Won 
Buddhist Unitary Circle established by Sot'aesan

The Four Graces According to
Sot'aesan and Nichiren

by Ryuei Michael McCormick

Lotus Sutra Mandala inscribed by Nichiren

This article appeared in the journal Won Buddhist Studies, Volume II 1997
published by the Institute of Won Buddhist Studies.

Through the centuries, Buddhism has gone through many alternating periods of prosperity and decline. The periods of decline have historically been the result of complacency, arrogance and corruption on the part of the clergy. The decay of the Sangha, in turn, would usually find itself the victim of repressive governments or invading forces from abroad, which would then leave only a remnant of a once thriving Buddhist culture. The elitism of the Buddhist scholastic universities and the antinomianism of some Vajrayana Buddhists paving the way for the collapse and disappearance of Buddhism from India during the Muslim invasion of the late 12th century comes to mind. The devastating persecution of the emperor Wu-tsung in China in 845 C.E. provides another example. In Korea, King Chungjong of the Yi Dynasty instituted a severely repressive policy against the powerful Buddhist establishment in the late 14th century which lasted until 1895.1

The periods of creativity and revitalization, however, have usually come about through the hard work of dedicated reformers who combined compassion, insight and daring in order to challenge the complacency of the Buddhist establishment and bring the teachings to the common people. These reformers and innovators typically take concepts or practices that had been a marginal part of the established teachings and put them in the center of their own formulations of Buddhism. The rise of the Mahayana, for instance, saw the development of the formerly marginal bodhisattva ideal as an antidote to the aloofness and elitism of those who strove to become arhats. In this paper, I would like to examine how two very different Buddhist reformers, Nichiren Shonin (1222-1282) and Sot'aesan Taejongsa (1891-1943), made use of the marginal concept of the Four Graces/four debts of gratitude as a part of their own unique programs of reform and revitalization. To prevent confusion, I will reserve the phrase "four debts of gratitude" for Nichiren's use of this concept, and I will use the term "Four Graces" when speaking of Sot'aesan's use of this concept. Both, however, were using the very same Chinese characters.

Nichiren Shonin was one of the Kamakuran Buddhist reformers of 13th century Japan, along with Honen, Shinran, Ippen, Eisai and Dogen. Kamakuran Buddhism was an important watershed period of Japanese Buddhism, for it was a time when the powerful scholastic and monastic Buddhist establishments founded during the Nara and Heian periods gave way to the demanding Zen schools and to the mass movements of Pure Land and Nichiren Buddhism. Nichiren's particular concern was that the Buddhism of his day had lost sight of the true teaching and intention of Shakyamuni Buddha, which he believed could only be realized by upholding the Lotus Sutra. Nichiren also believed that the fate of the Japanese people depended upon realizing the truth of the Lotus Sutra. In fact, he believed that it was the responsibility of the all people to save not only themselves but the whole world through the Lotus Sutra. As he wrote in the Rissho Ankoku Ron:
You should promptly convert your wrong faith to the belief in the true and one vehicle at once. Then the triple world of the unenlightened will all become the land of the Buddha. Will the land of the Buddha decay? All the worlds in the ten directions will become the "treasure land." Will the "treasure land" be destroyed? When the land does not decay and is not destroyed, your body is safe and your heart tranquil. Believe these words and revere them!2
These convictions would bring Nichiren into conflict again and again with the Buddhist establishment of his day, as well as with the other Buddhist reform movements and even the military government of Kamakura. Nichiren, however, would often appeal to the teaching of the four debts of gratitude, saying that only by upholding the Lotus Sutra, would he be able to repay them. In this way, he explained that his seeming audaciousness and obstinacy was actually the sincerest form of gratitude.

Sot'aesan Taejongsa was the founder of Won Buddhism in Korea during the first half of this century. Originally, Sot'aesan's new movement was called The Research Society of the Buddha Dharma, and it's purpose was to restore a modernized and progressive form of Buddhism back into the mainstream of Korean life. It was only after his death, that the movement was given the name Won Buddhism, referring to it's use of the Circle (Won in Korean) as its central symbol. Sot'aesan himself had no significant Buddhist training or study until after his spiritual awakening to the truth in 1916. After that he decided to teach others using the principles of Buddhism. According to The Scripture of Won Buddhism:
After his enlightenment, the Great Master read extensively from scriptures and sutras of other religions. Upon reading the Diamond Sutra he said, "Shakyamuni Buddha is really the sage of all sages. Although I attained the Truth through self-instruction, I have discovered many coincidences between my own motives for following the religious path and those of the old Buddha, up until the time I myself attained Enlightenment. For this reason I will regard the Buddha as the antecedent of my Law." He concluded by saying, "In the future, when I intend to establish my great and perfect religious Order, Buddha Dharma should be the central principle."3
In 1919, Sot'aesan and some of his closest disciples moved to Pongnae Cloister, a Buddhist monastery, and for the next five years he worked out his doctrinal system in consultation with the monks there. It was there that he systematized the teachings of Won Buddhism, which included his own unique formulation of the Four Graces as one of the most important and distinctive. Sot'aesan, however, did not use the Four Graces as a justification for confronting the religious and secular authorities (coincidentally the Japanese government once again) as Nichiren did. Instead, he used them as a way of grounding the complexities of Buddhist doctrine into a practical way of life.

It is very likely that Sot'aesan came across the traditional Buddhist form of the Four Graces either in his initial reading of the canon of Buddhism or during his stay at Pongnae Cloister. One possible source could have been the Meditation on the Mind Ground Sutra, which specifically discusses the four types of obligation that every Buddhist practitioner should repay. This particular sutra is the very same one that Nichiren mentions by name in a letter written in 1262 to a Kudo Yoshitaka, the Lord of Amatsu in Awa Province. This letter is commonly referred to by the title The Four Debts of Gratitude.4 In the letter Nichiren writes: "The Shinjikan, Bommo and other sutras state that those who study Buddhism and receive the precepts of perfect and immediate enlightenment must repay the four debts of gratitude without fail."5 The Shinjikan Sutra that Nichiren mentions is the Japanese name for the Meditation on the Mind Ground Sutra. The other sutra that Nichiren mentions, the Bommo or Brahma Net Sutra, does not specifically name the Four Graces, though it does expound on very similar themes. As for the Meditation on the Mind Ground Sutra, one passage states:
Worldly and transcendent debts of gratitude are of four kinds. There is the debt of gratitude to one's father and mother. There is the debt of gratitude to all sentient beings. There is the debt of gratitude to the ruler of the country. [Finally] there is the debt of gratitude to the Three Treasures [Buddha, Dharma and Sangha].6

Nichiren and the Four Debts of Gratitude

Nichiren's definition and interpretation of the four debts of gratitude does, in fact, conform very closely to that found in the Meditation on the Mind Ground Sutra. Since the Four Debts of Gratitude letter specifically describes all four of these in detail, this letter will be examined in depth in order to come to an understanding of what Nichiren thought the four debts of gratitude were and what role he assigned to them in terms of the ideal Buddhist way of life.

