Won Buddhism*: A Synthesis of The Moral Systems of Confucianiam And Buddhism

Bongkil Chung
Journal of Chinese Philosophy
Vol.15 1988
Copyright @ 1984 by Dialogue Publishing Company,
Honolulu, U.S.A.

. P.425 I INTRODUCTION When two moral systems have incompatible moral tenets such as Buddhism and Confucianism, and if a third moral system claims to have integrated the two conflicating moral teachings; serious questions arise on on theoretical and practical grounds. One of the questions is whether the integration is syncretism or synthesis. According to Thomas F. Hoult, "all religious doctrines are syncretic.''(1)If the Nagarjuna asked: If one, keeping the precepts for laymen, can be born in the celestial world, attain the way of Bodhisattva, and realize nirvana, why does one need the precepts for monks? He answered: Although both ways lead to emancipation, there are differences of difficulty and easiness. Laymen have to make a living, which requires various toilsome work. Hence, if one wishes to devote oneself to the Buddha dharma, one's family life will be ruined. However, if one devotes oneself to one's family the way of the Buddha dharma will be neglected. One can neither take nor discard the Way; P.426 to follow the Way properly is difficult. However, if one becomes a monk, one frees oneself from worldly responsibility, anger, and disturbance and finds it easy to devote oneself to practicing the Way.(2) Sosan(c) (1520-1604), a great Korean patriarch, supplied this justification: To become a monk and leave one's family behind is not a trivial matter. The purpose is not to seek for physical ease, nor is it to eat and to be clad luxuriously, nor is it to seek for fame and property. It is to avoid birth and death, to sever worldly passions, to succeed to the wisdom of the Buddha, and to deliver all sentient beings by transcending the three worlds.(3) The moral issue is whether the Buddha dharma can be followed without jettisoning one's filial duty to one's parents. Buddhist monks were subjected to harsh criticism from Neo-Confucian philosophers. Thus Chu Hsi(d) (1130-1200) wrote: The mere fact that they discard the Three Bonds (between ruler and minister, father and son, and husband and wife) and the Five Constant Virtues (righteousness on the part of the father, deep love on the part of the mother, friendliness on the part of the elder brother, respect on the part of the younger brother, and filial piety on the part of the son) is already a crime of the greatest magnitude. Nothing more need be said about the rest.(4) Wittgenstein seems to be right: "When two principles really do meet which cannot be reconciled with one another, then each man declares the other a fool and heretic."(5) Chu Hsi regarded the Buddhist way as harmful to the morality of mankind. He pointed out that the Buddhists "renounce the family to attend to their own virtue in solitude. This shows they are different in substance from the way...."(6) His advice was that P.427 "a student should forthwith get as far away from Buddhist doctrines as from licentious songs and beautiful women. Otherwise they will soon infiltrate him."(7) As Chu Hsi's influence was strongly felt in Korea during the Yi dynasty (1392-1910), during that period Buddhist monks became one of the seven despised low classes of the social structure. Charles Weihsun Fu, (e) noting that the Neo-Confucianists' criticisms were exaggerations and distortions, has written: Mahayana Buddhists should learn a good lesson from the challenge of Neo-Confucianism and engage in a necessary and urgent inquiry into the moral dimension of their own tradition, by shifting their traditional emphasis on transcendental truth to a new emphasis on worldly truth in terms of everyday ethic-social practice... It is now time for them to develop a new and modern philosophy of the Middle Way by placing equal emphasis on morality as well as on wisdom (prajna) and meditation (samadhi)... But it remains to be seen whether Mahayana Buddhism can work out in this modern age an ethical system to tackle most, if not all, human and secular problelms they encounter in everyday life.(8) As Fu has pointed out, answers are contained in the texts of Mahayana Buddhism.(9) In this paper I will show how the ethico-religious system of Won Buddhism has attempted to answer this question by analyzing its central moral tenets. This paper will consider Sot'aesan's(f) motives in founding Won Buddhism and the points of renovation (II), his synthesis of metaphysical tenets (III), his synthesis of the perfection of human nature (IV), and his synthesis of moral duties (V). A concluding remark (VI) is added. II. RENOVATION OF BUDDHISM At the turn of the century Sot'aesan had " a precognition upon the P.428 great enlightenment" (1916) of the danger the world was about to face on account of humanity being enslaved by the power of material civilization. He felt that something had to be done to save the world from becoming a Frankenstein's Monste. In the Founding Motive of the new religious order he wrote: ...The motive therefore lies in an attempt to deliver all sentient beings suffering in the tormenting seas to a vast and limitless paradise. This goal shall be realized by expanding the spiritual power in order to conquer the power of matter and the spiritual power will be expanded by the faith in a truthful religion and training in sound morality (K.19).(10) When Sot'aesan needed a moral system as a means to his goal, neither Buddhism nor Confucianism as then understood by Korean society could help. The Yi dynasty Confucianists were divided into several factions involved in academic controversies and endless factional, bloody wranglings.