The Threefold Practice

teaching3To 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.

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 buddhahood.”

From the Scriptures of Won Buddhism