenity of our own Buddha Nature, we practice Right mindfulness and Right meditation. It is settling down and focusing our mind. This can be done through meditation and prayer. It is like weeding a field before planting seeds.
- For Inquiry into Human affairs and universal principles and to maintain wisdom of our own Buddha nature, we practice Right view and Right thoughts. It is a way to hone and brighten our inner wisdom in all human affairs and universal principles by means of scripture study, koan practice, and dharma discussion.
- For Choice in Action and to maintain compassion of our own Buddha Nature, we practice Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood and Right Effort. It is a path to use our mind according to its nature. Observing precepts, mindfulness practice are the subjects of mindful choice in action.
"The Threefold Practice in the traditional Buddhism includes Precepts (sila), Concentration (samadhi), and Wisdom (prajna). This is different in its scope from our Won Buddhist Threefold Practice. While Precepts stress the individual details of precepts, Mindful Choice in Action is the essential way of practice to choose the correct things in the cultivation of personal life, regulating the household, governing a country, and creating a peaceful world. While Wisdom focuses on the innate wisdom that arises from our original nature, Dharma Study is the way of comprehending all human affairs and principles. Concentration of Mind is achieved for through Meditation; Spiritual Cultivation is the way of maintaining One Mind in action and at rest. One can achieve great success in whatever one does through this Threefold Practice; and so there is no better way of practice."
The Dharma Words of Master Chongsan
The Fourfold Grace
All beings in the universe are interconnected with one another. Nothing in the universe can exist in and by itself. Each being in the universe is related to and indebted to other beings for its existence. The term Grace in Won-Buddhism, signifies this interdependency and interconnection between all things. With regard to human existence, all things in the universe are classified into four groups and are known as the Fourfold Grace:
• The Grace of Heaven and Earth
• The Grace of Parents
• The Grace of Fellow Beings
• The Grace of Laws
The Fourfold Grace is the manifestation of Dharmakaya (Truth) Buddha or Il Won Sang. It could be said that the Fourfold Grace and Dharmakaya Buddha are two sides of the same coin. In Won Buddhism, we see the world from the perspectives of Grace which implies “co-existence” “interdependence” and “oneness”.
Treating every living things as a Buddha is an act of faith in Won Buddhism and is expressed in the motto:
"Everywhere a Buddha Image, Every Act a Buddha Offering."
The Four Great Principles
Right Enlightenment and Right Practice means that we are to be enlightened and to follow the truth of Il-Won, the mind-seal transmitted by buddhas and enlightened masters, in order that our conduct will be perfect – without partiality, bias, excessiveness or deficiency – when we use our six sense organs: eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind.
Awareness of Grace and requital of grace means that we should be grateful and deeply aware of our indebtedness to the graces of Heaven and Earth, Parents, Fellow Beings and Laws. Even in a situation where we might be resentful, we should respond with gratitude knowing that from which all grace derives, and giving thanks for that situation.
Practical Application of Buddhadharma means that we should handle our worldly affairs better on account of being Buddhists rather than inefficiently because of our attachment to Buddhist doctrine. We do not want to be useless to the world because we are Buddhist practitioners but to be very useful to our families, society and our nation through the practical application of the Buddhadharma.
Selfless Service to the Public means that we should abandon egoism and self-indulgence for ourselves and our families and devote ourselves to the noble task of delivering sentient beings by means of the altruistic practice of the Mahayana.