Il-Won-Sang (O) is the circular symbol of the Dharmakaya Buddha and the Buddha Nature of all beings. In Won Buddhism, the image of the human Buddha is replaced by Il-Won-Sang (O) which represents the perfect nature of the Buddha’s heart and mind that is not different from our original nature.
“A Buddha image manifests the physical form of the Buddha, but Il-Won-Sang manifests the mind-essence of the Buddha.” Master Sotaesan
Kwangjon asked, “What is the relationship between Il-Won-Sang and human beings?” The Founding Master answered, "You have asked about a great truth. In our order, we enshrine Il-Won-Sang in the same way that Buddhists in the past have enshrined Buddha images. However, a Buddha image manifests the physical form of the Buddha, but Il-Won-Snag manifests the mind-essence of the Buddha. The physical form represents only his human form, but the mind-essence is vast and infinite, combining being and nonbeing and sustaining itself through the three times periods of past, present, and future. Hence, it is the original source of the myriad things in heaven and earth and the realm of Samadhi beyond all words and speech. Confucianism calls it the grand ultimate or the ultimate of nonbeing; Daoism calls it nature or the Way; Buddhism calls it the pure Dharmakaya Buddha. In principle, however, all of these are different expressions for the same thing." From The Scriptures of Won Buddhism
The Fourfold Grace
Grace, in Won Buddhism, is a core expression of the interdependency and interconnectedness of all. It was expressed by Master Sotaesan based on his own awakening to the truth that nothing can exist without being interrelated with others. In this sense of the term “Grace”, one is indebted to the fourfold grace: The Grace of Heaven and Earth, parents, all living beings and dharma.
In Won Buddhism, we see the world from the perspectives of Grace which implies “co-existence” “interdependence” and “oneness”.
“If we wish most easily to understand the grace we have received from heaven and earth, parents, all living beings, and Dharma, we first must consider whether we could sustain our existence and live without them. Then, even the most stupid or ignorant among us would acknowledge that we could not live without them. If there is a relationship where in we cannot live without the other, then where would there be a grace greater than that?” Master Sotaesan
“If we were to specify the content of Il-Won-Sang, it is in fact the fourfold grace; if we were to specify the content of the fourfold grace, it is in face all things in the universe; and there is nothing among the myriad things in the universe that is not the Buddha.” Master Sotaesan
The Threefold Study
The Threefold Study is the path to uncovering our innate Buddha Nature. To reduce and eliminate suffering, we practice Eightfold Path. This Eightfold path is summarized as the Threefold Study: Cultivation of Spirit; Inquiry into Human Affairs and Universal Principles; and Choice in Action.
• For Cultivation of the Spirit and to maintain the serenity of our own Buddha Nature, we practice Right mindfulness and Right meditation.
• For Inquiry into Human affairs and universal principles and to maintain wisdom of our own Buddha nature, we practice Right view and Right thoughts.
• For Choice in Action and to maintain compassion of our own Buddha Nature, we practice Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood and Right Effort.