(11) Sot'aesan, accepting the truthful tenets of the three teachings of the East, intended to integrate them into the new ethico-religious sytem that took the Buddha dharma as the core doctrine of a new religious order. He explained his intentions to integrate them as follows: In the past, the founders of various religions came to the world in accordance with the call of the times and taught the ways man ought to follow: yet the central doctrines have been different from one another depending on the places and times. This is like the various areas of specialization in medicine.(12) ... Thus the substance of the three teachings are different from one another; they however agree in their goals of correcting the world and benefiting sentient beings. In the past each of the three religions exclusively taught their own areas of speciality; however, in the future, any one of them individually will not be sufficient to deliver the world. Hence, we intend to integrate all these doctrines into one system...(K. 125-6). P.429 As Sot'aesan had taken the Buddha dharma as the central tenet of the new religion, there arose a question of whether Sot'aesan's form of Buddhism could avoid the kind of criticism which Chu Hsi poured on Buddhism without leaving the new system in a state of mere syncretism. Sot'aesan's integration also poses the question of whether the problem Dogen perceived could also be solved. A brief consideration of the spirit of Sot'aesan's reformation of Buddhism will help clarify the points of synthesis in question. Sot'aesan's renovation of Buddhism is reflected in the Four Grand Platforms of Won Buddhism, which summarize the central tenets of its doctrine. In the first platform, "Right Enlightenment and Right Conduct," Sot'aesan grasps the heart of Buddhism and throws it to the world for realization. The Buddha dharma should not hide itself in a deep mountain valley for a few monks to follow. Everyone should "be enlightened by the Mind Seal of all Buddhas and patriarchs, symbolized by the truth of Irwon(g) or one circle, and to model oneself thereafter to act perfectly without partiality, excessiveness or deficiency when using the six roots (eyes,ears,nose,tongue, body, and mind)" (K.58).Asanecessaryfirst step toward this goal temples and monasteries are to be erected in urban and rural areas. The second platform, "Be Aware of Grace and Requite It", requires one to realize one's indebtedness to what Sot'aesan calls the "Four Graces," namely, Heaven and Earth, Parents, Brethren, and Law; one is also required to requite them by modeling oneself on the way of indebtedness to them. A life of resentment can thus be transformed into a life of gratitude even in situations where one can justifiably find an object of resentment (K.58).Theidea of "the requital of grace" is not new with Sot'aesan as it can be found in the traditional Buddhist texts.(13) This platform reflects more of Confucian filial piety extended initially to Heaven and Earth, and then to Brethren and Law. In Sot'aesan's enlightened view the Four Graces are the incarnation of Dharmakaya Buddha. Sot'aesan thought that the first step in curing the world of illness is to change a life of resentment to one of gratitude. Here Sot'aesan saw no theoretical problem or practical difficulty in integrating Confucian moral duty into a Buddhist moral system. P.430 In the third platform, "Proper Application of the Buddha Dharma" Sot'aesan gane a new direction to the practice of the Buddha dharma, a direction which can be seen as a response to the Neo-Confucian criticism of Buddhism; he taught that one must make the best use of the Buddha dhrama without neglecting to take better care of worldly affairs. One should not become useless to the world by becoming a Buddhist; rather one, making the best use of it, should become a capable and useful person rendering help to oneself, one's family, one's state, and the world (K.59). Dogen and Sosan would wonder how this is possible. Again the idea is not new with Sot'aesan, as it is found Mahayana Buddhist texts.(14) The Buddha dharma Sot'aesan advocates, however, was expressed in a few tenets simple enough for anyone to understand and yet sufficient enough to allow anyone to realize Buddhahood without leaving the mundane world. The fourth platform, "Egoless Service to the Public", set a general rule of altruism that one, forsaking the egoistic mentality of only caring for oneself or one's family, ought to exert oneself to help deliver the world by Mahayana altruism. This platform reflects not only the Bodhisattva ideal of Mahayana Buddhism but also, no doubt, the Confucian moral and political thought elaborated in the Tahsueh(h) [Great Learning].(15) Sot'aesan's spirit of renovation and revival of the Buddha dharma as expressed in several mottos can certainly blunt the edge of Chu Hsi's criticism of Buddhism, even though they might make Dogen and Sosan wonder. The first motto, "Everywhere is the image of the Buddha, hence do all things as a Buddhist mass", reflects the Hua-yen(i) doctrine that the Buddha Vairocana is manifesting himself everywhere.