The Path To Be A Sage
An eventful year has passed and a new one has come. I pray that all humanity, the whole nation, and adherents will be blessed by Dharmakaya Buddha, the Fourfold Grace. In the past year, the Order has had a hopeful and sacred year by completing the 100th Centennial Anniversary ceremony with the sincere help of lay members and ordained ministers. I am grateful that the 100th Anniversary was received with great joy and opened a period of great fortune.
As we begin a New Year, we should all vow to become sages together. As we live in the midst of delusion, we should make a resolution to become a sage by honoring the Il-Won teaching of Sotaesan, the Founding Master. To achieve this resolution, we should devote ourselves, above all, to putting forth our supreme effort to the mind, to each task, and to people around us.
First, let’s devote our effort to our own mind.
Happiness and unhappiness, success and failure, war and peace―all depends on how we use our mind. The sages from the past, present and future are those who awakened to how to use the mind and apply it to their practice. The average person has little interest in the mind and find happiness in wealth and honor. While they quibble over right and wrong and blame others for their suffering, they remain trapped in the wheel of samsara. Therefore, as disciples of Sotaesan, the Founding Master, we should turn our mind inward first, and train ourselves in how to use our mind which will open the world of paradise.
We should practice meditation and offer prayer to calm our mind and empty our minds like the vast sky and use our minds without any hindrance. We should check carefully about whether we can create a warm mind like spring, a passionate mind like summer, an imperturbable mind like autumn, and a compassionate mind that embraces everything like winter. Ceaselessly training ourselves to respond appropriately to each situation according to the time and place and continually exerting our efforts in mind practice are the paths to eternal happiness and the Way to becoming a buddha.
Second, let’s devote our efforts in each particular matter.
Our lives are a continuation of different tasks. Therefore, depending on how well you do it, you are blessed or evaluated for that ability. In fact, Buddha is a master of each and every task and can carry out any work well whatever it may be. Buddha’s every action is to create a world of paradise by saving all sentient beings. All buddhas dedicate their lives to this path succeeding in all that they do.
We all live in myriad affairs from petty words and actions in family matters and work problems. Therefore, we need to exert our efforts in each affair so that it can be a blessing to each other and be helpful in creating a peaceful world for humanity. Every task needs its certain agenda and has its procedures that should be gone through to produce result. In addition, there are cases in which task are connected to other task and so relate to each other in a complicated way. Therefore, only when we exert effort to inquire how we can make our goal successful can we become a buddha with a myriad of abilities.
Third, let’s devote our efforts to whomever we meet.
The purpose of exerting effort in our mind and work is to transform all people into a buddha so they can experience eternal happiness. There are many brothers, relatives, peers, and dharma-friends living together around us. Those affinities are my colleagues and co-workers who help me become a buddha, succeed in my work, and fulfill my purpose. Therefore, it is necessary to comprehend the spiritual capacities and abilities of all affinities who we meet and care about their surroundings so that they become mutual life-giving affinities. We should exert ceaseless effort with whomever we meet to free themselves from the entangled karmic force with others so that they can become a buddha.
In addition, we should think deeply about what kind of existence my affinities consider me to be. We should also make sure that our affinities attain peace of mind, make progress, and are graced. We should awaken ourselves to our spiritual vow to make the world a paradise by exerting our effort to help sentient beings to be buddhas. This path is none other than the path to become a buddha.
Now the country and the world are facing new challenges. If we take this challenge as a significant warning for a new chapter in our history and overcome it wisely, it will be the occasion of opening a new peaceful world. Thus, I pray for the establishment of a new order in our society, nation, and the world and wish for a true paradise where everyone lives in tranquility and comfort.
In the New Year, I pray that all of us make an effort in our mind, exert all our dedication in each matter, and realize that each person I meet is a great treasure, so that all human beings can make progress to become a buddha.
New Year’s Day, W.E. 102
Prime Dharma Master
A World Overflowing with Human Kindness
A hopeful new year has come. I pray that all members, all people, and all humanity share in the abundant grace and light of the Dharmakāya Buddha, the Fourfold Grace.
This past year was one of transitions, both at home and abroad. Last year was one of many transitions, as new administrations around the world were inaugurated that will establish a new era and a true civilization. And there are newly appointed leaders in our order who will preside over the 100th anniversary of Won-Buddhism, exemplifying great belief and dedication, great public spirit, and great accumulation of merit.
