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WON BUDDHIST TEACHING

WON BUDDHISM OF AUSTIN

IL WON SANG

A SHAPE THAT COMPLETELY FLAWLESS

ll Won Sang (O) is the circular symbol of the Dharmakaya Buddha and the Buddha Nature of all beings. In Won Buddhism, the image of the human Buddha is replaced by Il Won Sang (O) which represents the perfect nature of the Buddha’s heart and mind that is not different from our original nature.

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Il Won (One Circle) is the Dharmakaya Buddha, the origin of all things in the universe, the truth that all buddhas and sages enlightened to, and the original nature of all setient beings.

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VENERABLE SOTAESAN

ST. AUGUSTINE

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God is a circle whose center is everywhere, whose circumference is nowhere.

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Won literally means circle and symbolizes the ulitmate reality. From ancient times many spiritual traditions have expressed the universal truth through the image of a circle. In early Christianity, God was dipicted by a circle and in the Zen tradition, Buddha nature or our original mind has been symbolized by a circular image.

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Kwangjon asked, “What is the relationship between Il Won Sang and human beings?” The Founding Master answered, "You have asked about a great truth. In our order, we enshrine Il-Won-Sang in the same way that Buddhists in the past have enshrined Buddha images. However, a Buddha image manifests the physical form of the Buddha, but Il-Won-Snag manifests the mind-essence of the Buddha. The physical form represents only his human form, but the mind-essence is vast and infinite, combining being and nonbeing and sustaining itself through the three times periods of past, present, and future. Hence, it is the original source of the myriad things in heaven and earth and the realm of Samadhi beyond all words and speech. Confucianism calls it the grand ultimate or the ultimate of nonbeing; Daoism calls it nature or the Way; Buddhism calls it the pure Dharmakaya Buddha. In principle, however, all of these are different expressions for the same thing."

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Il Won (One Circle) is the Dharmakaya Buddha, the origin of all things in the universe, the truth that all buddhas and sages enlightened to, and the original nature of all setient beings.

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THE SCRIPTURES OF WON BUDDHISM

THE FOURFOLD GRACE

THE WAY THE WORLD FLOWS

Grace, in Won Buddhism, is a core expression of the interdependency and interconnectedness of all. It was expressed by Sotaesan based on his own awakening to the truth that nothing can exist without being interrelated with others. 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, and 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”.

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“If we wish most easily to understand the grace we have received from heaven and earth, parents, all living beings, and Dharma, we first must consider whether we could sustain our existence and live without them. Then, even the most stupid or ignorant among us would acknowledge that we could not live without them. If there is a relationship where in we cannot live without the other, then where would there be a grace greater than that?” “If we were to specify the content of Il Won Sang, it is in fact the fourfold grace; if we were to specify the content of the fourfold grace, it is in face all things in the universe; and there is nothing among the myriad things in the universe that is not the Buddha.”

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Sentient beings turn even a benefactor ten times over into an object of resentment if he fails just once to favor them. Persons of the Way thank a person who has wronged them even ten times over if he favors them just once. Therefore, sentient beings discover only the harm within grace and bring on disorder and disruption; persons of the Way find the grace within harm and bring on peace and comfort.

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THE SCRIPTURES OF WON BUDDHISM

PRAYER

May heaven and earth watch over us

May parents watch over us

May fellow beings respond to us

May laws respond to us

Dharmakaya Buddha, Fourfold Grace.

We have gathered here with our hearts enjoined to renew our commitment to cultivate our spirituality to restore inner peace and joy. We pray everyone becomes emboldened in their hearts, to see the path that leads to love and peace.

May we spend more time in meditation and silence to get to know ourselves completely in order to build peace on earth. May we be enabled and empowered by inner strength, inspiration and motivation as One Family within One House. Let us restore our Buddha Nature which is far more powerful than external challenges and difficulties.

 

May we let go of everything to live a new life to start a new day each day. May we nurture ourselves to uncover our inborn wisdom and see the truth, the truth about ourselves, the truth about others,and the truth about the universe. May this service deepen and strengthen our love for all.

Thank you.

Prayer
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Prayer, by Bonnie Ostroff

May I Follow You
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May I Follow You,  Produced by Joel Ostroff

Come to the Temple Within
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Come to the Temple Within,  Produced by Joel Ostroff

THE THREEFOLD STUDY

PATH TO UNCOVER THE TRUE SELF

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 Study 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 Study are closely related to and complement each other like the three legs of a tripod; without one, the others cannot stand.

The Threefold Study is the path to uncover our

Buddha Nature and the way to Nirvana.

