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What is Won-Buddhism?
The name Won-Buddhism (Won-Bul-Kyo in Korean) is a compound word for truth, enlightenment, and teaching. Won means circle and symbolizes the ultimate truth. Bul means enlightenment, and Kyo means teaching the truth. Therefore, Won-Buddhism is the path that leads us to become enlightened to the truth.

Won-Buddhism is a religion that teaches us how to use our minds. Our lives and this world are the manifestations of our minds, so the knowledge of how to use our minds is fundamental and the key to leading happy and successful lives.

1. The Founding Master said, "Not all scientific studies are constantly in use; however, if you learn how to use the mind, this study can be utilized without a moment's interruption. Therefore, mind practice becomes the basis for all other studies."

2. "A practitioner of the Way seeks to know the essence of the mind in order to achieve freedom of mind, to realize the principle of birth and death in order to transcend birth and death, and to understand the principle of transgressions and blessings in order to control them at will."

3. "If one's mind is wholesome, whatever one does is wholesome; if one's mind is unwholesome, whatever one does is unwholesome. Thus, the mind becomes the basis for everything wholesome and unwholesome."

4. "If a person whose mind is crooked has a lot of money, knowledge, or power, then those things become the basis for transgression and unwholesomeness. Only after one's mind is upright will money, knowledge, and power be transformed into eternal blessings."

from The Scriptures of Won-Buddhism, Chapter 11, v. 1-4

Won-Buddhism teaches the source of blessings and how to create them. The source of blessings is the Dharmakaya (Truth) Buddha, or Fourfold Grace. All things are the manifestation of the Truth Buddha, and merits arise when we repay our debt to them through gratitude.

15. Once, when the Founding Master was residing at Pongnae Cloister, an old couple was passing by and commented that their daughter-in-law was so ill tempered and disrespectful that they were going to Silsang monastery to make a buddha offering about this situation. Upon hearing this, the Founding Master said to them, "How is it that you know to make a buddha offering to the buddha image but not to the living buddha?" The old couple asked, "Where is the living buddha?" The Founding Master answered, "The daughter-in-law who lives at your home is the living buddha. Since she is the one with the prerogative to be either filial or unfilial, why don't you try making an offering to her, first?" They asked, "How should we make such an offering?" The Founding Master replied, "With the money you were going to use for the buddha offering, buy her a gift that she would really appreciate and treat her with the same respect that you would for the Buddha’s image. Then, depending on how sincere you are, the effect of your buddha offering will appear." When the couple returned home, they did as they were told and ultimately, some months later, she indeed became a caring and virtuous daughter-in-law. The old couple returned to the Founding Master and thanked him over and over again, and the Founding Master said to his disciples sitting beside him, "This is an example of the realistic worship of Buddha offered directly to the actual source of misery and blessings."

from The Scripture of the Founding Master, Chapter 2, v. 15

The Way to Make Buddha Offerings

Unlike the past dharma of buddha offerings, it is not our way to make an offering before a buddha image for transgressions and merits deriving from heaven and earth, from parents, from fellow beings, and from laws.
Since all beings in the universe are the manifestations of the Dharmakāya [Truth] Buddha, there is a Buddha in every place (Everywhere a Buddha Image), and all our acts are the dharma of buddha offerings (Every Act a Buddha Offering).
For the transgressions and merits deriving from heaven and earth, we make a buddha offering to heaven and earth; for the transgressions and merits deriving from parents, we make a buddha offering to parents; for the transgressions and merits deriving from fellow beings, we make a buddha offering to fellow beings; for the transgressions and merits deriving from laws, we make a buddha offering to laws. This will be the dharma of buddha offerings that is realistic and at the same time most assured of success.

from The Principle Book of Won-Buddhism, Chapter 10

Won-Buddhism teaches how to integrate spiritual practice in our everyday lives.

Timeless Zen

Zen is a practice that leads to freedom of mind through awakening to one's own nature, which is originally free from discrimination or attachment. Those who have been determined to achieve the great way have all practiced Zen.

True Zen can be practiced only if one takes true emptiness as the essence and the myriad things in heaven and earth as the function. When confronted with numerous trying situations, keep the mind as immovable as a great mountain and as clear and pure as empty space. Try to use the mind without moving it when in motion and without resting it when still. If you are able to do this, your sensations and perceptions will not disturb your concentration, and the functioning of the six sense organs will be in accord with the self-nature of empty and calm, numinous awareness. This is called Mahayana Zen and the method of practicing the Threefold Practice.

Thus it says in the Diamond Sutra, "Give rise to a mind that, while responding, does not abide anywhere." This is the great way to cultivate oneself so that in all kinds of disturbing situations one remains unmoved. This way may seem difficult to follow. However, if properly understood, Zen can be practiced by a farmer with a hoe, a carpenter with a hammer, a clerk at a cash register, an official seeing to an administrative matter or a person toiling at home. What is the use of choosing a particular place and insisting on quietness in order to meditate?

When just beginning the practice of meditation, however, it is difficult to control your mind as desired. This is like training an ox, because if the reins of the mind are dropped even for a moment, it will instantly harm your commitment to the way. You should not lose the spirit to counter any conditions that arouse desire in your mind. Gradually, the mind will mature so that you can reach a state where you can control your mind as you wish. Whenever you meet a trying situation, you should remember that it is an opportunity to train the mind and you should only check whether the mind is drawn to the situation. As you practice more and become increasingly in control of your mind, you can experiment under conditions that are favorable and unfavorable. If the mind is still moved it is a sign that your practice is immature. If the mind remains unmoved it is a sign that your practice is maturing. You should not let your guard down when you feel that your mind is undisturbed. The mind is undisturbed because of strenuous effort rather than naturally unmoving. The mind is well trained only when it is undisturbed when unguarded.

If you practice Zen for a while cutting off all afflictions and attaining freedom of mind, your mind will be as firm as a steel pillar and as impregnable as a granite wall. A mind of this sort will not be tempted by wealth or prosperity and will not yield to the sword or to power. Practicing all dharmas in this fashion, you will never be enticed or obstructed. While living in this world of defilements you will consistently attain hundreds and thousands of samadhi. When you reach this stage the whole world will become a true dharma realm, where all things, right and wrong, good and evil or pure and impure, will have the single taste of ghee. This is what is called the teaching of non-duality, from which arises emancipation from the cycle of rebirth, and the paradise of the Pure Land.

There are some who think Zen is difficult and cannot be practiced by one who has a family and must earn a living. That it can only be practiced in solitude on a mountain. This is because they do not realize that all things are one. If meditation can be done only when sitting and not while standing then that meditation is weak; how could this be the great Dharma that can save all sentient beings?

Self-nature is not limited to emptiness and stillness. Practicing like a dead log will not bring about the realization of the true nature of self but will instead be a stagnant practice. In real Zen the mind will not be disturbed in a disturbing situation and will not be moved by conditions that arouse desire.

The Principle of Timeless Zen is thus: "When the six sense organs are free from activity, remove deluded thoughts and cultivate one mind. When the six sense organs are at work, remove what is wrong and nurture what is right."