The Principal Book of Won-Buddhism

Part Two : Doctrine

Chapter Four: The Threefold Study

Section One: Cultivating the Spirit (Chŏngsin Suyang)

A. The Essential Purport of Cultivating the Spirit

“Spirit” (chŏngsin) means that state in which the mind, being clear and round, calm and tranquil, is free from a tendency toward discrimination and a penchant toward attachment. “Cultivating” (suyang) means nourishing that spirit which is clear and round, calm and tranquil, by internally letting go of a tendency toward discrimination and a penchant toward attachment and externally not being enticed by distracting sensory conditions.

B. The Objective of Cultivating the Spirit

Sentient creatures instinctively have a congenital ability to know and a desire to do certain things. Humans, the most intelligent of beings, have, in their seeing, hearing, and learning, a tendency to know and a desire to do certain things that is many times greater than that of other animals. So, if they decide to seek out those things they know and want to do, then, while satisfying themselves through their own prerogatives, skills, and might, regardless of etiquette, shame, and just laws, they ultimately will destroy their families and ruin themselves; they may feel a pessimistic disgust toward the world, through their distress and idle thoughts and their wrath and anxiety; they may become weak of nerve, lose touch with reality, or, in the most extreme of cases, some might even commit suicide. Therefore, our aim is to engage in cultivation that nurtures our autonomous power by removing this desire that spreads its tendrils widely and attaining a sound spirit.


C. The Consequences of Cultivating the Spirit

If we continue the work of Cultivating the Spirit for a long time, our spirit will become as solid as iron or stone, and, in applying ourselves to the myriad sensory conditions, autonomous power will arise in the mind, and ultimately we will gain the power of Cultivation.