The Principal Book of Won-Buddhism
Part Three : Practice
Chapter Six: The Dharma of Keeping a Diary
A. The General Significance of the Dharma of Keeping a Diary
The dharma of keeping a daily diary has been established in order for everyone, whether lay or ordained, learned or ignorant, to review for that day the handling of affairs in a mindful or unmindful fashion, the state of one’s study, and whether or not one transgressed the precepts. The dharma of keeping a fixed-term diary has been established in order to have practitioners who are undergoing training in either a seminary or a Sŏn center record for that day the number of hours they worked, their income or expenditures that day, the specific handling of the functioning of their bodies and minds, and their awakenings and impressions.
B. The Dharma of Keeping a Daily Diary
1. With regard to mindfulness and unmindfulness, you are to investigate and record the number of times you handled any event you faced in either a mindful or unmindful fashion. “Mindful” refers to acting with heedfulness in making choices with regard to items that you resolved either to do or not to do; “unmindful” refers to acting without heedfulness in making choices. In the beginning, you are to keep track of the number of times you acted with heedfulness or without heedfulness in making choices, regardless of how things turned out. As practice deepens, however, you are to keep track of the number of times the result was good or bad.
2. With regard to the state of your study, you are to record your calculations regarding the number of hours you studied each subject listed under Cultivation and Inquiry, and you are to review and record your attendance and absence at regular dharma meetings and Sŏn sessions.
3. Regarding the precepts, you are to review and record whether you kept or transgressed them; when there was a violation, record the number of times you transgressed that specific item.
4. For people who are illiterate or not comfortable with documents, we have set up the separate “bean-count” method of examination, so that they may simply keep track of whether they are mindful or unmindful: they may calculate the number of times they are mindful or unmindful by counting one light-colored bean whenever they act with heedfulness in making choices and one dark-colored bean whenever they do not.
C. The Dharma of Keeping a Fixed-Term Diary
1. The idea behind having practitioners keep a record of the number of hours we work for the day is so that we may compare hours spent valuably with those spent wastefully during the twenty-four hours of the day and, if there are wasted hours, to be heedful later not to repeat them, so that we may not fritter away even a moment of our time.
2. The idea behind having practitioners keep a record of income and expenditures for the day is so that we may find a way to earn income if there is none and work diligently to generate income; if there are lots of expenditures, we may find a way to curb them so as to prevent poverty and find happiness; and that even the affluent may avoid becoming indolent.
3. The idea behind having practitioners keep a record of the handling of the functioning of their bodies and minds is so that we may appraise our right and wrong conduct for the day and know the balance of the transgressions or merits we have made; and to illuminate the right and the wrong, benefit or harm, so as to gain the ability to make choices whenever we engage in any kind of activity.
4. The idea behind having practitioners keep a record of their awakenings and impressions is that we may assess our progress in understanding the principles of great and small, being and nonbeing involved in them.