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.

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When using our minds in all sensory conditions, we should act always in a fair and upright manner, without being drawn in by joy, anger, sorrow, or happiness, or by degrees of remoteness or closeness, intimacy or distance. Therefore, awakening to the principle of Il Won means to see one’s nature (kyŏnsŏng); guarding the essential nature of Il Won means to nourish one’s nature (yangsŏng); and to engage in conduct that is well-rounded like Il Won means to command one’s nature (solsŏng). These are the essential Ways of our practice, namely Cultivating the Spirit, Inquiry into Human Affairs and Universal Principles, and Choice in Action, and they are the equivalent of the three trainings in precepts (Sila), absorption (Samadhi), and wisdom (Prajna) taught by the Buddha of the past. Cultivation is both absorption and nourishing one’s nature; Inquiry is both wisdom and seeing one’s nature; Choice is both precepts and commanding one’s nature. If we sincerely follow this practice, then regardless of whether we are educated or not, intelligent or not, male or female, old or young, we will all be able to attain Buddha-hood.”

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THE SCRIPTURES OF WON BUDDHISM

THE FOUR GREAT PRINCIPLES

WHERE TO GIVE OUR SINCERENESS

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.

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Sotaesan, accompanied by Cho Songgwang and Chŏn ŭmgwang, went for a stroll one day through the outskirts of Namjung village. By the roadside there were several huge pine trees, which were exceptionally gorgeous. Songgwang said, “These pine trees are truly gorgeous! How I would love to transplant them to our temple!” Upon hearing this, Sotaesan said, “Why can’t you transcend your narrow-mindedness and limited scope? Our temple has not left this old pine tree and this old pine tree has not left our temple; they are both within our boundaries. What is the point of insisting on transplanting it? This is because you have not yet discovered the original home of the grand universe, by transcending the discrimination and the gaps between things.” Songgwang asked, “What sort of a place is this original home of the grand universe?” Sotaesan said, “Since you would not understand it even if you were to see it now, I will show it to you by drawing a symbol.” He then traced the Il Won Sang on the ground and said, “This is the original home of the grand universe. Within it are included, without exception, infinite arcane principles, infinite treasures, and infinite creative transformation.” Ŭmgwang asked, “What can I do to find my way to this house and become its owner?” The Founding Master said, “One may enter by acquiring the key of the three great powers. That key is forged through faith, courage, perseverance, and inquiring mind.

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THE SCRIPTURES OF WON BUDDHISM

PRACTICE

FOCUS YOUR STATE OF MIND

WHAT IS PRACTICE?

 

There is a certain type of African elephant that is said to travel to its birthplace when it feels that it is near death. Spiritual practice is returning to our home, our true self, through discovering our original nature, which is inherently wise and compassionate, lacking nothing. When the ripples disappear from the surface of a lake, the moon is reflected accurately. Similarly, spiritual practice begins with calming down and concentrating our minds. From the surface of a calm, tranquil and focused mind, wisdom, compassion, inner happiness and freedom will arise.

There was a man who had led a very anxious and restless life. One day he visited a prominent Buddhist master in order to restore peace and tranquility to his mind. The master just told him, “You need to practice the dharma.”


From the very next day that man attended all the services and rituals, and learned many rites. When he thought that he had learned all that he needed to know about the dharma, he again visited the master. However, he was once again told, “You need to practice the dharma.” Now the man began to study the scriptures fervently and with great determination. The next time he visited the master, he was told the very same thing, “You need to practice the dharma.”


The man then commenced to practice sitting meditation, nearly all day long, for several years, and once more went to see the teacher thinking that this time he had really practiced the dharma. Yet again the teacher told him, “You need to practice the dharma.” The man, now very upset and frustrated, shouted angrily, “Master! What IS practicing the dharma?!” The master replied, “Practicing the dharma is working with your mind.”


Spiritual practice is none other than calming, brightening, and correcting our minds. In the calm, bright and focused state of mind, perpetual, unconditional, indestructible happiness and freedom arise.

THE PRACTICE OF WON BUDDHISM

 

The founding master Sotaesan said that a living religion or practice is not separate from our ordinary lives, and that Buddhadharma exists for the sake of our life, not the other way around. Won Buddhist practice is characterized by a balanced and simultaneous practice of the Threefold Study in our daily lives.

