Part Two: Dharma Discourses

Chapter Nine: Attending to the Fundamentals


56. The Master said to Cho Chŏn’gwŏn, “A fruit tree will bear excellent fruit only if its seeds are from good stock, and if it is planted in rich soil, watered regularly by rain and dew, and receives much human care. Likewise, to create a commendable personal character, human beings must also satisfy these four conditions. For human beings, habituations are the seeds. Everyone in this world is born with different minds and behavior because the seeds of their habituations are each different. Hence, each of you must work hard to create excellent seeds by forming good habits. The soil, for human beings, is parents, siblings, teachers and friends, etc., as well as an affinity with a religious order. You must develop these types of good affinities in order to become an excellent person. If you do not, you may not receive correct guidance or may run into opposition or interference when you are trying to do the right thing; and, even if that were not the case, the seed of your vow may not sprout well unless it is planted in an order that follows the right dharma. Hence, you should exert utmost effort to create many good affinities. For human beings, the rain and dew are the rain and dew of the dharma. You should often read sacred scriptures and the books of the wise and listen to the dharma discourses of accomplished fellow practitioners, so that the good seed of your mind will develop well and grow. Hence, you should often receive the rain and dew of the dharma. The human care in the creation of an excellent person is an individual’s own effort. Even if a person possesses good habituations, good affinities, and hears good dharmas teachings, one will not become an excellent person without each one making his or her own dedicated work and effort. Therefore, until an ordinary person transforms into a buddha, each and every person must continue to amass practical efforts in order to create great personal character that will achieve buddhahood and deliver all sentient beings.”