The Scripture of the Fo...


The Scripture of the Founding Master

Chapter Three: Practice


The Founding Master said, “Human nature is originally neither wholesome nor unwholesome, but good or bad character comes into existence in accordance with one’s habits. Habits are formed as one’s initial thought responds repeatedly to various causes and conditions around oneself. For example, when you have the aspiration to train and first come to this practice site [bodhimanda], meet teachers and colleagues, and observe the dharma and regulations, initially everything is awkward and ill-suited to you, and adjusting to it is difficult. However, if your aspiration does not change and you persevere for a long time, gradually your mind and conduct will mature until finally they will become naturally balanced without you having to work at it. This is what I mean by a habit. In this wise, the principle of habits forming in accordance with causes and conditions is the same whether they are good or bad habits, but it is difficult to become habituated to good things and easy to become habituated to bad. Even when you are practicing to develop good habits, if you let your guard down even a little, you will fall into bad sensory conditions without even realizing it, and end up with a result exactly the opposite of your initial goal. You must always be very cautious about this if you want to develop good character.”