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The purpose of having you recite the essential dharmas of daily practice in the morning and evening does not lie in reciting simply the words. Rather, it is intended to help you grasp their meaning in your hearts and assess it in your minds, reviewing them generally once a day, and more specifically examining them each time you are faced with sensory conditions. You must assess and check your mind over and over to see whether or not your mind-ground is disturbed, deluded, or subject to wrong-doing; whether or not you have been making active progress in belief, zeal, questioning, and dedication; whether or not you have been living in gratitude, living a life of self-power, readily learning, readily teaching, and benefiting others. You must do this until ultimately you reach a state in which the mind needs no checking. It is said that a person’s mind is so extremely subtle that it exists when you take hold of it, but disappears when you let it go. How then can a person cultivate one’s mind without checking it? Therefore, in order that you may realize this checking mind, I have established Items of Heedfulness in Daily Applications and Items of Heedfulness Regarding Temple Visits, and also established the Dharma of Keeping a Diary to examine thoroughly whether one has followed these instructions well. Thus, I have provided perfectly precise guidance regarding your methods of practice. I urge all of you to practice diligently according to this dharma, and to accomplish the great task of transcending the ordinary and entering sagehood as quickly as possible.

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VENERABLE SOTAESAN, THE FOUNDING MASTER

DHARMA WORDS

QUOTES OF THE TEACHINGS

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We have enshrined as the object of faith and the model of practice Il-Won-Sang (One Circle Image), the Dharmakāya (law-body) Buddha, which is the original source of all things in the universe and the mind-seal of all the buddhas and sages. We have laid down as the main principles of faith and practice the Fourfold Grace of Heaven and Earth, Parents, Fellow Beings, and Laws, and the Threefold Study of Cultivating the Spirit, Inquiry into Human Affairs and Universal Principles, and Choice in Action. Our aim is to become adherents of a broad and consummate religion by incorporating and making use as well of the doctrines of all the world’s religions.

THE PRINCIPAL BOOK OF WON BUDDHISM

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The Founding Master said, “Such was the case when I had no one to guide me on the path of seeking the truth. An absence of guidance led me to undergo various extreme ascetic practices. On the other hand, how fortunate you are to have me as your experienced teacher, who has paved a great wide path for any blind person to follow with a sense of assurance, and has built a comfortable house in which you can devote yourselves to your studies, free from care or worries. Despite such fortune, seeking some other path while here in this house, as some of you are still inclined to do, will be a vain effort no matter how long and hard you try. If you abandon your disbelief and apply faith, zeal, doubt, and sincerity continuously, you will no doubt succeed, even with half of the effort I used. If you strictly follow my Dharma, you will reach the same degree in one or two years; formerly it would have taken a hundred years for a person with a high degree of ability to practice Buddha’s teaching.”

THE ADDITIONAL DISCOURSES OF FOUNDING MASTER SOTAESAN

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A child grows up and becomes an adult, an ordinary being awakens and becomes a buddha, or a disciple learns and becomes a master. Therefore, you must acquire more and more real ability and become teachers of the younger generation, while each of you becomes a great pioneer in the great task of delivering all sentient beings and curing the world. It is said in the Yin-fu ching (Dark Amulet Scripture), ‘Birth is the root of death; death is the root of birth.’ Birth and death are like the cycle of the four seasons or the recurrence of day and night; that is, it is the law that operates the myriad living things in the universe and the universal truth that makes heaven and earth circulate. The only difference is that buddhas and bodhisattvas are not deluded regarding such comings and goings and are thus free, while ordinary sentient beings are so deluded, and thus are not free. However, the births and deaths of the physical bodies of buddhas and bodhisattvas or ordinary sentient beings are all the same. Thus, believe not in the person alone but in the dharma, and work hard to acquire the ability to be free and undeluded regarding birth and death, coming and going.

THE SCRIPTURE OF FOUNDING MASTER

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The Master said, "Seeing the nature [attaining enlightenment] has five steps. The first is to show the evidence for how all dharmas [beings] return to one. The second is to know the realm of true emptiness. The third is to see the truth of marvelous existence. The fourth is to keep the one mind from internal disturbances and external temptations. The fifth is to apply this mind to all situations magnificently."

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While expounding the Essentials of Concentration and Tranquility [Chŏngjŏng yoron], the Master gave an analytic definition of the concepts of nature, spirit, mind, and will as follows. "Nature is the original substance. Spirit is a function of nature; spirit is almost identical with nature but the former contains numinous awareness. Mind is the discriminatory aspect of spirit. The will appears in the mind; the will is that to which the mind moves." A disciple asked, "What is soul?" The Master said, "Soul is the ground of spirit, which is empty and numinous."

THE DHARMA WORDS OF MASTER CHŎNGSAN

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