Part Two: Dharma Discourses

Chapter Three: On Korea’s National Prospects


5. Regarding the spirit of building a new state, the Master said, “What is foremost regarding the spirit of founding a new state is the unity of our minds. In all cases, it is an indubitable law: united we’re strong, but divided we’re weak; united we flourish, but divided we fall. What chance do we have of establishing a perfect and robust nation through a process of founding a state, a great task that will leave its mark over numberless years, unless it is rooted initially in this unity of our minds? Hence, state-building must have unity as its basis. Unity is attained through our mind-grounds being radiant, and this radiance is attained by overcoming the hindrances that lie deep within each person’s heart. Those hindrances are caused by many things: the absence of a spirit of harmony because of clinging to one’s own viewpoint and not accepting the perspective of the Middle Way; a lack of respect for one’s opponents by being ensnared in fame and ego; ignoring just causes and right doctrines by being enticed by burning political ambitions; disturbing the minds of the masses by stirring up jealousies and disputes and by employing manipulative tactics; a lack of objective critical ability because of a failure to distinguish between what is primary and secondary in specific matters and because of being enticed by partisan passions; an inability to attain a spirit of grand accord because of regionalism and factionalism; lacking the magnanimity to embrace a wide spectrum of differences by reviving private feuds and old resentments and instead indulging in exposing others’ minor faults; a lukewarm spirit of national independence because of gaining precedence to self-interest and greed; an inability to respect the sincere intent of true patriots; a lack of self-reflection regarding one’s own mind and leaving the responsibility for unity to others. If we were only to overcome all these hindrances, unity will naturally occur. However, if such hindrances still remain in our hearts, then no matter how strongly we advocate unity, it will be difficult actually to attain it. Therefore, the public task of state-building lies initially in resolving this basic problem.”