THE DHARMA DISCOURSES O...

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THE DHARMA DISCOURSES OF CARDINAL MASTER CHŎNGSAN(CHŎNGSAN CHONGSA PŎBŎ)

Part Two: Dharma Discourses

Chapter Two: The Way of Propriety

1

1. In the thirty-sixth year of the Wŏn-Buddhist Era, ninth month (September, 1951), Cardinal Master Chŏngsan finished the compilation of the new edition of the Canon of Propriety (Yejŏn) at Sugye Temple and said to his attendant Yi Kongjŏn, “Propriety by its very nature varies in its forms and rules, depending on the generation and the nation. Not only that, but now is a critical moment where the old world is being reconstructed into a new world. Hence, it would be difficult at this point to establish a perfect Way of propriety for this new world. Let us therefore first mimeograph the draft and follow it provisionally for the next ten years, then subsequently we will gradually perfect it as the Canon of Propriety for the new age.” He added, “The fundamental spirit of propriety is reverence. The purport of our Canon of Propriety is to show reverence widely and to venerate the public good. In elucidating propriety, there is the essence of propriety that never changes and the function of propriety that needs to be adapted to fit the times. Thus, if we change the essence of propriety, it would not be recognized as the dharma; but if we do not know how to alter the function of propriety in accordance with the times, then that dharma would not be put into practice.”