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Founding Motive

The Truth is one.
The World is one.
Human beings are one family.
The World is one work place.
Let us cultivate One World Community.

from The Dharma Words of Master Daesan, Chapter 2, v. 6


he Buddha stated that all humans are patients and that he is the great physician (bhisakko). We humans are patients in the sense that our minds are not well; our minds are under constant stress and full of concerns and anxieties. Even though it is our own mind, we cannot use it freely.

Buddha’s dharma is like a medicine which treats the illnesses of people’s minds.
Just as a medicine differs depending on the symptoms, the Buddhadharma, which was formed twenty-five hundred years ago on Indian soil, needs to be adapted in order to be applicable to contemporary society and relevant to modern people who live in a totally different culture.

In contemporary society, where material civilization is rapidly advancing and dominates people's minds, materialism and consumerism make people driven, competitive and nervous.

A knife itself is neither good nor bad. However when used by a great chef, it is a wonderful tool to prepare food; when it is held by a thief, it becomes a weapon.
Similarly, material civilization is neither good nor bad in itself. When the human mind and spirituality do not advance along with the material or technological developments in equal measure, material civilization overwhelms and enslaves us; it becomes the cause of suffering.

Sotaesan, the founding master, said: "At present, materialism has an increasing influence in the world, while the minds and spirits of human beings are becoming weak. In these circumstances, individuals, homes, societies and nations are not able to maintain equilibrium and must remain in endless suffering."

from The Scripture of the Founding Master, Chapter 1, v. 13

To Master Sotaesan, the way or path to a happy life free from suffering lies in empowering people's minds and enhancing spirituality through faith in a truthful dharma and a realistic spiritual practice. That is why Won-Buddhism emphasizes mind training.

During this global age, people's lives and destinies are closely interrelated with those of others, and one nation’s fate cannot be separate from those of others. Won-Buddhism ultimately aims to build a World of Oneness where peace and equality prevail for all people.

Daesan, the Third Head Dharma Master of Won-Buddhism, explained the meaning of Won Bul Kyo or Won-Buddhism: "Won" literally means circle, which symbolizes Oneness. This signifies that the truth is one, the world is one, humans are one family, and the whole world is one enterprise. "Bul" means awakening and it signifies that the world is one household and that all sentient beings are of one body. "Kyo," which means teaching or dharma, signifies that we need to be awakened to the truth of oneness in order to establish one world family or one world community where there is no conflict and peace prevails.

30. The Founding Master said, "As material civilization develops, the world today is marked with advanced learning and technology in all walks of life. As a consequence, dazzling instruments and commodities have been produced, captivating the eyes of humankind.

On the other hand, the spirit making use of material things has become so weak that it is enslaved to them. This is a matter of great concern. A material thing of great value can be the cause of misery if it is used by a vicious person. The great talent and learning of a bad person can cause immense harm to the public. A good home environment can be misused to create evil karma if a person uses it wrongly. The products of material civilization can be used to make the world better or worse depending on the application of the laws that show how to use the mind. These products could build a paradise if the people making use of them use their minds correctly. They could also be like a lethal weapon in the hands of a criminal, if the people making use of them use their minds incorrectly.

Therefore, you must open your eyes and diligently learn the laws of how to use the mind, which is the heart of all dharmas. Be the pilot of your mind, in order to make good use of all things. This is the principle of mutual benefit in all situations. You should exert yourselves to teach the art of mind-application to people so that a truly civilized world shall be realized."

31. The Founding Master said, "The rapid progress of material civilization alone is not sufficient for realizing a perfect world. It needs the advancement of spiritual culture as well. The core of spiritual culture lies in the morality of humankind.

Thus, the world will only become perfect if material civilization and spiritual culture advance together in balance. Scientific knowledge helps improve material civilization, and moral cultivation helps strengthen spiritual culture. Hence, the perfect world needs the moral cultivation of humanity as well as scientific advancement. If the world leans toward material civilization, neglecting spiritual culture, as is the case with today's world, the world will be like a child playing with a sharp knife. No one knows when and where humankind will be harmed by the power of material civilization. This world is like a man who is physically healthy but mentally ill.

A world morally advanced but materially backward, however, is like a man who is mentally healthy but physically handicapped. Thus, the world cannot become perfect if either of the two is deficient; a paradise can only be realized when material civilization and spiritual culture advance in balance."

from The Scripture of the Founding Master, Chapter 2, v. 30, 31