The Scripture of the Fo...


The Scripture of the Founding Master

Chapter One: Prologue


One day Yi Ch’unp’ung came to have an audience with the Founding Master. The Founding Master asked, “These disciples have come to me to learn the Way and its power. Do you understand my intention in putting them to work on a levee rather than teaching them what they have come to learn?” Ch’unp’ung replied, “Although my shallow perception cannot hope to comprehend the depths of your intention, I would hazard the guess that you might have two reasons. First, by having the members work on the levee, you would have them prepare the financial means for their studies; and next, you want to prove to them that there is nothing they won’t be able to accomplish if they work together with a single heart.” The Founding Master added, “What you’ve said is generally correct. However, listen to these other reasons I have. Since these people have originally come here for practice, I need to know whether or not their faith is firm. By their willingness to work to turn tideland that has been ignored for tens of thousands of years into farmland, while being mocked by their neighbors, and still to humbly exert themselves and continue to pursue this unpromising task despite having no previous experience with heavy work, I will know the true extent of their faith. Further, by observing this enterprise from beginning to end, they will be able to judge their ability to accomplish any task in the future. They will also come to learn the source of merit and prosperity by observing the practice of self-sufficiency achieved through frugality and diligence. Moreover, while they are undergoing this difficult task, they will be trained in the dharma of commanding the nature, thus gaining the strength to overcome hardships on their own. With all these thoughts in mind, I have embarked on this project.”