Part Two: Dharma Discourses

Chapter One: His Affinities with the Founding Master


17. In the thirty-eighth year of the Won-Buddhist Era, fourth month (June, 1953), the Master erected a commemorative stele in the Park of Eternal Commemoration (Yŏngmowŏn) for the Founding Master Sot’aesan, the Holy Honored One of Perfect Enlightenment, and inscribed it as follows: “As a rule, in Heaven and Earth, the myriad things attain the Way of birth and maturation because the four seasons keep cycling and the sun and the moon shine in alternation; in the world, sentient beings have received the grace of deliverance because the buddhas have appeared in successive ages and the sages have transmitted the dharma from one to the other. This is the correct order of the universe and of nature. Ever since the inception of (Śākyamuni Buddha’s) assembly on Vulture Peak long ago, the Right-Dharma and Semblance-Dharma Ages have already passed, so that now, during this Degenerate-Dharma Age, the right Way cannot be practiced. Hence, false dharmas pervade the world and the spirit has lost its power; material things dominate All Under Heaven, and thereby the sea of suffering of living creatures has expanded day by day. This is the reason for the re-appearance of the Founding Master, our savior, in this world.”
After narrating a brief history of the Founding Master’s life, he continued, “Alas! The Founding Master was born and raised on the outskirts of a poor village, after existing as a sage for many kalpas before. Though he did not receive any formal education, he comprehended on his own the thrust of written texts, and although he did not have the guidance of a teacher, he awakened on his own to the great Way. Though he lived in a period of great upheaval, he did not hesitate to carry out his task. Even when he was faced with obstinate people, he showed an infinite ability to deliver them. His presence was awe-inspiring like Mount Tai, yet he was also fully endowed with loving-kindness and compassion like a balmy spring breeze. The way he handled daily affairs was forthright and magnanimous, but he would display genuine understanding and concern about even minor matters. He reformed the ancient dharma, while more firmly establishing its general truths. While rectifying the ills of the times, he did not allow his doctrine to harden into dogmatism. While completely subsuming the myriad dharmas into one, their distinctions were made clearer than before. He applied the one truth to the myriad dharmas, but always made the original essence appear just as it is, so that internally he abided in the fundamental principle of the unsurpassed sublime meaning, while externally he showed a masterful comprehension of even the peripheral tendencies present in all situations and circumstances. He thus limitlessly opened the right dharma of the great Way of Il-Won in the ten directions and the three time-periods. Therefore, he deserves to be called the tathāgata who has tens of billions of transformation bodies(nirmāṇakāya), and the perfect epitome of the hosts of sages.”