(l6) Sot'aesan by this motto intended to renovate the way of worshipping the Buddha. In his view it was hard to prove whether the Buddha statue had any potency to bless or punish tire faithful; the practice in question was obsolete and superstitious, unable to keep pace with the growth of human intelligence. In Sot'aesan's view the practice could do more harm than service to the original teachings of the Buddha (K. 131). The second motto, "Practice ch'an(j) (sort, zen) at all times and places". reflects Sot'aesan's intention of bringing the heart of the Buddhist P.431 way into the daily life of all. If this could be done, Won Buddhism could solve the problems of the opposing parties. Sot'aesan described thus the essence of son: True ch'a(j) lies in taking the True Emptiness [chen-kung(k)] as the substance of the mind and the Marvelous Existence [mioo-yu(l)] as the function of the mind so that the mind is as immovable as a great mountain in trying situations and, when left alone, the purity and serenity of the mind is like the empty and vast sky, If one continues ch'an, all the discriminations of the mind will be based on samadhi such that the functioning of the six roots will coincide with the self-nature (svabhava) of Silent Emptiness [k'ung-chi(m) ] and Numinous Awareness [ling-chih(n)] (K. 81). Sot'aesan took this as the Mahayanistic ch'an or zen and the integrated practice of the Triple Discipline (samadhi, prajna, sila). Ch'an was to be the way of lving in samsara. The spirit of reformation of Buddhism was found in still another motto, "Buddha dharam is worldly living and worldly living is Buddha dharma itself." This motto challenges Dogen's way of the Buddha dharma, and is not independent of the previous two. Sot'aesan here brought the Buddha dharma which had been hiding, if not lost, in remote mountains into the urban and rural areas to deliver the sentient beings there. The question now becomes whether this Buddhist way was not the way of the Confucian, or whether one could sincerely carry out the moral duties spelled out by the Confucian moral system while one was following the Buddhist way. III. SYNTHESIS OF METAPHYSICAL TENETS Once one learns of the Four Grand Platforms and of the mottos for reformatian, one can feel that the Buddha dharma is near at hand; yet one can feel it quite implausible to follow the Buddha dharma as Won P.432 Buddhism suggests, let alone to graft the Confucian way to it. Some may even feel that there is a catch in such a claim, for black and white mixed can only produce gray. For Sot'aesan, however, it was not only possible but necessary to so mix. To a newly converted disciple from the Confucian tradition who worried about the long standing Confucian prejudice against Buddhism for its nihilism and otherworldly aspects, Sot'aesan said: ...Wu-chi(o) [Ultimateless] or T'ai-chi(p) [Great Ultimate] in the Chou-i(q) is true essence of emptiness [hsu-wu(r) '] and annihilation [chi-mieh(s) ] with no selfish desires. Tsu-ssu's(t) state of equilibrium cannot be the Mean unless it is emptiness and annihilation; nor can the illustrious virtue of the Ta-hsueh be manifested without emptiness and annihilation. Thus, various religions use different words and names, but the truth is identical. However, if you end up with emptiness and annihilation, you can never become a man of morality. Hence, you must take emptiness and annihilation as the substance of the Way and jen, i, li. and chih(u) as the functions of the way in order to apply the Way to myriads of human affairs. Only then does the Way become perfect (K. 28o-281). Sot'aesan was here disabusing his disciple of the mistaken Neo-Confucian conception of the metaphysics of sunyata. If given a proper interpretation, it could imply the meaning of the term hsing(v) or nature as used in the Chung-yung(w) [Doctrine of the Mean]: "What Heaven has conferred on man is called nature."(17) The state of mind before the arousal of feelings of pleasure, anger, sorrow, or joy, called chung or equilibrium, was none other than emptiness and annihilation of this or that feelings. And yet the way of sunyata could only be a moral way if it functioned as the four cardinal virtues of Confucianism. Thus there was no problem of synthesizing the two conflicting views. To Sot'aesan, different religious doctrines provided different metaphysical paradigms, to use Thomas Kuhn's terminology,(18) which would cause one and the same ultimate reality to be viewed differently. Sot'ae- P.433 san used the figure of a perfect circle called Irwonsang(x) (i-yuan-hsiang) to refer to that ultimate reality and the original nature of all sentient beings. What is referred to by Irwonsang is called T'ai-chi or Wu-chi in Confucianism, Tao(y) or nature in Taoism, and pure Dharmakaya Buddha in Buddhism. However, they are different names of one and the same principle; no matter which way you enter, ultimately you return to the truth of Irwon(g).... (K.320).(19) The correctness of this view is a thorny question which cannot be settled here. The same idea, however goes back to the Vedic period.(20) With Sot'aesan believing that the best theoretical basis for the synthesis of the Confucian and Buddhism moral systems lie in the concept of Irwonsang, it must be shown both how Buddhistic the concept of Irwonsang is and how some of the central moral tenets of Confucianism are derived from it. Sot'aesan identified Irwon or one circle with Dharmakaya Buddha and said it was "the origin of all beings of the universe, the Mind Seal of all Buddhas and sages, and the original nature of all sentient beings" (K. 9). Here Irwon refers to the realm which Kant called noumenon and to li-fa-chieh(z) or the realm of principle in the Hua-yen texts.(21)That Sot'aesan's view of the ultimate reality of the universe was within the Mahayanistic tradition can be seen in his description of what Irwon referred to: ...In this realm there is no difference of great [substance] and small [function], being and nonbeing, nor is there the change of coming and going of birth and death. Nor is there the karmic retribution of good and evil. In this realm words and names are all annihilated in complete voidness (K. 21). This description reminds one of Kant's view that the noumenal realm goes beyond any of the twelve categories of understanding, especially that of causality.