At the same time, there are many problems facing us that we need to solve right now. The capacity for human empathy is drying up. You can see it as the gap between the rich and poor widens. Pollution is on the rise, leading to catastrophic disasters around the world.
These problems are not the sole responsibility of a few leaders. They should be solved through our collective wisdom and determination. I would like to suggest several action items to address these issues.
First, let’s cultivate our original moral virtues
We all have the seeds of love and compassion in our minds. It is called ‘Merits and Moral Virtues,’ and refers to the infinite merits of our original nature.
However, due to excessive competitiveness and selfishness our moral virtues are becoming weaker. And despite an abundant material civilization ushered in by scientific advances, we are experiencing lower levels of happiness.
We need wisdom and courage to help us recover and cultivate our moral virtues. For this to happen, we need to stop our excessively greedy mind and live in harmony with our true nature. In this way, the moral virtues will be able to manifest naturally.
We should also be leaders of compassion by connecting with the spring of grace in our minds. Then we will be the incarnation of compassion and have grace, which leads to the enjoyable life of paradise.
Second, let’s expand the warmth of our empathy.
It seems that many people will experience difficulties this year, which is why warm empathy is truly necessary as a way to encourage people. Usually, people are only compassionate towards those they are close to. If we expand these boundaries, the area of paradise will increase.
Since the very beginning, our morality has been based on the development of a society where humanity can blossom. In these harsh times we should be reaching out to our neighbors in need, share their burdens, and plant hope in their hearts. It is for us to be more considerate and willing to embrace our neighbors who have a hard heart. Let us take the initiative to make this a world of warm-hearted minds.
Third, let's build an era of success by working together in unity.
Numerous beings and material things live together in unity. We are indispensable to each other, in that we cannot live without others. So we should be aware of the principle of cause and effect, which means giving is receiving and receiving is giving. With awareness of this principle, we can build mutually beneficial relationships.
These times call for a spirit of great cooperation so we can focus squarely on the family, the society and the nation.
We are at a critical moment. Deep reflection is required, not only on the relationships between human beings, but on the relationships between humans and heaven and earth. We model our lives on heaven and earth as the source of life, so we are confronting a huge disaster. It is time for a transition, time to return to our mutually beneficial and graceful relationship with heaven and earth.
Let’s create a world of great cooperation that brings success to all living beings, and not just the individual.
January 1, 2013, Won-Buddhist Year 98
Tags: New Years Day
Everything is of our mind’s creation. This is the essence of the Buddha’s teaching (Buddhadharma). This world and our lives are the manifestation of our minds. Depending upon our state of mind, our lives can become happy or wretched, successful, or less than successful.
Won-Buddhism, a reformed and modernized Buddhism, teaches us how to use our minds. To use the mind well, we should first know what the mind is like and how it works. Based on that understanding, we should cultivate and use it skillfully in everyday situations.
Whether a one-hundred dollar bill is crisp or crumpled, it has the same value. Our original mind is pure, bright, and wholesome, lacking nothing.
Everyone has a mind and is constantly using it.
The simple study and practice of mind can enrich our lives.
The following are excerpts from diaries written by elementary school students.
They show how the study and practice of the mind changed their lives—from the breaking of bad habits to maintaining a peaceful state of mind in trying situations.
When we broke our piggy banks, I was the one with the least amount of savings for several months. But now it is different. I save the most.
My brother spent around two thirds of his money on snacks between meals, but since I began the fifth grade and was taught by my teacher, 'I am originally a good man.' I do not eat between meals now, because a good person does not eat unnecessary things. For this, my mother often praises me.
To prepare for tomorrow’s sewing lesson, I dropped in at a store for needlework materials. The price of the sewing materials was two dollars. I paid for them with a five dollar bill. The storekeeper gave me four dollars as change! It was not three dollars, but four dollars!
When I realized that I should return one dollar, the idea suddenly occurred to me that, “For the first time in many days, I earned money so easily. So let’s keep it.” But I remembered, “No, I am originally a good man.” and checked my mind. I returned one dollar to the storekeeper. I was very proud to do that.
Owing to the study of mind
Today I stepped out to buy things for tomorrow's class. Mother, at that moment said, "Why on earth are you going out this late at night?" So I got furious, holding the money. My mind was something like a burning forest. But in front of the elevator, I remembered, "A trying situation has arisen," and I thought to myself, "Maybe mother had a reason to get mad." At that moment, my mind became calm as if a fire in the forest was put out by rain. I was so glad.