The Scripture of the Fo...


The Scripture of the Founding Master

Chapter One: Prologue


The Founding Master continued, “The subjects taught by the Buddhist traditions of the past included teaching the sūtras teaching the methods of seated medi-tation while keeping a hwadu [meditative topic], reciting the Buddha’s name, intoning mantras, or making buddha offerings. As for the original intent underlying these various teachings, all the scriptures were taught in order to reveal the doctrines, institutions, and history of Buddhism; hwadu meditation was taught as a way of awakening to a sublime truth inaccessible through scriptural studies or verbal teachings; reciting the Buddha’s name and intoning mantras were taught especially to neophytes to Buddhism as a way of concentrating their distracted minds, since the many attachments and cravings of life in the world make it difficult for them to enter the right path. The method of buddha offerings was taught as a way of fulfilling adherents’ wishes and receiving assistance from them in carrying out Buddhist works. In the adherents’ practice, all these subjects should be mastered by every person; however, narrow practices that cling to only one or two of them have produced factional strife, creating many hindrances to the believers’ faith or practice. Thus, we have unified all these subjects. Studying the many hwadus of the Sŏn (Meditation) school and all the sūtras of the Kyo (Doctrine]) school and, setting aside the complicated hwadus. and sūtras., we have designated hwadus and sūtras that elucidate crucial principles and essential meanings as the subjects for attaining the power of Inquiry into Human Affairs and Universal Principles, Studying the methods of reciting the Buddha’s name, seated meditation, and intoning mantras, we have designated those as subjects of Cultivation that help to concentrate the mind. Studying all the disciplinary precepts, the particulars of karmic retribution and reward, and the Way of the Fourfold Grace, we have designated those to be the subjects of Choice in Action that are most appropriate for secular life. I have required our adherents to undertake these three great subjects simultaneously, so that by studying these subjects of Inquiry, they will attain, like the Buddha, the power of Inquiry that has no impediment as regards either universal principles or human affairs; by studying the subjects of Cultivation, they will attain, like the Buddha, the power of Cultivation that is not affected by events or things; and by studying the subjects of Choice, they will attain, like the Buddha, the power of Choice that allows them to analyze right and wrong and to engage in right action. If we take these three great powers as the means of making buddha offerings in our daily lives and as the motive force that accomplishes all vows, then all doctrines will naturally be unified and the practice of believers will also be well-rounded.”