(22) P.434 Sot'aesan then explained the relation between that ineffable realm and the phenomenal realm [shi-fa-chieh(aa)] in terms found in some Mahayana texts, saying: According to the light of the Numinous Awareness [ling-chih(n)] of the Silent Void [k'ung-chi(m)] arises the difference of Great and Small, followed by the difference of karmic retribution of good and evil, and the clear manifestation of the phenomena with names and forms; so that the three realms of ten directions appear as clearly as a jewel on the palm. Amongst this the providence of True Emptiness [chen-k'ung(k) ] and Marvelous Existence [miao-yu(l)] appears and disappears throughout the myriads of things of the universe eternally. This is the truth of Irwonsang (K. 21). This is the central metaphysical tenet of Won Buddhism. Dharmakaya Buddha or Irwonsang is the object of its religious worship. This metaphysical tenet reflects Mahayana Buddhist idealism in the sense that numinous awareness plays the role of illuminating the ultimate reality into the phenomenal world.(23) Irwon thus refers to the ultimate reality of the universe; and Irwonsang to the harmony of noumena and phenomena arising from numinous awareness. IV. SYNTHESIS IN THE PERFECTION OF HUMAN NATURE What is the moral relevauce of the truth of Irwonsang which in Sot'- aesan's view jields the Confucianistic moral norms, to the ideal of "Right Enlightenment and Right Conduct"? Answering how one could realize in everyday life the truth of Irwonsang as the standard of moral discipline, Sot'aesan said: You cultivate your moral character by taking Irwonsang as the standard of moral perfection and by modeling your mind after its truth. (I) By getting enlightened [prajna] to the truth of Irwon you are to know clearly the real nature of all things P.435 in the universe, birth, old age, illness, and the death of human beings, and the principle of karmic retribution. (II) You are to nourish [samadhi] the perfect original nature which, like Irwon, is free from selfishness, love and lust, and attachment. (III) Or, you are to handle [sila] all human affairs rightly and perfectly like Irwon without yourself being affected by pleasure, anger, sorrow, and joy or by favoritism (K. 129). Thus the three aspects of one's original nature referred to by Irwon or Dharmakaya, namely, samadhi, prajna, and sila, should be realized in daily mundane affairs. The language here is unmistakably that of Huineng(ab); but, it is also that of the Chung-yung. Hui-neng taught that the six consciousnesses, when passing through the six roots, should not be colored by the six dirts [liu-ch'en(ac) ]. The Chung-yung taught that chung or equilibrium lay in the state of mind before the feelings of pleasure, anger, sorrow, or joy have arisen; and yung or harmony lay in the manifesting of these feelings in due degree.(24) For Sot'aesan the two teachings were not incompatible. Irwonsang as the standard of moral perfection was to remind us of the truth that one's original nature was perfect like Irwonsang, lacking nothing, and utterly unselfish as the mind of all Buddhas and sages. Hence moral discipline aimed at manifesting that nature completely in daily lives, realizing the Buddha dharma without leaving one's family. Sot'aesan's view of moral discipline presupposed that human nature in its substance transcended good and evil but could be either in its functioning (K. 292). This view is found in Wang Yang-ming's(ad) (1472-1529) sayings: "1. In the original substance of mind there is no distinction between good and evil. 2. When the will becomes active, however, such a distinction exisls."(25) Wang, however, also explained Mencius view that human nature is good: "The nature endowed in us by Heaven is pure and perfect. The fact that it is intelligent, clear, and not beclouded is evidence of the emanation and revelation of the highest good."(26) So some ask whether or a not Wang's theory of human nature was influenced by the Buddhist view. Wang's criticism of the Buddhist theory of human nature is helpful P.436 for our understanding of Sot'aesan's position. Wang taught: in nourishing the mind, we Confucians have never departed from things and events. By merely following the natural principles of things we accomplish our task. On the other hand, the Buddhists insist on getting away from things and events completely and view the mind as an illusion, gradually entering into a life of emptiness and silence, and seem to have nothing to do with the world at all. This is why they are incapable of governing the World. (27) Wang's criticism was based on his observations of the Buddhist monks of his time;on theoretical grounds it missed the point of Hua-yen and Ch'an Buddhist tenets.(28) Wang's criticism had no force on Sot'aesan's way of moral perfection since the latter intended for one to make the best use of the Buddha dharma in order to be an active member of society. Sot'aesan took as the fundamental cause of human predicament the three evil tendencies of disturbedness, foolishness, and evil arising in trying situations. Hence the moral discipline was to let samadhi, prajna, and sila of one's original nature manifest in trying situations (K. 59-60). Here Sot'aesan reflected Huineng's view of the triple disciplines.