The Principal Book of Won-Buddhism

Part Two : Doctrine

Chapter Two: The Fourfold Grace

Section One: The Grace of Heaven and Earth

Section One: The Grace of Heaven and Earth

A. The Principle of Indebtedness to Heaven and Earth

If we wish most easily to understand the grace we have received from heaven and earth, we first must consider whether we could sustain our existence and live without heaven and earth. Then, even the most stupid or ignorant among us would acknowledge that we could not live without heaven and earth. If there is a relationship wherein we cannot live without the other, then where would there be a grace greater than that?
As a rule, heaven and earth have the Way and its power. The spontaneous motion of the great mechanism of the universe is the Way of heaven and earth. The results that are made manifest according to the motions of that Way are the power of heaven and earth. The Way of heaven and earth is exceedingly radiant, exceedingly meticulous and steadfast, and exceedingly just; it is proper and natural, vast and immeasurable, eternal and imperishable; it is without either good or ill fortune; and it is free of thoughts in its applications. Within the manifestation of the great power that flows from this great Way, the myriad things sustain their lives and preserve their forms.

B. The Gist of Indebtedness to Heaven and Earth

1. Due to the air in the sky, we are able to live by inhaling and exhaling.
2. Due to the support of the ground, we are able to live by having our bodies depend on it.
3. Due to the radiance of the sun and moon, we come to distinguish and know the myriad phenomena in the universe.
4. Due to the beneficence of wind, clouds, rain, and dew, we come to live off the products created by their nurturing of the myriad things.
5. As heaven and earth neither arise nor cease, the myriad things come to attain endless life in accordance with that Way.

C. The Principle of Gratitude to Heaven and Earth

If people wish to show gratitude to heaven and earth, they first must practice by modeling themselves wholeheartedly on that Way.

D. An Agenda for Gratitude to Heaven and Earth

1. Modeling ourselves wholeheartedly on the exceedingly radiant Way of heaven and earth, we should inquire into the myriad human affairs and universal principles and know them thoroughly.
2. Modeling ourselves wholeheartedly on the exceedingly meticulous and steadfast Way of heaven and earth, in all our action we should apply ourselves consistently from beginning to end and achieve our goal.
3. Modeling ourselves wholeheartedly on the exceedingly just Way of heaven and earth, in all our action we should avoid becoming enticed by remoteness or closeness, intimacy or distance, joy or anger, sorrow or happiness, and ever keep to the Middle Way.
4. Modeling ourselves wholeheartedly on the proper and natural Way of heaven and earth, in all our action we should scrutinize the reasonable and the unreasonable, and choose the reasonable and abandon the unreasonable.
5. Modeling ourselves wholeheartedly on the vast and immeasurable Way of heaven and earth, we should be free from any penchant toward partiality.
6. Modeling ourselves wholeheartedly on the eternal and imperishable Way of heaven and earth, we should gain liberation from the changes occurring in all things and from the birth, old age, sickness, and death of human life.
7. Modeling ourselves wholeheartedly on the Way of heaven and earth that is free from good or ill fortune, we should find the future ill in fortunate events and the future good in unfortunate events, and avoid becoming enticed by good or ill fortune.
8. Modeling ourselves wholeheartedly on the Way of heaven and earth that is free of thought in its applications, we should nurture the Way that is free of thought in action or rest, harboring no concept or sign after rendering spiritual, physical, or material beneficence. And even if the recipient turns ungrateful, the previous act of beneficence should not make us hate all the more that person or make an enemy of him.

E. Ingratitude to Heaven and Earth

Ingratitude to heaven and earth means either not knowing the meaning of indebtedness, gratitude, or ingratitude, or, even while knowing it, not practicing gratitude.

F. The Consequences of Gratitude to Heaven and Earth

If we practice each and every one of the articles in the agenda for showing gratitude to heaven and earth, then heaven and earth and oneself will not be different things, so that one is exactly the same as heaven and earth and heaven and earth are exactly the same as oneself. Even though heaven is void and earth is still, and they do not directly bestow any blessings or happiness, we gain spontaneously an awesome power like that of heaven and earth, long life like that of heaven and earth, and radiance like that of the sun and moon; and all the hosts of humans and heavenly beings and all the world will honor us like heaven and earth.

G. The Consequences of Ingratitude to Heaven and Earth

If we are ungrateful to heaven and earth, we inevitably will incur the punishment of heaven. If we explain the details to make them easier to understand, then, to the extent that we do not model ourselves on the Way of heaven, we will certainly be ignorant of human affairs or universal principles and will have little meticulousness and steadfastness in everything we do; we will have many occasions when we are either excessive or deficient in everything we do; many occasions when we are irrational in everything we do; and many occasions when we have a penchant toward partiality in everything we do; we will be ignorant of the changes occurring in all things and of the birth, old age, sickness, and death, and good and ill fortune of human life; and even if we exercise virtue, we will be attached to signs so that internally we are conceited and externally we are boastful. How would such people not incur transgression and harm? Even though heaven and earth may be void and calm, any suffering that might inadvertently occur or that we have created for ourselves is exactly the punishment incurred by our ingratitude to heaven and earth.