The Principal Book of Won-Buddhism

Part Two : Doctrine

Chapter Two: The Fourfold Grace

Section Two: The Grace of Parents

Section Two: The Grace of Parents

A. The Principle of Indebtedness to Parents

If we wish most easily to understand the grace we have received from our parents, we first must consider whether our bodies would have appeared in this world without our parents, or, even if they had, whether lacking self-power they could have matured on their own. Then, anyone would acknowledge that neither would have been possible. If, without parents, our bodies could not have appeared or matured, then where would there be a grace greater than that?
As a rule, although the birth and death of humans may be deemed a natural law and a creative transformation of heaven and earth, the great grace of giving us birth and raising us when we are lacking self-power, and of teaching us the great principle of the human Way, is precisely our indebtedness to parents.

B. The Gist of Indebtedness to Parents

1. Thanks to our parents, we receive this body, which is the foundation of all human affairs and universal principles.
2. With all-embracing love and ignoring all kinds of trouble, they raise and protect us, until we gain self-power.
3. They teach us human duties and responsibilities and guide us into human society.

C. The Principle of Gratitude to Parents

Recognizing this Way of our indebtedness when we were lacking self-power, we should offer protection as best we can to those who are lacking self-power.

D. An Agenda for Gratitude to Parents

1. We should follow without exception the essential Way of practice-the Threefold Study and the Eight Articles-and the essential Way of human life-the Fourfold Grace and the Four Essentials.
2. In the event that our parents become helpless, as best we can, we should offer them mental comfort and physical sustenance.
3. While our parents are living, or after they have passed away, we should protect to the best of our abilities the helpless parents of others, as if they were our own.
4. After our parents have passed away, we should enshrine their life histories and their portraits to commemorate them for a long time.

E. Ingratitude to Parents

Ingratitude to parents 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 Parents

If we show gratitude to parents, then, even though I have only shown gratitude to my own parents, the world will naturally regard me respectfully. Since it is an unavoidable principle that children will act by modeling themselves after the good or bad conduct of their parents, my children’s filial piety toward me will duly reflect my own Way of showing gratitude to my parents. Also, as a consequence of protecting people who are lacking self-power, I will constantly receive the help of others even when I happen to lack self-power while coming and going through numerous lifetimes.

G. The Consequences of Ingratitude to Parents

If we are ungrateful to our parents, then, even though I have been ungrateful only to my own parents, the world inevitably will hate and ostracize me; and inevitably my very own offspring, too, by imitating my ingratitude, will directly bring woe to myself. Also, I will constantly be abandoned by others even when I happen to lack self-power while coming and going through numerous lifetimes.