(29) Sot'aesan's originality lay in his statement of the criteria of moral perfection with regard to the three aspects of the original nature. He set out three criteria for each of the three aspects and summarized the truth of Dharmakaya or Irwonsang in terms of these criteria, namely, k'ung(ae)[void], yuan(af)[perfect], and cheng(ag)[right] (K. 129-130): In nourishing the nature [yang hsing(ah)]: (l) the void lies in one's intuition of the realm which transcends being and non- being; (2) the mind in which nothing goes or comes is perfect;and (3)the mind which does not decline to or lean on anything is right. In seeing [awakening to] the nature [chien-hsing(ai)]: (1) the P.437 void lies in one's knowledge of the ineffable state with no trace of mind's whereabouts; (2) the limitless capacity of intelligence of mind is perfect; and (3) one's seeing and judging all things correctly owing to true knowledge of reality. In following the nature [shuai-hsing(aj)]: (1) the void lies in one's doing all things with no thought [wu-nien(ak) ] (2) doing all things with no attachment [wu-cho(al)] is perfect; and (3) doing all things in accordance with the Mean [chung-tao(am)] is right. In the last paragraph, the ideals of Buddhism and Confucianism, namely, no thought from the Vajracchedika Sutra and the Mean from the Chung- yung, function as integral parts of moral perfection in Won Buddhism. These moral perfections are all to be realized in personal, family, social, and national affairs as set for in the Ta Hsueh. V. SYNTHESIS OF MORAL DUTIES Sat'aesan's synthesis of moral duties is best understood as the grafting of Confucian moral duties to the Dharmakaya Buddha or Irwonsang, the object of Won Buddhist religious worship. Some of the central tenets of Confucian morality are embraced in the "Ethics of Grace" of Won Buddhism. With his fundamental moral principle, "Be aware of grace and requite it, " Sot'aesan intended to show why a world full of resentment could be changed to one of gratitude. The former aggravates the human predicament; the latter ameliorates it and leads to a paradise on earth. A life of gratitude lies in requiting the grace one has received in one's own life from various sources. Sot'aesan listed four such sources of life - Heaven and Earth, parents, Brethren, and Law - which he called the Four Graces, a "grace" being anything without which one's life would be impossible. He challenged people to question whether they could exist and live without them, and said that even a man of low intelligence could understand that life would be P.438 impossible without them. He argued that nothing could be a greater favor or grace than that without which life would be impossible. As to why these graces ought to be requited prudential reasons were given. Graces requited will being blessings; graces unrequited will bring punishment. Of the four graces, those of Heaven and Earth and Parents were central moral tenets of Confucianism. Sot'aesan attempted to synthesize the moral systems of Buddhism and Confucianism by showing that the Four Graces were none other than the contents or manifestations of Dharmakaya Buddha, symbolized by Irwonsang(K. 131). Sot'aesan derived the moral norm to require the graces from the way men are indebted to them. And how are men indebted to the grace of Heaven and Earth? Men are indebted through the eight virtues of the way of Heaven and Earth: (i) extremely bright, (ii) extremely sincere, (iii) extremely fair, (iv) natural, (v) vast and limitedless, (vi) eternal and immortal, (vii) without good or evil fortunes, and (viii) harboring no false ideas (K.27). Since man is indebted to these virtues, his duty is to cultivate, to model his moral character after them. The representative moral virtue to be cultivated as a way of requiting the grace of Heaven and Earth is to do good to others without harboring in mind the idea of having done so. This specific moral character is, of course, a Buddhist moral ideal.(30)The same virtue is taught in the Bible: "But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing..."(31)However, the idea of imitating the moral virtues of Heaven and Earth comes mainly from the Confucian tradition. Chu Hsi,commenting on a Chou Tun-i (1017-1073)quotationfromthe I-ching(ao), says: ...Thus (the sage) establishes himself as the ultimate standard for man. Hence, the character of the sage is identical with that of Heaven and Earth;his brilliancy is identical with that of the sun and the moon; his order is identical with that of the seasons; and his good and evil fortunes are identical with those of spiritual beings.(32) Whether Heaven and earth can be said to have such moral character is a philosophical question; however, some of those characterizing moral P.439 norms run through the Confucian texts. For instance, "Sincerity is the way of Heaven; the attainment of sincerity, or the attempt to be sincere, is the way of Heaven. To think how to be sincere is the way of man. Never has there been one possessed of complete sincerity who did not move others."(34) Sot'aesan suggested that everyone ought to model himself after the way of Heaven, with sincerity, as a way of requiting the Grace of Heaven and Earth. For Chu Hsi impartiality or fairness, another of the Heavenly virtues, was a necessary condition for practicing jen: ...a man originally possesses jen. It comes with him from the very beginning. Simply because he is partial, the jen is obstructed and cannot be expressed. Therefore, if he is impartial, his jen will operate.(35) The virtue of "no mind," the representative virtue of Heaven and Earth for Sot'aesan, can found in both Confucian and Buddhist traditions. The Chin-kang ching(ap) (Diamond Sutra), counsels " [o] ne should develop a mind which does not abide in anything,"(36) in the same work man is advised to do charitable works without harboring any idea of having done so in mind. The Confucian Ch'eng-i(aq) (1033-1107) taught: "Heaven and Earth create and transform without having any mind of their own. The sage has a mind of his own but does not take any (unnatural) action."