The Scripture of the Fo...


The Scripture of the Founding Master

Chapter Thirteen: On the Order


When the Founding Master was visiting Seoul, many disciples came to greet him, and each said, “How could we fellow disciples not be delighted to have such strong affinities with each other that we happened to be born in the same country and the same era, and came together to practice under the same Buddha? This is a welcome affinity that truly will never be sundered.” After listening to them, the Founding Master said, “Hearing your words, I am glad on the one hand, but concerned on the other. I’m glad because, in my presence today, you are all happy and enjoying each other’s company. But I am concerned because, although today you are enjoying each other’s company thanks to your good affinities, unwholesome affinities could develop later out of those good ones.” A disciple asked, “How would that happen?” The Founding Master said, “The most unwholesome affinities are likely to have resulted from a close relationship. For instance, in close relationships like those between parents and children, siblings, spouses, and close friends, people may neglect propriety and common courtesy because of their closeness, so that the concern they have for each other leads to resentment and the advice they give to each other leads to misunderstanding. Ultimately their relationship can get much worse than that between perfect strangers.” A disciple asked, “Then how can we ensure that unfortunate things do not develop out of that closeness, preserving our wholesome affinities forever?” The Founding Master said, “Don’t be overeager to urge upon people things they don’t want to do. Don’t insist on getting the better of others by lording it over them. Use your knowledge of others’ strengths and weaknesses to learn about your own, not to criticize their faults. Don’t try to monopolize your teacher’s love. As your relationship becomes closer, respect others more so that you do not neglect propriety in all situations. Then, an unwholesome affinity will be avoided and your delight in these good affinities will never change.”