Nichiren begins his discussion, oddly enough, by professing gratitude to the very people who were persecuting him. This included the current ruler of the country (who Nichiren regarded as the ruler is itself a complex issue which will be dealt with later on in this article) as well as the people who had conspired to have Nichiren exiled to the Izu peninsula in 1261. Nichiren felt that these people had provided him with the perfect circumstances whereby he could not only take faith in the Lotus Sutra, but even fulfill its prophecies by suffering persecution for its sake at the hands of unbelievers. "Thus those people who slandered me and the ruler [who had me banished] are the very persons to whom I owe the most profound debt of gratitude."7

Nichiren then goes on to describe each of the four debts of gratitude according to the Meditation on the Mind Ground Sutra in turn, beginning with the debt owed to all living beings.
According to the Shinjikan Sutra, the first of the four debts is that owed to all living beings. Were it not for them, one would find it impossible to make the vow to save innumerable living beings. Moreover, but for the evil people who persecute bodhisattvas, how could those bodhisattvas accumulate benefit?8
In this passage, Nichiren again states his gratitude to all those who have made it possible for him to live as a bodhisattva. One might even suppose from this passage that their value is solely instrumental in that they enable the bodhisattvas to fulfill their vows and accrue benefit by providing subjects for the bodhisattva's compassion and patience. This passage also does not mention any of the secular benefits provided by one's fellow beings. However, it must be remembered that the purpose of the four debts of gratitude is not to teach their intrinsic value or their secular benefits; rather, its purpose is to help the bodhisattva recall that even their bodhisattvahood would not be possible without the presence of others. The grace of all living beings, then, is not their secular or instrumental value, but rather, their contribution to the life of the bodhisattva in an interdependent process of mutual benefit and assistance. Just as with all other phenomena in Buddhism, the bodhisattva's existence depends upon causes and conditions, namely the existence of sentient beings in need of bodhisattvas. In terms of the bodhisattva in the process of expounding the Buddha's teachings or undergoing persecution for the sake of others, the proper attitude should always be one of gratitude to others who have made it possible for one to accomplish such acts and never one of condescension, frustration or anger. Nichiren himself states that his persecutions have filled him with immense joy but also intense grief, because while his suffering has enabled him to fulfill the prophecies of the Lotus Sutra, they have also brought about a situation whereby his persecutors have planted the seeds for even worse suffering for themselves. In this case, the teaching of the debt to all living beings has enabled Nichiren to be both grateful and compassionate to others, even to his enemies.

Nichiren then goes on to discuss the debt of gratitude to one's father and mother. "The second of the four debts is that owed to one's father and mother. To be born into the six paths one must have parents."9 The six paths refer to the six possible forms of rebirth in Buddhist cosmology, namely: as a sufferer in one of the many hells, a hungry ghost, an animal, a human being, an asura (a fighting demon), or a deva (an angelic or godlike being). Nichiren goes on to say that one shares the karma of one's parents, so that if one is born into a family of little virtue or a family that slanders the Dharma, then one will also share that kind of predisposition and the consequences that result from such conduct. Presumably, Nichiren is referring to the Buddhist idea that one is born into a family that will best suit one's own predisposition inherited from previous lifetimes. In any case, his point is that there is a strong karmic affinity between children and parents. Whether this affinity is deleterious or beneficial, the point is that one's parents have provided one with the precious gift of life and furthermore with the opportunity to work out one's own karma, for better or for worse. In his book, Ethics of Buddhism, Shundo Tachibana points out that the Meditation on the Mind Ground Sutra views the parent-child relationship as primary. In fact, the parent-child relationship even becomes the model for all the other relationships that come under the umbrella of the rest of the four debts of gratitude.

What the Buddha most emphasizes in this discourse is children's indebtedness to their parents, and what interests us in this connection is that the relations between a king and his subjects, a human being and his fellows, and the three holy objects and the Buddhists, are all likened to that of parent and child. In other words, the king looks upon his subjects, one man upon another, and the three holy objects upon the Buddhists, with fatherly or motherly loving eyes, while the latter upon the former with gratitude which children have to their parents for what they feel they owe to them. We may say therefore that the Buddhist love, wherever it may find itself, is always motherly or fatherly love, and the Buddhist gratitude is always the same which a dutiful child feels to his parents. The ideal of all relations in human society is thus allied to that of the relation between parent and child, which is natural and changeless, and which in the Buddhist ethics is regarded as the most important of all.10 Other sutras also use the parent-child relationship as a model for the ideal attitude that one should have in one's relationships with others. They do this for two reasons. The first is that it is assumed that the bond of affection between parents and their children is the most powerful, natural and selfless possible for the vast majority of human beings. The second reason is that in the context of the Buddhist teaching of rebirth, it is very likely that one has actually been in a parent-child relationship with any given sentient being at one time or another. In fact, the Brahma Net Sutra which Nichiren cites in his letter describes the outlook of the bodhisattvas in the following manner:

He takes all sentient beings to be his father, mother, brother, and sister, and for their sakes he voices the Dharma for as much time as is needed for them to realize the fruits of the Way. For the sake of all sentient beings he reveals all lands and looks upon each person as a father or mother would. Maras and non-Buddhists, as well, he looks upon as a father or mother would.11 Viewing things in this manner, one can see how the debt of gratitude to one's father and mother can easily include the debt to all living beings as well, since they can all be considered former or future parents. Naturally this exaltation of filial piety as the supreme basis for ethics in Buddhism comes very close to Confucianist teachings. Nichiren also makes this connection in his major work, the Kaimoku Sho, wherein he observes that filial piety is the most important value that unites Confucianism and Buddhism. This passage also shows how Nichiren considered loyalty to the ruler an extension of filial piety:
The 3,000 scrolls of Confucian writings can be boiled down to two: filial devotion and loyalty to the ruler. Loyalty also stems from filial devotion. To be filial means to be high; heaven is high but not at all higher than being filial. To be filial also means deep; the earth is deep but not any deeper than being filial. Both sages and wise men also come from filial devotion. How much more should students of Buddhism realize the favors they receive and repay them? Disciples of the Buddha should not fail to feel grateful for the Four Favors (received from parents, people, sovereign, and Buddhism) and repay them.

