The Four Great Principles

teaching4Right 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.

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.

From the Scriptures of Won Buddhism