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Threefold Practice

Original Mind

T
he Threefold Practice is the path to uncover our original mind, the way to Nirvana. This path consists of Spiritual Cultivation, Dharma Study, and Mindful Choice in Action. Our original mind is calm, bright and correct, just like a pure, clean mirror. The Threefold Practice is like cleaning, polishing, and utilizing our natural, intrinsic mirror or original mind.

1. Spiritual Cultivation

Spiritual Cultivation is settling down and focusing our mind. This can be done through sitting meditation, chanting, and prayer. It is like weeding a field before planting seeds.

2. Dharma Study

Dharma Study is a way to hone and brighten our wisdom. We hone our wisdom in all human affairs and universal principles by means of scripture study, koan practice, and dharma discussion.

3. Mindful Choice in Action

Mindful Choice in Action is a path to use our mind according to its nature. Observing precepts, mindfulness practice, and heedfulness are the subjects of Mindful Choice in Action.


Just as farmers weed a field and plant seeds in order to harvest their crops in autumn, the fruit of our threefold spiritual practice ripens when we use our minds well in the everyday situations of life. These elements of the Threefold Practice are closely related to and complement each other like the three legs of a tripod; without one, the others cannot stand.

Threefold Practice

Chongsan, the Second Head Dharma Master of Won-Buddhism, said, "The Threefold Practice in the traditional Buddhism includes Precepts (sila), Concentration (samadhi), and Wisdom (prajna). This is different in its scope from our Won Buddhist Threefold Practice. While Precepts stress the individual details of precepts, Mindful Choice in Action is the essential way of practice to choose the correct things in the cultivation of personal life, regulating the household, governing a country, and creating a peaceful world. While Wisdom focuses on the innate wisdom that arises from our original nature, Dharma Study is the way of comprehending all human affairs and principles. Concentration of Mind is achieved for through Meditation; Spiritual Cultivation is the way of maintaining One Mind in action and at rest. One can achieve great success in whatever one does through this Threefold Practice; and so there is no better way of practice."

from The Dharma Words of Master Chongsan, Chapter 6, v. 13