The Scripture of the Fo...


The Scripture of the Founding Master

Chapter Fourteen: Prospects


After attaining great enlightenment, the Founding Master composed many songs and odes in literary Chinese, which he compiled as the Collection on the Significance of the Dharma (Pŏbŭi taejŏn). Their meanings were extremely cryptic and they were incomprehensible to the average person, but their gist was that the true lineage of the Way and its power, which had been severed, would be restored, and that the broad trends in the world, after a period of irrationality, would return to rationality. He also referred to plans he had of establishing a religious order in the future. Subsequently, the Master burned the book himself to prevent it from being passed down to posterity. However, we have handed down orally the first stanza of the preface-“Generally, since the Grand Ultimate differentiated heaven from earth: The Original Heaven first descended into the earlier day till its energy was spent; now it descends into the mind that begins anew”-and the following eleven stanzas of Chinese poetry:

After roaming through myriad valleys and thousands of peaks,
I met a host who had neither worldliness nor traces.

Wild grasses slowly grow thanks to the grace of rain and dew,
The returning fortune of heaven and earth waits for a rectified mind.

An arrow is shot toward the sun’s rays in the blue sky,
Five-colored clouds plummet from the puncture and envelop my body.

A sage riding a cloud searches out an enchanted land,
It is the best of all places where all things are in harmony.

A great river ten thousand leagues long encircles the sentiments of the world,
The mountains and rivers, the sources of the Way, harmonize yin and yang.

What kind of place can we call the Honam sky?
It is the best pavilion for all the rivers and mountains under heaven.

The dimensions of heaven and earth are measured with a ruler,
To make and pass down clothes that fit each human being.

All things in heaven and earth mature in one womb,
The sun and moon synchronize the day and the night.

With the wind released in the air, heaven and earth resound,
With the moon suspended in the east, the myriad nations are illuminated.

After wind and rain, frost and snow, have passed,
All at once flowers bloom in a spring lasting ten thousand years.

By training in the Way, the mind surpasses the moon above a thousand peaks,
By cultivating virtue, the body is as rich as a ship loaded with ten thousand rice bags.