(37) The moral virtue in question can thus be found in the allegedly opposing traditions. Another tenet of Confucianistic morality round in the moral system of Won Buddhism is filial piety. Filial piety was the weapon used by the Neo-Confucianists to criticize the Buddhist monks who had left their parents for the monastery life.(38) In the Confucian tradition, filial duty was the fundamental principle of morality. For Confucius, filial piety was the foundation of all virtue and the root of civilization.(39) When Teng Tzu(ar) asked what surpassed filial piety as the virtue of a sage, Confucius replied, [M] an excels all the beings in Heaven and Earth. Of man's acts none is greater than filial piety. In the practice of filial P.440 piety, nothing is greater than to reverence one's father.(40) For Sot'aesan, filial piety was the requital of the grace of Parents and needed to be expanded. One had to discipline oneself to become a morally respectable person following the great moral way. One had to faithfully support one's parents as much as one could when the parents lacked the ability to help themselves;one had to help them have spiritual comfort. Further, as part of the requital of the grace, one had, in accordance with one's ability, to protect the helpless parents of others even as one's own during and after the life of one's parents. This recalls one of Chang Tsai's(as) (1020-1077) moral tenets that "...even those who are tired,infirm, crippled, or sick; those who have no brothers or children, wives or husbands, are all my brothers who are in distress and have no one to turn to."(41) Sot'aesan, however, left it open so that, as long as the motive was not selfish, one could sacrifice the material expressions of filial piety so that one could contribute to a greater cause for the public well-being. The idea that one is indebted to Brethren, fellow humans, animals, and plants, for life itself needs no argument. In Sot'aesan's view humans were capable of harming or blessing others; without the help of others, life would be impossible. Even though humans are potential Buddhas, they can harm each other as long as they are moved by the three evils of greed, anger, and foolishness. At the final analysis, all human sufferings are based on these three evils. Sot'aesan set a simple norm which should, be followed in all walks of life in order to ameliorate the human predicament. He suggested as a way of requiting the grace of Brethren, that man had to conform to "the principle of fairness and mutual benefit" as a moral norm when exchanging goods (K.36). When Sot'aesan talked about the grace of Law, he meant by the term "law" the religious and moral teachings of all sages as well as the penal and civil laws to which one owed a great deal for one's life. The concept of the grace of dharma could be found in the traditional Buddhist (42) By including in it the civil and penal laws of the state, Sot'aesan texts. prescribed one's duties to the state. He suggested, as a way of requiting the grace of Law, one ought to do what the law encouraged one to do and P.441 to abstain from doing what the law prohibited (K.40). This reflected the ways of the moral, educational, and political programs of Confucianism summarized in the Ta-hsueh.(43) Sot'aesan added what might be called "prudential reasons" for requiting the Four Graces in terms of the results of gratitude and ingratitude. If requited one would cultivate the virtues of Heaven and Earth (K. 30); one's offspring would be filial (K. 33); there would be peace and prosperity in the world (K. 37); and one would be protected by the laws (K. 41). If one were ungrateful to them, one's moral character would suffer from insincerity, partiality, foolishness, and so on (K. 30); one's offspring would be unfilial (K. 34); fellow humans would turn out to be mutual enemies (K. 38); and laws would become shackles (K. 44). Is it because of prudential resons or because of indebtedness to the Four Graces, (i.e.,the contents of Dharmakaya Buddha - Irwonsang)that one ought to follow the four sets of moral injunctions? Prudential reasons reflect the founding motive of Won Buddhism, namely, the deliverance of all sentient beings to a vast paradise, implying a teleological principle. Buddhist ethics has been based on a teleological principle, (44)namely, that whatever is conducive to the realization of nirvana is right. The aim of Buddha's moral teaching was to help all sentient beings realize nirvana. Confucian ethics, on the other hand, has been deontological, namely, that whatever is in accordance with Tao (the universal moral principle)was right.(45)Confucian moralists have believed that there are universal principles, of which moral rules pertaining to human beings are part, and therefore they ought to be followed regardless of the consequences. Sot'aesan's moral thought was essentially teleological, but relied on some deontological moral rules to realize its goals. The mere fact that the Four Graces were that without which one's life would be impossible justified their being the object of religious worship. Here there were answers to why the graces ought to be requited. One was based on prud- ential reasons. The Four Graces were living Buddhas capable of blessing or punishing; hence, one ought to do all things as [if offering] a Buddhist mass. The other was deontological in the sense that it was a matter of P.442 necessary moral course to return what one owed. Flial piety cannot be compromised [even if heaven falls!]