Moreover, such men of the Two Vehicles as Sariputra and Kasyapa kept 250 Buddhist Commandments, lived a life of dignity in accordance with 3,000 rules, progressively mastered the three steps of meditation, completely studied the Agon Sutras (Hinayana scriptures), and won liberty from all delusions and evil passions in the world of unenlightened people. They should be examples of people who know the Four Favors and repay them. In spite of all this, the Buddha condemned them for not realizing what they had owed. The reason for this is that it is for the purpose of saving parents that a man leaves his parent's house and takes a Buddhist vow, but those men of the Two Vehicles, who free themselves from delusions and evil passions, do not save others. Even if they help others to a certain degree, they are still to be blamed for not repaying what they owe their parents so long as their parents are left wandering on the path with no possibility whatsoever of obtaining Buddhahood.12
According to Nichiren, filial piety is the highest secular and religious value. Patriotism, loyalty and all other relationships are subsumed by it. Even within Buddhism itself, it separates the narrow-minded and self-concerned Hinayana from the broad-minded and compassionate Mahayana. In fact, even the value of the various Mahayana teachings can be gauged by the degree to which they enable one to help one's parents attain Buddhahood. As one of Nichiren's most important works, it is remarkable how much of the Kaimoku Sho is devoted to the question of how to practice true filial piety and repay the debt of gratitude to one's father and mother. This shows how important Nichiren himself considered this particular debt. Throughout all of his letters and treatises, Nichiren extols the Lotus Sutra as the highest teaching of Buddhism and the one that should be upheld at all costs. In the Kaimoku Sho, Nichiren explains why the Lotus Sutra is superior to all other Buddhist and non-Buddhist (Confucianism and Brahmanism) teachings in terms of its ability to allow one to repay the debt to one's father and mother:
Filial devotion preached in Confucianism is limited to this life. Confucian sages and wise men are such in name only because they do not help their parents in their future lives. Brahmans know of the past as well as the future, but they do not know how to help parents. Only Buddhism is worthy of being the way of sages and wise men, as it helps parents in future lives. However, both Mahayana and Hinayana sutras expounded before the Lotus Sutra preach Buddhahood in name only, without substance. Therefore the practitioners of such sutras would not be able to obtain Buddhahood even for themselves, not to talk about helping parents obtain Buddhahood. Now coming to the Lotus Sutra, when enlightenment of women was revealed, enlightenment of mothers was realized; and when a man as wicked as Devadatta could attain Buddhahood, enlightenment of fathers was realized. These are the two proclamations of the Buddha in the "Devadatta" chapter, and this is the reason why the Lotus Sutra is the sutra of the filial way among all the Buddhist scriptures.13
Nichiren is referring here to the instantaneous transformation of the Dragon King's daughter into a buddha (the only such "contemporary" attainment of buddhahood by anyone other than Shakyamuni Buddha in the sutras) and to the Buddha's prophecy of buddhahood for his treacherous cousin Devadatta in the "Devadatta" chapter of the Lotus Sutra. Since no other sutra provided such "guarantees" of buddhahood for all men and women, Nichiren felt that no other sutra could enable one to repay the debt of gratitude to one's parents. With the teaching of the Lotus Sutra, however, one could enable one's mother and father to realize buddhahood for themselves, thus repaying one's obligation to them.

The debt of gratitude to the sovereign is the next one that Nichiren discusses. He says: The third is the debt owed to one's sovereign. It is thanks to one's sovereign that one is able to warm his body in the three kinds of heavenly light and sustain his life with the five kinds of grain that grow on earth. Moreover, in this lifetime, I have been able to take faith in the Lotus Sutra and to encounter a ruler who will enable me to free myself in my present existence from the sufferings of birth and death. Thus how can I dwell on the insignificant harm that he has done to me and overlook my debt to him?14 As mentioned above, the ruler or sovereign can be seen as a benevolent parent who guides society as though it were an extended family. Nichiren also points out the role of the sovereign as the embodiment of the nation, for without the ruler providing stability and order, no one would be able to enjoy the heavenly and earthly blessings which sustain life. This idea was common to many pre-modern cultures throughout the world, and the link between the virtue of the rulers and the welfare of the country even appears in Buddhist sutras such as the Sutra of the Golden Light, which Nichiren employed when stating his case to the bakufu (the military government in Kamakura) in the Rissho Ankoku Ron. The primary responsibility of the ruler, according to Nichiren, is to protect and nurture the Buddha Dharma, thereby safeguarding the nation. According to this view, one owes a debt of gratitude to the legitimate ruler who upholds the correct principles of Buddhism, governs according to those principles, and in doing so provides for the welfare of all.

