The Principal Book of Won-Buddhism

Part Three : Practice

Chapter Fifteen: An Ill Society and Its Treatment

If a person becomes ill and is not treated, he or she could become disabled, an invalid, or might even die. In the same way, if a society has become ill but, over a long period of time, its leaders do not realize it, or, even though they do, make no sincere effort to treat it, then that society may become impaired, decadent, or even fall into ruin. Generally speaking, the following symptoms are evidence that a society is becoming ill: its people routinely expose only the faults of others while being unaware of their own, lead a life of undue dependence, or even in a position of needing guidance, they are reluctant to accept due guidance; those in positions of leadership do not edify others with due guidance; and people have no public spirit to commend the good and pity the bad, to offer beneficial things to others and accept harm for themselves, to offer comfort to others and accept suffering for themselves, and so forth. To treat this illness, we must continually examine our own faults, refuse to lead life of undue dependence, be willing to accept due guidance when in a position of needing guidance, edify others well with due guidance when in a position of leadership, and abandon the spirit of benefiting oneself and follow instead the spirit of benefiting others. If we do so, this treatment will be effective and, with the successful treatment of that disease, that society will accordingly become a healthy and peaceful one.