. Offering a Buddhist mass was a religious activity, requiting the Grace of Parents was a moral action. However, Sot'aesan synthesized the two by suggesting that the way of offering a Buddhist mass lay in requiting grace (K.9). It followed that a Buddhist monk did not have to leave his family to offer a Buddhist mass to the Buddha statue made of wood or gold. The four sources of grace were all living Buddhas who would be well served if one requited the appropriate grace in the mundane world, for nirvana was different from samsara not ontologically but epistemologically.(46) VI. CONCLUSION Sot'aesan did more than merely synthesize Buddhism and Confucianism into a new religious moral system. His moral system of Won Buddhism contains solutions to the antithetic principles of Buddhism [Dogen] and Confucianism [Chu Hsi]. Chu Hsi's criticism of Buddhism has no force on Won Buddhism since the latter is not other-worldly. The ideal of nirvana is to be realized in discharging one's duties to Heaven and Earth, Parents, Brethren, and Law, even though it may be very difficult as Dogen saw it. Sot'aesan's moral system can blunt Chu Hsi's criticism only if Dogen's or Nagarjuna's other-worldly practice of Buddha dharma can be brought to where sentient beings suffer in samsara. Sot'ae- san has only to put into practice Nagarjuna's ideal to realize nirvana in samsara. This can be done when one takes Sunyata as the substance, and jen, i, li. and chih as the functions of the Way. Here is the meaning of Charles Fu's phrase, "emptiness works wonders in everyday life."(47) This analysis has used a Western concept of morality suggested by Nowell-Smith,(48) trying to identify the ideals of their moral system, their beliefs about human nature,the kind of moral rules adopted for the realization of their ideals, and their theories of motivation. Sot'aesan's moral system has remarkably clear answers to these questions. The ideal is to realize sagehood in the mundane world and to cure the world of illness. Human nature is neither good nor evil in its substance, but it can be either in its functions; hence moral training must manifest the three P.443 aspects of the Buddha nature. Moral rules are deontological, prescribing the requital of the Four Graces to which one owes one's life. Yet the theory of the motivation to do good contains prudential reasons that reflect the teleological ground of Won Buddhism. Thus, the moral system of Won Buddhism is based on Buddhist teleological grounds, but the specific moral rules as means to that goal come from Confucian deontology. It is Won Buddhism's achievement to have synthesized these two seemingly incompatible moral tenets into a harmonious whole. FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY NOTES *Wonbulgyo(at), or Won Buddhism, is a form of Mahayana Buddhism founded by Pak Chung-bin(au), better known by his style Sot'aesan(f), after great enlightenment in 1916 in Korea. For a general introduction to Won Buddhism, see my "What is Won Buddhism?" Korea Journal 24, no.5 (May 1984): 18-32; my "The Ethics of Won Buddhism: A Conceptual Analysis of the Moral System of Won Buddhism" (Ph.D. diss., Michigan Stale University, 1979). 1. Quoted by Roland Robertson in The Sociological Introduction of Religion (New York: Schocken Books, 1970), p.103. "For example Christianity was historically composed of elements from Eastern and Near Eastern religi -ons (e.g. virgin birth, baptism, burial services), from Greek religions (asceticism, cosmology, escatology), from Judaism (monotheism) and from gnostic religious doctrines." 2. Terada Toru(av) and Mizuno Yaoko(aw) eds. Dogen(a) (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1972), p.307. The translation is mine. For an English translation of Dogen's Shobo-genzo, see Yuho Yokoi, trans., Zen Master Dogen (New York: Weatherhill, 1976). 3. So Cheha(ax), ed. Sosan's Son'ga kuigam(ay) [Models from Ch'an Traditions] (Seoul: Poyon'gak, 1978), p.143, para. #57. 4. Wing-tsit Chan(az), trans. and ed., A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1963), p.646, This work is referred to hereafter in this paper as "Chan, Source Book. " 5. Ludwig Wittgenstein, On Certainty, trans. Denis Paul and E.E.M. Anschombe and G.H. von Wright (NewYorkand Evanston: J & J Harper, 1969), p. 81. P.444 6. Chu Hsi and Lu Tsu-ch'ien,(ba) comp., Reflections on Things ot Hand, trans., Wing-tsit Chan, (New York: Columbia University Press, 1967), p. 283. Hereafter refer -red to as "Chan, Reflections." 7. Loc. cit. 8. Charles Wei-hsun Fu, "Morality or Beyond: The Neo-Confucian Confrontation with Mahayana Buddhism, " Philosophy East And West XXIII, 3: 395. PEW hereafter. 9. Ibid., p. 390ff. Fu shows how life-affirming and this-worldly tenets are strongly suggested in the texts of Hua-yen, T'ien-t'ai (bb) and Ch'an Buddhism. 10. Wonbulgyo kyojon(bc) [Canon of Won Buddhism], comp. Wonbulgyo Chong- (bd) huasa (Iri: Wonbulgyo kyomubu 1962), p. 19, This work is referred to as "K" in the text of this paper. 11. Kim Tuhon(be) "Songni ui Yon'gu"(bf) ["A Study of the Principles of Human Nature"], in Pak Kilchin(bg) ed., Kinyom unch'ong(bh) [A Collection of Articles for the Commemoration of the Half Cenrenniol of Won Buddhism], (Iri: Wonbulgyo Ch'ulp'ansa, 1971), pp.344-361. 