This debt of gratitude, however, put Nichiren in a particularly difficult situation. One problem involved the very identity of the legitimate ruler. In 13th century Japan the lines of power and authority had become very confusing. In his book St. Nichiren, J.A. Christensen described the situation as follows: "The supposed head of the government was the Emperor in Kyoto; but his authority was delegated to the retired Emperor who, in turn, delegated authority to the Shogun in Kamakura. And the Shogun, himself, was ruled by a Hojo Regent."15 This situation was further complicated by the fact that during the period of Nichiren's exile to Izu, the de facto ruler of Japan was not even the regent but Hojo Tokiyori, the retired regent and head of the Hojo clan itself to whom Nichiren had sent the Rissho Ankoku Ron in his first attempt to convert the ruler to the Lotus Sutra. It would seem, then, that Nichiren knew very well who the real ruler was even though he was not at all happy about it. As far as Nichiren was concerned, the confusion in the political arena was a result of the confusion in the spiritual realm. According to Nichiren and the Tendai patriarchs Chih-i and Dengyo, the Lotus Sutra was the legitimate king of all the sutras. However, the focus of Japanese Buddhism had drifted away from the Lotus Sutra, so in turn the legitimate political rulers were overthrown as the result of their betrayal of the true authority of the Lotus Sutra within the sphere of religion. Nichiren states this belief in the Letter to Misawa:
The retired eighty-second emperor, Gotoba, was robbed of his power by the Kamakura government despite Bodhisattva Hachiman's oath to protect one hundred successive rulers. This misfortune was solely the result of the prayers offered by eminent priests who followed the three Shingon priests - Kobo and the others - on behalf of the imperial court. These evil prayers "returned to the originators."16
Nichiren clearly saw that while the legitimate ruler, the emperor, was still regarded as the ruler of the country, he was so in name only. The failed bid for real power and subsequent exile of Gotoba in 1221 proved beyond a doubt that the emperors were at the mercy of the military government. Faced with this, Nichiren seems to have been willing to recognize the ruler as whoever was actually holding the reigns of power. This did not resolve the dilemma however, for the new rulers were not governing according to the principles of the Lotus Sutra either, so they too forfeited the right to be regarded as the protectors of the nation. Again in the Letter to Misawa he states:
Because the Kamakura shogunate attacked the evil doctrine of Shingon and its evil men, it might have ruled our land for eighteen generations more, in accordance with the oath of Bodhisattva Hachiman. However, it has now turned to the men of the same evil doctrine it once opposed. Therefore, as Japan no longer has a ruler worthy of protection, Bonten, Taishaku, the gods of the sun and the moon and the Four Heavenly Kings have replied to this slander by ordering a foreign country to invade Japan. They have also dispatched the votary of the Lotus Sutra as their envoy. The ruler, however, does not heed his warnings. On the contrary, he sides with the evil priests, thus creating chaos in both religious and secular realms. As a result, he has become a formidable enemy of the Lotus Sutra. And as his slander has long continued, this country is on the verge of ruin.17
The reference to the invasion by a foreign country refers to the threat of the Mongols who had attacked in 1274 and were still threatening to send an invasion force. The votary of the Lotus Sutra is a reference to Nichiren himself. So, it would seem that both the legitimate and the actual rulers were in Nichiren's view leading the country to destruction rather than maintaining peace and prosperity. In this case, Nichiren took heart in the fact that he was nevertheless able to take faith in the Lotus Sutra and live by its teachings. In fact, as stated above, Nichiren was not only willing to forgive the rulers for persecuting him, but he was even grateful for their role (albeit a negative one) in helping him to fulfill the prophecies in the Lotus Sutra and thereby fulfill his mission as a votary of the sutra.

Now, we come to the last of the four debts of gratitude. Nichiren says: "The fourth is the debt owed to the Three Treasures."18 The Three Treasures are also known as the Three Refuges that all Buddhists take when they decide to follow the Buddha Dharma. These Three Treasures are the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. Nichiren goes on to explain the many benefits that Shakyamuni Buddha has bestowed upon all people, and how his Buddhahood derives from the Dharma, and finally how the Sangha keeps the treasures of the Buddha and Dharma available for all people.19 We have already seen how Nichiren considered filial piety to be the moral imperative that subsumed the obligations to one's ruler and all sentient beings as well as to one's parents; now, however, we shall see how Nichiren regarded the debt of gratitude to the Three Treasures as an even more fundamental source of grace as well as the only means whereby the other debts of gratitude could be repayed. In his letter The Tripitika Master Shan-Wu-Wei, Nichiren describes Shakyamuni Buddha as the supreme sovereign, parent and teacher to the people of this world.
Shakyamuni Buddha, our father and mother, who is endowed with the three virtues of sovereign, teacher and parent, is the very one who encourages us, the people driven out by all other Buddhas, saying "I alone can save them." The debt of gratitude we owe him is deeper than the ocean, weightier than the earth, vaster than the sky... we could never repay a fraction of the debt we owe to this Buddha!"20
In line with traditional Mahayana Buddhist thought, Nichiren regarded Shakyamuni Buddha as possessing the qualities of mastery, teaching authority and parental benevolence and compassion. In fact, while one's biological parents are able to bring one into the world of birth-and-death, Shakyamuni Buddha is able to cause one to awaken to the birthless and deathless liberation of nirvana. In this sense, Shakyamuni Buddha can be regarded as the supreme benevolent parent from whom all beings are able to inherit complete and perfect Buddhahood.

According to Buddhism, true happiness can only be attained through the peace of nirvana, so it would seem that the only way to repay the obligations of filial piety from the Buddhist point of view is to leave all secular concerns behind and to strictly follow the way of the Buddha. In the ordinary course of things, one repays one's debts to one's sovereign, teachers and parents directly through loyalty and obedience. However, even in secular matters, if one's family, nation or companions are set on a destructive course of action, the best thing to do is to advise them against such a course and even to resist them rather than going along with their plans in the name of loyalty and obedience. As Nichiren advises. "If you understand what it means to be loyal, you will admonish your sovereign, and if you want to be filial, you must speak up!"21 From the Buddhist point of view, the Buddha himself is the true parent, teacher and sovereign since it is he who discovers, embodies and then teaches the Dharma which is the true source of benefit for all sentient beings. So, the best way to fulfill one's obligations and demonstrate true filial piety is to renounce one's secular parents, teachers and sovereign and to follow the Buddha Dharma for the sake of the very debts of gratitude that one is reneging on within the temporal sphere. This, in fact, is exactly what Nichiren advises in his Letter to the Brothers, wherein he cites the example of Shakyamuni Buddha himself as well as a statement attributed to the Meditation on the Mind Ground Sutra to support his position:
When Shakyamuni Buddha was a prince, his father, King Suddhodana, could not bear losing his only heir and therefore would not allow him to renounce his royal station. The king kept two thousand soldiers posted at the city's four gates to prevent him from leaving. Nevertheless, the prince eventually left the palace against his father's will. In general, it is the son's duty to obey his parents, yet on the path to Buddhahood, not following one's parents may ultimately bring them good fortune. The Shinjikan Sutra explains the essence of filial piety as follows: "By renouncing one's obligations and entering nirvana one can truly repay those obligations in full." That is, in order to enter the true way, one leaves his home against his parents' wishes and attains Buddhahood. Then he can truly repay his debt of gratitude to them.22
The picture of the four debts of gratitude that emerges in Nichiren's teachings should now be clear. According to Nichiren, the four debts of gratitude are actually different modes of filial piety. In the secular realm, one's biological parents are the most natural and immediate sources of filial obligation, all living beings (especially one's teachers) are viewed as part of an extended family, while the ruler is viewed as the parent of the country as a whole. In the transcendental realm, however, the Buddha takes on all of these roles and so becomes a supramundane source of filial obligation. Furthermore, devotion to the Three Treasures are shown to be the only means of fulfilling the other forms of obligation because only they can bring about true happiness and liberation from suffering. It becomes evident that Nichiren uses the four debts of gratitude in two ways. The first is to clarify the proper motivation for the practice of Buddhism, namely a very universalized sense of filial piety. Secondly, Nichiren uses the four debts of gratitude to show that secular values only find their fulfillment when they are subordinated to transcendent values, symbolized by the Three Treasures. In Nichiren's own life, this meant devoting himself to the propagation of the Lotus Sutra in the face of all opposition, so that all people could awaken to their own Buddhahood and transform this world into the Buddhaland.

