The Principal Book of Won-Buddhism

Part Two : Doctrine

Chapter Two: The Fourfold Grace

Section Three: The Grace of Fellow Beings

Section Three: The Grace of Fellow Beings

A. The Principle of Indebtedness to Fellow Beings

If we wish most easily to understand the grace we have received from fellow beings, we first must consider whether I could live alone in a place that has no people, no animals, and no plants. Then, anyone would acknowledge that it is not possible. If we cannot live without the help of fellow beings, the support of fellow beings, and the provisions supplied by fellow beings, then where would there be a grace greater than that?
As a rule, the world has four categories of occupations: scholars, farmers, artisans, and merchants. People engage in work appropriate to these categories, and, by exchanging all kinds of material goods for their various products, they have helped and become indebted to each other solely by benefiting themselves and benefiting others.

B. The Gist of Indebtedness to Fellow Beings

1. Scholars study and research to edify and educate us in all types of learning and governance.
2. Farmers plant and raise crops to provide materials for our clothing and food.
3. Artisans manufacture all types of goods to provide us with shelter and necessities.
4. Merchants trade all kinds of material goods to help make our lives convenient.
5. Even animals and plants are of help to us.

C. The Principle of Gratitude to Fellow Beings

Since we are indebted to fellow beings by benefiting ourselves and benefiting others, if we wish to show gratitude to that grace, we should wholeheartedly model ourselves on that Way and constantly act by benefiting ourselves and benefiting others when scholars, farmers, artisans, and merchants exchange with one another all types of learning and material goods.

D. An Agenda for Gratitude to Fellow Beings

1. Scholars, when edifying through all types of learning or governance, should constantly act in fairness by benefiting themselves and benefiting others.
2. Farmers, when providing the materials for clothing and food, should constantly act in fairness by benefiting themselves and benefiting others.
3. Artisans, when providing shelter and necessities, should constantly act in fairness by benefiting themselves and benefiting others.
4. Merchants, when trading in all types of material goods, should constantly act in fairness by benefiting themselves and benefiting others.
5. Even plants and animals should not be destroyed or killed without due cause.

E. Ingratitude to Fellow Beings

Ingratitude to fellow beings 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 Fellow Beings

If we show gratitude to fellow beings, then all fellow beings, moved by acts of mutual benefit, will love one another and rejoice with them, so that I personally will also be safeguarded and honored; and there will be love between individuals, friendship between families, understanding between societies, and peace between nations, so that ultimately we shall have an unimaginably ideal world.
However, if no human beings anywhere in the world show gratitude, or if all fellow beings are lost in the sea of suffering because of the mischief of those who are ungrateful, then those sages who are saviors of this world, by bestowing on us their compassionate expedients, will rescue those sentient beings who are ungrateful, through either their moral force, political power, or coercive force.

G. The Consequences of Ingratitude to Fellow Beings

If we are ungrateful to fellow beings, then they will all hate and dislike one another and become mutual enemies. There will be quarrels between individuals, ill will between families, hostility between societies, and no peace between nations, and this will become a world at war.