12. Sot'aesan's view of the central teachings of Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism is: "Thus Buddhism, taking as the substance of the doctrine the unreality of all phenomena of the world, has elucidated the way for turning the deluded to the enlightened by teaching the truth of no-origination and noannihilation. Confucianism, taking as the substance of its doctrine the phenomenal reality of all beings of the universe, has elucidated mainly the way of individual moral cultivation, regulating one's family, ruling a state, and putting the world at peace, by teaching the morality of the Three Bonds and the Five Human Relation and the four virtues of jen, i, li, and chi [humanity, righteousness, propriety, and wisdom]. Taoism, taking as the substance of its doctrine the way of the nature of the universe, elucidated the way of purity, serenity, and non-action by teaching the method of nourishing one's original nature" (K. 125-6). 13. Sosan, Son'ga kuigam,p.77, mentions the four graces of parents, state, teacher, and alms giver. 14. For an incisive presentation of this point, see Fu, "Morality or Beyond" p. 391. 15. James Legge, trans, Confucius: Confucion Analects, The Great Learning, & The Doctrine of the Mean (Oxford: Clare -ndon Press, 1893) , pp.356-360. Hereafter "Legge, Confucius." 16. Taisho shinshu daizokyo(bi) (Tokyo: Taisho shinshu daizokyo kanko kai, 1976 reprint) 45: 513c. This edition is referred to by the abbeviation TSD hereafter. 17. Legge, Confucius,p.383. 18. Sot'aesan might have said, using Wittgenstein's expression (On Certainty, P.445 P. 15) , that different religious doctrines provide different Weltbild through which the faithful of each religion view one and the same thing differently; and using Thomas Kuhn's terminology [ The Structure Of Scientific Revolution, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2nd ed., 1970). p. 35],that different religions provide different religious "paradigms" through which the faithful see only certain things, and do not see other things which other people see. 19. This view is found in Kim Unhak,(bj) ed., Chin-k'ang ching wu-chiao hai(bk) [Interpretations Of The Diamond Sutra By Five Masters] (Seoul: Hyonam sa, 1980): p. 4, "Yeh-fu's(bl) 'Eulogy to the Circle'...of all the dharmas, pure or impure, in the four dharma realms of three worlds, not a single dharma arises outside of this Circle. In Ch'an it is called the first phrase; in Chiao(bm) [textual teaching] it is called the pure dharma realm. Among the Confucianists is it called T'ai-chi, the one pervading substance; in Taoism, the mother of all things under heaven In truth, all these names refer to this. So someone in the past said of this: 'Before the birth of past Buddhas existed one circle; even Sakyamuni could not meet with it, how could Kasyapa transmit it?' " 20. S. Radhakrishnan and C. Moore eds, A Sourcebook in Indian Philosophy (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1957). p.21. "What was that One who in the unborn's image hath stablished and fixed firm these world's six religions [regions?]! They call him Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Angi, ]and he is heavently nobly-winged Garutman." 21. Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, trans., Norman Kemp Smith (New York: St Martin's Press, 1929, 1968), p. 269: TSD, 45: 672c. 22. Kant,Critique of Pure Reoson. p.296. 23. TSD, 30: 1b; 45: 91b; 48: 1007a, b, "... This is the mind which is empty and silent [k'ung-chi(m)], and is your original face. This is also the dharma seal transmitted from Buddha to Buddha, from patriarch to patriarch, and all those learned under heaven." "...However, in the voidness of all dharmas is the empty (sic! )awareness (hsu-chin(n)]. [The Korean edition includes the character Line missing, see text hsu, emptiness[; 51: 458c, "...True void [chen-k'ung(k) ] is the substance and marvelous existence [miao-yu(l)] is the function." It must be noticed that the central metaphysical ideas of the truth of irwonsang have been expressed in these terms. 24. Legge,Confucius.p.384 [The Mean.Ch.l,sect.4]. 25. Wang Yang-ming, Instructions for Practical Living, trans, Wing-tsit Chan, (New York: Columbia University Press, 1963), p.243. 26. Chan,Source Book, p.661. 27. Wing-tsit Chan, "How Buddhistic is Wang Yang-ming?" PEW XII, 3: 214. 28. See Fu, "Morality or Beyond," pp.391-392, for the point in question. 29. TSD,48:342b. P.446 30. TSD,8:750c. 31. The Bible, Matthew: 6,3. 32. Chan,Reflections, p.6. 33. Legge, Confucius, p.413. 34. James Legge, trans., The Works Of Mencius, The Chinese Classics. Vol. 2 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1895), p. 303. 35. Chan,Reflections, p.62. 36. TSD,8:749c. 37. Chan,Source Book, p.646. 38. Ibid,p.l9. 39. Mary 'Lelia Marka, trans, The Hsiao Ching(bn) (NewYork: St.John's Univer- sity Press, 1961), p. 3. 40. Ibid.p.l9. 41. Chan,Source Book, p. 497. 42. Sosan, Son'ga kuigam, p. 79; In Shin-chi-kwan-ching(bo), the four graces include the graces of parents, sentient beings, the king, and the triple treasures (Buddha, sangha, and dharma](Oda tokuno, (bp) Bukkyo daijiten(bq)). 43. Legge, Confucius, p. 357. 44. Luiz O. Gomez, "Emptiness and Moral Perfection," PEW XXIII, 3:370. 45. Christian Jochim, "Ethical Analysis of an Ancient Debate: Moists versus Confucians, " Journal of Religious Erhirs 8, no.l (1980): 137. 46. TSD, 30: 36a: Kenneth K. Inada. trans., Nagarjuna (Tokyo: Hokuseido Press, 1970), p.158. 47. Fu."Morality and Beyond,"p.391. 48. Patrick H. Nowell-Smith, "Religion and Morality," Paul Edward, ed., The Encyclopedia of Philosophy (New York: Macmillan Co., 1967), 8: 150 P.447 CHINESE PHILOSOPHY a 道元 aa 事法界 b 正法眼藏 ab 惠能 c 西山( 大師 ) ac 六塵 d 朱熹 ad 王陽明 e 傅偉勳 ae 空 f 少太山 af 圓 g 一圓 ag 正 h 大學 ah 養性 i 華嚴 ai 見性 j 禪 aj 率性 k 真空 ak 無念 l 妙有 al 無著 m 空寂 am 中道 n 虛(靈)知 an 周敦頤 o 無極 ao 易經 p 太極 ap 金剛經 q 周易 aq 程頤 r 虛無 ar 曾子 s 寂滅 as 張載 t 子思 at 圓佛教 u 仁義禮知 au 朴重彬 v 性 av 寺田透 w 中庸 aw 水野彌穗子 x 一圓相 ax 徐在河 y 道 ay 禪家龜鑑 z 理法界 az 陳榮(打-丁+妻) P.448 ba 呂祖謙 bj 金雲學 bb 天台 bk 金剛經五家解 bc 圓佛教教典 bl 冶父(道川) bd 圓佛教正化社 bm 教 be 金斗憲 bn 孝經 bf 性理的(韓文)研究 bo 心地觀經 bg 朴吉真 bp 織田得能 bh 紀念文叢 bq 佛教大辭典 bi 大正新修大藏經