Sot'aesan and the Four Graces

Sot'aesan Taejongsa's understanding and use of the Four Graces was very different. Whereas Nichiren's main concern was primarily ideological (namely the promotion of the Lotus Sutra as the true teaching of Shakyamuni Buddha), Sot'aesan's main concern was to provide a practical way for the people of his day to utilize Buddhist principles. To this end, Sot'aesan utilized the teaching of the Four Graces as one of the major principles with which he intended to reform Korean Buddhism, since they were a concrete way of showing how to "change a life based on resentment into a life based on gratitude."23 In the Canon he sets out Four General Principles. "The Four General Principles are: Right Enlightenment and Right Conduct, Awareness of Graces and Requital of Graces, Practical Utilization of Buddhism, and Selfless Service to the Public."24 Each of these General Principles are very interesting in their own right, but it is only the principle of Awareness of Graces and Requital of Graces which is of concern here. Sot'aesan specifies what he means by this as follows:
By awareness of Graces and Requital of Graces is meant that one should be aware of, and feel deeply, the way in which one is indebted to Graces of Heaven and Earth, Parents, Brethren and Laws; when following the way of being indebted, one is to requite these Graces. Even if one is confronted with a case in which one is forced to bear a grudge, one is to find a source of Grace and, by changing resentment to gratitude, one may be able to requite Graces.25
In his system, the Four Graces also served to bring the abstract notion of the Dharmakaya Buddha (which is called IIrwon or Unitary Circle in Won Buddhism) and the teaching of dependent origination back into the realm of the concrete, the practical and the ethical. In a discourse to his disciples, Sot'aesan says:
The way is to believe in the Truth of Won as our object of faith and to pray for all blessedness and happiness from the Truth. Il-Won-Sang is composed of the Four Graces, and the Four Graces comprise all beings in the universe. All things that we see in the universe are nothing but Buddhas. Therefore, at all times and in all places we must be very respectful and cautious toward all things, keeping a pure mind and a pious manner as if we were before the real Buddha. You are also to try to practice Offering Worship to Buddha directly in all things with which you are involved, thereby creating blessedness and happiness in your real life. In a word, this is the way to turn a partial faith into a perfect one, and a superstitious belief into an actual one.26
In Sot'aesan's teaching, the Four Graces have become the manifest embodiments of the Dharmakaya Buddha. What was once an abstract personification of Emptiness, is now made up of the various entities of the Four Graces who exemplify the interdependent nature of life itself. Now, instead of paying homage to a mere statue or mandala representation of the Buddha, Won Buddhists are encouraged to view all of their daily activities in the world as interactions with the actual Dharmakaya Buddha whose body is the dependently arising nature of life itself.

Unlike the four debts of gratitude, the Four Graces do not teach one to renounce the world, instead they suggest a more appreciative and even reverential relationship to the world. Both, however, seem to be rooted in filial piety. Bongkil Chung, in summarizing the teaching of the Four Graces (which he has renamed the four beneficences or sources of life), points out the Confucian nature of the Four Graces as follows:
One of the most salient features of Sot'aesan's new religion is the tenet of beneficence. In Confucianism, filial piety is the most important moral duty. In Won Buddhism, the idea of this Confucian moral duty has been extended beyond one's own parents. By beneficence is meant that which is the source of one's life.27
As for the actual composition of the Four Graces, though they may have originally been inspired by the four debts of gratitude, there is not a one-for-one correspondence with the four debts of gratitude. Sot'aesan's explanations of them are also far more detailed than anything found in Nichiren's writings in regard to the four debts. A more detailed analysis of some features of the Four Graces will reveal the possible reasons for the differences.

The first of the Four Graces is the Grace of Heaven and Earth. According to Sot'aesan:
If one wishes to know how much one is favored by Heaven and Earth, then one has only to reflect on whether one can have one's being without Heaven and Earth. However stupid and slow-witted one may be, one soon realizes that life without Heaven and Earth is an impossibility. Therefore, if that is so, what greater Grace can one know than that of Heaven and Earth?

It is a general truth that there are ways and virtues in Heaven and Earth; that the automatic motion of the great organs of the universe, is the way of Heaven and Earth; that the results from the operations of their ways are virtues of Heaven and Earth. The ways of Heaven and Earth are extremely bright, sincere, righteous, proper and natural, vast and immeasurable and eternal, containing neither good luck nor bad, and no pride abides in their offering of benefits. All things retain their lives and their shapes owing to the great virtue that results from their operations of the great ways.28
The need for air to breathe, earth to walk on, water to drink and sunlight to warm ourselves makes this Grace pretty obvious. Sot'aesan also points out various qualities of Heaven and Earth which can serve as metaphors for a virtuous and enlightened way of life. In his view, Heaven and Earth can inspire us to become wise, wholehearted, righteous, authentic, impartial, peaceful, responsible and humble. Requital of the Grace of Heaven and Earth consists of modeling one's life on these qualities and benefiting from their cultivation, whereas ingratitude and ignorance of these qualities will result in a self-destructive way of living due to one's lack of cultivation. In terms of the Grace of Heaven and Earth, virtue modeled on the workings of Heaven and Earth is its own reward.

Now, the Grace of Heaven and Earth is not explicitly a part of the four debts of gratitude that Nichiren speaks of based on the Meditation on the Mind Ground Sutra; however, it could be seen as the implicit meaning of the debt of gratitude to the sovereign. Reexamining Nichiren's definition of the debt of gratitude to the sovereign shows that the Grace of Heaven and Earth are mentioned as one of the benefits of the sovereign's benign rule: "It is thanks to one's sovereign that one is able to warm his body in the three kinds of heavenly light and sustain his life with the five kinds of grain that grow on earth."29 It has been pointed out by Dr. Key Ray Chong and by Dr. Bongkil Chung that the Grace of Heaven and Earth was most likely borrowed from Confucian and Neo-Confucianist teachings.30 However, it seems just as likely that the source could also have been the same Buddhist four debts of gratitude found in the Meditation on the Mind Ground Sutra that Nichiren used.31 All Sot'aesan would have had to do was to shift the meaning of the debt of gratitude to the sovereign to its implicit meaning, the benefits of Heaven and Earth.

