Pyeong Hwa Gyeong: Episode 121
Pyeong Hwa Gyeong: A Selection of True Parents’ Speeches
Book 3: The Mission of Religion in Achieving God’s Ideal
Speech 9: The Fundamental Truth, pg 420-423
The Fundamental Truth
January 12, 1990
Janggyo-dong Hall of Religion, Seoul, Korea
Invitational lecture at the Association of Religions in Korea
I am grateful for this opportunity to meet all of you prominent figures of every religious denomination. I believe that when religious leaders serve their denomination, and when each denomination fulfills its mission, there is hope for the future of the Republic of Korea. Nonetheless, there is no religious denomination that can fulfill this hope on its own. The issue lies in having religions come together in harmony. This is not just a religious problem; it is a political and ideological one as well. In any event, humanity is bound to head toward one destination in the end.
Problems encountered in life and the teachings of the saints
When we consider the external world, we see there are many powerful groups that have been shaping the history of politics, economy, culture and society. When we consider the internal world, there are the various religious denominations. The leaders of these faiths are also all different, yet they have the same responsibility to lead the world and guide the flow of history. If you were to compare all this to a human being, religion is like the mind and society in general is like the body.
Now, when we consider ourselves as human beings, a question arises: when will our body and mind unite? We know only too well that there is not one saint who has been able to confidently declare, “I have united my body and mind as one through my doctrine. I have brought peace; I have ended this war between my mind and body.”
We can see that the external and internal worlds are in conflict. This clash is also apparent on the global level, where to this day the rulers of nations in the secular world have all too often oppressed the religious realm. The religious realm has suffered a great deal. In particular, religions in their formative stages have been on the receiving end of the blows, though they have not attacked the secular world. Religions grew as they received such blows.
This conflict of internal and external is the fundamental problem; hence the title of today’s address: “The Fundamental Truth.”
Born of the white-clad people of Korea, I am a person who has thought and agonized more than anyone about the question of religion. Furthermore, I have thought deeply about the problems of life and the human condition. Who can solve the problems of humankind? People cannot do so by themselves. Then how can they be solved? They can be solved through the teachings of the saints.
By the saints, I am referring to the leaders of the four great religions. What did these founders center their lives upon? It was the question of absolute values, which in turn was rooted in questions concerning the existence and nature of God.
The difference between religion and philosophy is that religion begins together with God. This is not the case with philosophy. Religion has a backdrop of mystery and defines its purpose within an unfolding providence of God, the Subject Being who moves history from behind the scenes. This means that the founders of religions lived their lives together with God.
What kind of life is one that has begun together with God? Is it a private life, a life centering on the family? Or is it a religious life lived together with God and centered on the tribe? If it were the latter, would it center only on the white-clad people of Korea? Is it a life centered only on the nation? We can take this question to the level of the physical world and spirit world, and heaven and earth.
Has there ever been a religion that advocated the notion of saving the family? Has there ever been a religion that promoted the salvation of the society, the salvation of the people and the salvation of the nation? Most religions advocate individual deliverance. They say the individual needs to be saved. They were begun centering on the individual. For this reason, the higher the level of a religion, the more its doctrine separates believers from the material world. It requires the believer to renounce the world. This is true for Buddhism, and for Christianity as well.
What does it mean to renounce the world? When you are born a Korean, you are born into a tribe with a certain surname. You are completely enveloped by that tribe’s traditional and historical culture. To renounce the world means to renounce your family, which is at the center of that culture. To leave your home and renounce the world entails renouncing your nation, renouncing your society, renouncing your family and even renouncing the parent-child relationship within your family. This is a problem.
It is a problem because, while each of us can try to pioneer the path of our destiny, we cannot alter that portion of our path that God has ordained.
Then the question is, what can possibly sever the God-ordained relationship between parents and children? To attempt to change that fact creates a problem. Even if a dictator were to try to educate parents and children for thousands of years, saying, “You have no father! You have no son!” he could not alter that relationship.
Where, then, lies the reason to renounce the world, leave your home and renounce even the relationship between parents and child? Does the act of renouncing the world suggest you just leave home, and still cling to your relationship with your mother and father? Or do you renounce that relationship and leave behind everything ego-centered, so you can achieve your own principles based on a standard of individual perfection? It focuses solely on the standard of self-perfection.
The origin of religion and our relationship with God
All religions are based on the standard of self-perfection. This is why all advanced religions celebrate the solitary life. They urge you to renounce your blood ties to your parents, and then they urge you to renounce even your own descendants. This is true for Catholicism and Buddhism. One has to renounce the world, one has to renounce the nation, one has to renounce one’s family, one has to renounce one’s parents, men have to renounce women, and women have to renounce men.
The question is how a religious denomination can find and establish the doctrine, the logic, that explains why such ties need to be renounced. Christianity is vague on this point, as are Buddhism and Confucianism. It is said, “The four seasons representing the circle of life are unchanging heavenly laws, and this is also the nature of human beings, who pursue love, righteousness, courteousness and knowledge to follow such heavenly laws.” What a wonderful saying this is! The Chinese character cheon (天) in this saying means Heaven. Even if there is a Heaven, if that Heaven is not one with which I can form an eternal connection from the very beginning, I cannot serve it as the ideal Heaven. From the beginning, through the middle stage and up to the end, every part of that connection to Heaven must be eternal. Together with that Heaven, I must be happy. It will not do for me to be unhappy. When you are one with that Heaven, all existing beings will envy you, and everything will uphold and follow you. You will not be limited by the particular circumstances into which you were born, such as being a part of the Korean people. You will move forward transcending race and philosophy.
In this regard, the founder of each religion initiated his ministry when he began living together with God. When we consider the relationship between the founder of a religion and God, the question is whether people ought to follow God or the religion’s founder. In the relationship between the religious leader and God, the founder needs to follow God. If that God is an absolute God, then the religious leader ought to follow Him absolutely. We need to know about the relationship between ourselves and this God whom we have to follow absolutely, as well as the relationship between God and the religious leader. The matter of how we can connect the relationship between God and the religious leader and the relationship between the religious leader and ourselves is not a simple one.
While pondering questions about the spirit world and the religious realm, I came to realize that there is a mysterious world. If you ask whether there is a God or not, the answer is, there definitely is a God. Nowadays the world of relationships is a problem.
A household is composed of the relationship between parents and children, the relationship between husband and wife and the relationships between siblings. Beyond that, there is also the relationship between one family and another. No matter how great a person is, he or she is at a disadvantage if family relationships have been severed. What is the center in the relationships between the individual and family, between family and family, and between tribe and tribe? The fact is, human beings cannot leave the world of relationships.