Assuming for a moment that Sot'aesan was inspired by the Buddhist four debts of gratitude, what would he have gained by shifting the meaning to the Grace of Heaven and Earth? The most obvious benefit was the avoidance of the whole question of the rightful sovereign. Just as Nichiren was faced with the question of the legitimacy of the Japanese military dictators who had taken power from the emperors, Sot'aesan taught during the Japanese occupation and annexation of Korea. Neither Nichiren nor Sot'aesan could endorse the reigning authorities in good conscience. In Nichiren's case, he avoided the question of the legitimacy of the rulers and spoke of their persecutions and injustices as negative way of fulfilling the teachings of the Lotus Sutra. One could perhaps call Nichiren's approach a back-handed acknowledgement. Sot'aesan simply dropped the issue of the sovereign altogether, since the legitimate rulers of Korea had been deposed and the Japanese imperialists could not be endorsed or defied by Sot'aesan without making him either a collaborator or a resistance leader rather than a Buddhist reformer. He did, however, discuss benefits of political and judicial stability under the Grace of Law, which will be discussed below. However, even the Grace of Law does not discuss the sources or nature of authority. By dropping any reference to the sovereign and adopting Heaven and Earth as one of the Four Graces, Sot'aesan was able to steer the middle course which would allow him and his reform movement to survive in such a hostile political environment.

The second of the Four Graces is the Grace of Parents. Sot'aesan describes the Grace of Parents as follows:
If one wants to know easily how much one is indebted to the Grace of Parents, one should try to imagine whether birth is possible without parents, and whether one could manage one's own helpless infancy; one will recognize that one cannot. If one cannot be born or develop without parents, what Grace could be greater?

One might say that human birth and death are the principle of nature, and the infinite capacity of Heaven and Earth; however, it is by indebtedness to the Grace of Parents that helpless life is nurtured and learns the way to live.32
Whereas the Grace of Heaven and Earth discusses the impersonal forces of nature which give us life, the Grace of Heaven and Earth moves into the biological sphere of nurturing and care taking. It would seem that Sot'aesan also viewed the primary relationship of children and parents as the basis for human morality. In describing the ways to requite the Grace of Parents, Sot'aesan taught that one should train oneself according to the various methods and systems that he developed for the cultivation of a happy and moral way of life. The Threefold Training of Prajna, Sila, and Samadhi of traditional Buddhism are also included with those items; so once again, filial piety has become the motive for following the Buddha Dharma.

The important difference from traditional Buddhism, however, is that in Won Buddhism one is not expected to defy the traditional Confucian understanding of filial piety by leaving home to seek nirvana. Instead, one is also expected to take care of one's parents when they can no longer support themselves, and even to take care of others who are unable to take care of themselves. Finally, one is to enshrine one's parents after they have passed away and hold regular memorial services for them. By setting such a good example of filial piety, Sot'aesan taught that one's own children will naturally follow the example set and that one will gain the respect and care of others as well. What Sot'aesan appears to have done here is to wed the Confucian ideal of filial piety to the Buddhist ideal of seeking nirvana and having compassion for others, even those outside the family circle.

One thing that Sot'aesan does not do, however, is speak of the rest of the Four Graces as extensions of filial piety. In fact, he even seems to suggest that the Grace of Parents could be considered an extension of the Grace of Heaven and Earth. However, as we mentioned in the beginning, the two are differentiated by the fact that Heaven and Earth represents the impersonal forces of nature whereas the Grace of Parents is inherently personal or at least biological. So, in this sense, Sot'aesan's teachings depart from Confucianism by not subordinating all other values to the value of filial piety. By making the Grace of Parents just one among four equal graces that allow one to live, Sot'aesan manages to stay closer to the Buddhist principle of interdependence, wherein life is the result of a multitude of causes and conditions which mutually give rise to one another.

The third of the Four Graces is the Grace of Brethren. According to Sot'aesan, the Grace of Brethren means the following:
If one wants to know easily how one is indebted to the Grace of Brethren, one should consider whether it is possible to live at a place where there are no human beings, no birds and beasts, no trees or grass; then one will realize that life without them is impossible. If one cannot live without the help of these brethren, without relying upon them and without their supplies, what Grace could be greater?

Generally, there are in the world four categories of occupations among the living, i.e., scholars and officials, farmers, artisans and merchants. These people are helped by, or are indebted to one another by the principle of mutual interest when they exchange all of their goods and skills, while remaining in their respective categories.33
The Grace of Brethren is equivalent to the debt of gratitude to all living beings, however there is a difference. Sot'aesan does not even elude to the existence of others as a necessary condition for the existence of bodhisattvas. In fact, his discussion of the Grace of Brethren remains totally within the realm of the everyday world of ecology and economics. Though Sot'aesan describes the world in terms of the Confucian analysis of society, his main concern is that everyone appreciate the mutual benefit that is brought about when everyone within a society performs their own duty well and simultaneously appreciates the work done by others. This principle of mutual benefit translates well into any given society. Furthermore, Sot'aesan does not restrict the Grace of Brethren to human society alone, for he explicitly includes animals and plants as well. It would seem then, that Sot'aesan was not concerned with the bodhisattva's mission of saving others, so much as in pointing out the mutual indebtedness of living beings as the economic and ecological realization of the Buddhist teachings of interdependence.

Another difference from Nichiren's teaching, is that Sot'aesan taught that the failure to know and requite the Grace of Brethren would result in the very same disasters that Nichiren taught would result from slandering the Dharma. Nichiren's Rissho Ankoku Ron, for instance, was his attempt to convince the military dictatorship that if they did not support the True Dharma, Japan would inevitably face the disasters of civil war and invasion from foreign forces. Sot'aesan, on the other hand, taught that these disasters would be the result of injustice and oppression. "If the people of the whole world, however, do not requite the Grace of Brethren, falling into the tormenting seas of life owing to the mischief of ingratitude, the sages and saints with compassionate means will save the ungrateful beings by means of morality, politics or force."34 This may not actually be a contradiction between the teachings of Sot'aesan and Nichiren, however, since the whole point of the upholding the Lotus Sutra is to allow people to have faith in the buddhahood of all beings. Nichiren once wrote, "Since the Law is supreme, the Person is worthy of respect; since the Person is worthy of respect, the Land is sacred."35 So for Nichiren, upholding the Lotus Sutra had everything to do with affirming the dignity of life, and the refusal to affirm that dignity would result in disaster. For Sot'aesan, his appeal was to the mutual benefits that all living beings bring to one another, mutual benefits which, in fact, make life possible. Despite the seeming contradiction, it would appear that both Nichiren and Sot'aesan recognized, in their own ways, that the refusal to recognize the true dignity of all living beings is a recipe for disaster.

The fourth of the Four Graces is the Grace of the Law. Sot'aesan describes it as follows:
If one tries to know easily how much one is indebted to the law, one must think whether it is possible to live in peace and order without the law of moral training for the individual, the law of household affairs, the law with which to govern a society or a nation and international law with which to govern the world. One will recognize without fail that no one can live without these laws. If one cannot live without them, what Grace could be greater than these laws? Generally, the law means equitable rule for human justice by which individuals, families, societies, nations and the world, will be helped if this equitable rule for human justice is applied to them.36
Sot'aesan's Grace of Law is very different from the debt of gratitude to the Three Treasures. The only link between the two is that one of the Three Treasures is the Law (Dharma) and one of the many connotations of the Grace of Law is the moral or spiritual Law (which again would indicate the Dharma). Now, it could be said that of the Three Treasures, it is the treasure of the Law or Dharma which is the most fundamental, since the Buddha is a Buddha only by virtue of realizing and teaching the Dharma and the Sangha is such only insofar as it transmits the Dharma. The Dharma, however, remains the Dharma even if there is no Buddha or Sangha to teach or practice it. Furthermore, the Dharma as taught in the Buddhist sutras do contain teachings that relate to economics, politics, social conditions and family life. Viewed in this way, the debt of gratitude to the Three Treasures could be reduced to the debt of gratitude to the Dharma alone and could be interpreted as including the other categories of law that Sot'aesan discusses under the Grace of Law.

A closer examination of the Grace of Law, however, reveals that Sot'aesan's conception of Law is inclusive of the Buddha Dharma but is not restricted to it. Under the Items of Indebtedness to the Grace of Law for instance, Sot'aesan says, "Sages come to the world at the right times, and by means of religions and morality they teach human beings to follow the right path."37 Sot'aesan's Grace of Law, therefore, does not simply indicate the Buddha Dharma. It could also take in the Tao of Taoism, the Mandate of Heaven of Confucianism, the Torah of Judaism, the Gospel of Christianity and the Dharma of the Vedas. In addition, there is no indication that the secular applications of the Grace of Law are necessarily derived from any traditional Buddhist teaching. The Grace of Law, then, is not the same as the Dharma of the Three Treasures; rather, it is the principle of "equitable rule for human justice" that is presumably at the heart of all moral systems and secular jurisprudence.

Examining the Four Graces as a whole, one can see that on the one hand they do have a passing resemblance to the four debts of gratitude found in the Meditation on the Mind Ground Sutra as expounded by Nichiren. On the other hand, there are some major differences. As noted above, the debt of gratitude to the sovereign was dropped in favor of the Grace of Heaven and Earth. In earlier times the sovereign was viewed as the protector of the land and the preserver of justice, the very embodiment of harmony in the natural and human spheres. This pre-modern conception of the role of the sovereign is superseded by the Grace of Heaven and Earth and the Grace of Law. The Grace of Heaven and Earth teaches awareness and gratitude to the harmony of the natural world without reference to the power of the sovereign. The Grace of Law teaches awareness and gratitude to the ideal of equity and justice in human affairs, again without endorsing or criticizing any specific ruler or political system. Another important change is the replacement of the debt of gratitude to the Three Treasures with the Grace of Law. This change would seem to be an attempt to broaden the scope of the Law to include more than just the practice of one specific religion, namely Buddhism. The Grace of the Law as Sot'aesan teaches it, is not simply a call to practice or revere the Buddha Dharma but a call to practice equity and justice in the secular world as well as in the sphere of religion. The Grace of Parents and the Grace of Brethren would seem to be equivalent to the debt of gratitude to one's father and mother and to the debt of gratitude to all living beings. Here again, though, the meaning is expanded to include the secular and practical aspects of these debts as well as to the specifically Buddhist meaning.

The Four Graces: Immanent or Transcendent?

Though the Four Graces have been a part of Mahayana Buddhism since at least the 8th century when the Meditation on the Mind Ground Sutra appeared in a Chinese translation due to the efforts of the Indian monk Prajna, it has always held a very marginal position at best. Only Nichiren and Sot'aesan seem to have used it to any great extent in their teachings. Even then, their separate uses of the Four Graces were vastly different and one wonders if either of them utilized the Four Graces in a manner that could be considered consistent with the Meditation on the Mind Ground Sutra.

In Nichiren's case, the four debts of gratitude were adopted to Nichiren's Confucianist sensibilities when he taught that all the four debts of gratitude amounted to an explanation of filial piety. He then showed that it was Shakyamuni Buddha who actually perfectly embodied the three virtues of parent, teacher and sovereign. So in the end, filial piety is only fulfilled through perfect devotion to the Buddha. Furthermore, the three mundane debts of gratitude (all living beings, parents and sovereign) can only be repayed by following the transcendental debt of gratitude, the Three Treasures, so that all beings can become enlightened. According to Nichiren, this debt can only be appreciated and then repaid by following the true and final teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha as contained in the Lotus Sutra. In Nichiren's teaching, therefore, the four debts of gratitude are used to make one aware of one's obligation to practice filial piety by following the Lotus Sutra. This might even mean that one must temporarily renounce one's superficial worldly responsibilities and loyalties in order to follow the Dharma. In this understanding, one renounces the world and practices Buddhism in order to repay the four debts of gratitude.

Sot'aesan also adapted the Four Graces to a Confucianist ethic. While he did not use the Four Graces as simply a Buddhist version of mundane and transcendental filial piety, he did use them as a way to demonstrate that life is composed of an interrelated network of mutual benefit and obligation. In his teaching, the Four Graces are used to teach such traditional and practical Confucianist values as filial piety, sincerity, benevolence, fairness and justice among others. Sot'aesan was not interested in using the Four Graces as a motivation for renouncing the world in order to seek the transcendental benefit of liberation for all beings. His concern was to reestablish a practical system of ethics for bodhisattvas working within this world. In fact, he went even further and taught that the Four Graces are the worldly manifestations of the Dharmakaya Buddha, which he termed Ir Won Sang. In this understanding, the practical requital of the Four Graces in this world is the correct way to practice Buddhism.

The approaches of Sot'aesan and Nichiren to the teaching of the Four Graces could not be more different. Sot'aesan's version is almost pantheistic in that he uses the Four Graces to teach the immanence of the Buddha. In fact, one of the mottoes that Sot'aesan coined for his movement was, "All are incarnations of Truth-Buddha, do each thing as an offering of worship to the Buddha." Nichiren, on the other hand, used the four debts of gratitude to demonstrate that one's worldly obligations are so great that they can not be repayed within the limitations of mundane activities. Nichiren rejected the world in order to raise it to a higher level through faithfulness to the Lotus Sutra rather than through the mundane dictates of filial piety.

It should be remembered, however, that Nichiren and Sot'aesan were each faced with very different challenges in terms of reforming Buddhism. Sot'aesan was faced with a culture that had marginalized Buddhism for hundreds of years. The Buddhist institutions of early 20th century Korea has long ago been driven out of the lives of the people and into the mountain monasteries. Furthermore, the challenges of modern industrialism and imperialism made it seem even more unlikely that Buddhism could offer anything relevant to the struggles of the Korean people. Sot'aesan, therefore, had to find a way to simplify the Buddhist teachings and relate them directly to the everyday lives of the people. His modified version of the Four Graces was perfect in this respect. It was a graphic way of teaching dependent origination and at the same time it layed out a practical way of demonstrating one's faith in the Buddha through one's daily interactions.

Nichiren, however, lived in a culture that was permeated by the teachings of Buddhism as well as by the more worldly teachings of Confucianism. As far as Nichiren was concerned, the problem was not a lack of morality or a neglect of Buddhism. Instead, it was the lack of focus and coherence within the Buddhist teachings themselves that was the problem. As Nichiren noted in the Rissho Ankoku Ron, "I hate to see them confuse right and wrong, trying to seek refuge in Buddhism in the wrong way."38 Nichiren's crusade to persuade the people of Japan that the Lotus Sutra was the proper focus of the Buddha Dharma was not a welcome one, and in a society that prized conformity and harmonization Nichiren's uncompromising attitude was viewed as unseemly and even bizarre. In order to justify his recalcitrance to both his own followers and to those who opposed him, Nichiren utilized the four debts of gratitude in order to show that some values transcend worldly obligations, loyalties and harmony.

It could be asked whether the uses to which Sot'aesan and Nichiren put the Four Graces were in keeping with traditional Buddha Dharma. It is evident that both of them found it necessary to use the Four Graces as a bridge with which to connect their unique visions of Buddhist reform with the Confucianist societies in which they lived. That, however, does not take away from their accomplishments. Even Shakyamuni Buddha affirmed the healthy values of Vedic society throughout the sutras. In fact, even the conflicting values of renunciation and practical ethics can both be found within the Buddhist sutras themselves; so it would seem that both Sot'aesan and Nichiren could claim legitimacy for the ways in which they used the Four Graces to justify their positions in regard to the demands of society. In the end, it would appear that something could be learned from both approaches. Modern Buddhists may well wish to consider the value of the Four Graces in light of Nichiren's recognition of transcendental priorities and Sot'aesan's awareness of mutual obligations within daily life. Notes:

1. Charles S. Prebish, Buddhism: A Modern Perspective. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press. 1978. pp. 213-215.
2. Japanese-English: A Phrase a Day. Tokyo, Japan: Nichiren Shu Overseas Propagation Promotion Association. 1986. p. 100.
3. The Scripture of Won Buddhism tr. by Pal-kyn Chon. Iksan, Korea: Won Buddhist Publishing Co. 1988. p. 81.
4. This letter is also known as "The Exile to Izu" according to Appendix 3 of the Letters of Nichiren, ed. by Philip B. Yampolsky (New York: Columbia University Press. 1996). I would like to point out here, that while the Columbia Press translations constitute the only English translations currently available of many of Nichiren's letters, they are not translations from Nichiren's original works but from modern Japanese translations of those originals. There has also been no attempt to verify the accuracy of these translation with the extent originals.
5. Ibid. p. 112.
6. Hsin-ti-kuan-ching Taisho shinshu daizokyo no. 159 Chuan 2, p. 297, tr. by Michael and Yumi McCormick.
7. Yampolsky, p.110.
8. Ibid, p. 110.
9. Ibid, p. 110.
10. Shundo Tachibana, Ethics of Buddhism. Willshire, Great Britain: Curzon Press Ltd. 1994. pp. 235-236.
11. Buddhist Writings on Meditation and Daily Practice: The Serene Reflective Meditation Tradition, ed. by Rev. Master P.T.N.H. Jiyu-Kennett, M.O.B.C.. Mount Shasta, California: Shasta Abbey. 1994. p. 115.
12. Kaimoku Sho, tr. by Kyotsu Hori. Tokyo Japan: Nichiren Shu Overseas Propagation Promotion Association. 1987. p. 40 & 41. Note that in this passage the characters are translated as Four Flavors.
13. Ibid, p. 238.
14. Yampolsky, p. 110.
15. J.A. Christensen, St. Nichiren. Tokyo, Japan: Giro Shiota. 1981. p. 12.
16. Yampolsky, pp. 469-470.
17. Ibid, p. 470.
18. Ibid, p. 110.
19. Ibid, p. 111.
20. Ibid, p. 126.
21. Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin Volume 5, ed. & tr. by Gosho Translation Committee. Tokyo, Japan: Nichiren Shoshu International Center. 1988. p. 99.
22. Yampolsky, p. 234.
23. The Scripture of Won Buddhism, p. 37.
24. Ibid, pp. 34-35.
25. Ibid, p. 35.
26. Ibid, pp. 100-101.
27. Bongkil Chung, An Introduction to Won Buddhism. Iri, Korea: Won Buddhist Press. 1994. p. 9.
28. The Scripture of Won Buddhism, pp. 8-9.
29. Yampolsky, p. 110.
30. Key Ray Ch­ng. "The Meaning and Source of Won Buddhism," Won Buddhist Studies Volume 1. 1986. pp. 70-72. Also, Bongkil Chung, "Beneficence as the Moral Foundation in Won Buddhism," a paper to have been presented at the 9th International Congress in Chinese Philosophy, August 4-8, 1995.
31. The traditional Buddhist sources for the Four Graces are also mentioned in Bongkil Chung's article.
32. The Scripture of Won Buddhism, pp. 12-13.
33. Ibid, p. 15.
34. Ibid, p. 17.
35. Yampolsky, p. 503.
36. The Scripture of Won Buddhism, p. 18.
37. Ibid, pp. 18-19.
38. Rissho Ankoku Ron, tr. by Kyotsu Hori. Tokyo, Japan: Nichiren Shu Overseas Propagation Promotion Association. 1992. p. 116.

© The Institute of Won Buddhist Studies. 1997.
Written by [now Rev.] Ryuei Michael McCormick.
Used with the permission of Rev. Bokin Kim, Editor.

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