We Acquire Virtues by First Actually Practicing Them

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Cheon Seong Gyeong 1645

Even the microorganisms, which practice their own forms of love, take pride in the fact that they were also created to play their part within the same realm of the ideal of creation, which is represented by the universal pair system. They are proud of the fact that although you are big and they are small, if they can unite with you and give you a part of themselves, they are more than willing to share themselves with you for eterni-ty. They are different from fallen human beings. The creation of one chemical substance signifies that the plus and the minus elements have found and become one with each other. How silly human beings are by comparison! They are in fact essentially disharmonious, and this is the problem. (209-189, 1990.11.29)

Cheon Seong Gyeong 1187

The Ceremony of the Settlement of the Eight Stages signifies that the historical course of vertical indemnity and the course of horizontal indemnity that went through the stages of individual, family, people, nation, and the world. That is the vertical and horizontal courses consisting of eight stages are completed. Due to this, the right of eldest son has been restored, and the course of indemnity for all humanity is abolished. That is what I have done by holding this ceremony. The right of the eldest son is restored; the Parents are embracing all humankind. Thus, an end is brought to the history of war and struggle that was necessary in order for the right of the eldest son to be restored in the realm of parental love. The time has come when indemnity is not needed and we can reach harmony in love. In order to achieve this, I had to hold the Ceremony of the Settlement of the Eight Stages. By holding this ceremony, the Parents forgave both the elder and the younger son, so that next we can enter the age of the realm of forgiveness for the fallen parents. (193-173, 1989.10.3)

Cultivating the Good

GOODNESS REQUIRES EFFORT. Since evil infests our world and infects our minds and bodies, we mostly find it difficult to do the right thing. Hence, to become a genuinely good person requires sustained effort at self-cultivation. Aristotle writes that cultivating good character is like learning an art or a skill. If a person makes continual efforts to practice good deeds over a long period, he will form good habits. Good habits cultivated over many years leads to the formation of good character. The human spirit is like a field that must be sowed, cultivated and weeded every day if it is to bear a good crop.
If people do not attend to goodness but tolerate small faults, over time they will develop bad habits that become progressively more ingrained. Thus good begets good, while evil begets evil. Father Moon reminds us that because the propensity for evil is highly developed in fallen people, we must be actively engaged in efforts to do well; as even simple neglect can lead to our downfall.

1. Cultivating the Good through a Lifetime of Practice

Not to do any evil, to cultivate good, to purify one’s mind—this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
    Dhammapada 183 (Buddhism)
The virtues we acquire by first having actually practiced them, just as we do the arts. We learn an art or craft by doing the things that we shall have to do when we have learnt it: for instance, men become builders by building houses, harpers by playing on the harp. Similarly we become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts.
    Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics 2.1.4 (Hellenism)
Carefully uphold the proper norms of conduct, and imitate them day and night so that there will not be a moment’s neglect or cessation. After a time, we become familiar with them, and then we no longer need to imitate them but can make our own standard.
    Chu Hsi (Confucianism)
Gain: The superior man, seeing what is good, imitates it;
Seeing what is bad, he corrects it in himself.
    I Ching 42 (Confucianism
Whatever you would make habitual, practice it; and if you would not make a thing habitual, do not practice it, but habituate yourself to something else.
    Epictetus (Hellenism)
Engage in Torah and charity even with an ulterior motive, for the habit of right doing will lead also to right motivation.
    Talmud, Pesahim 50b (Judaism)
By degrees, little by little, from time to time, a wise person should remove his own impurities as a smith removes the dross from silver.
    Dhammapada 239 (Buddhism)
By sustained effort, earnestness, discipline, and self-control, let the wise man make for himself an island which no flood can overwhelm.
    Dhammapada 25 (Buddhism)
Study of Torah leads to precision, precision to zeal, zeal to cleanliness, cleanliness to restraint, restraint to purity, purity to holiness, holiness to meekness, meekness to fear of sin, fear of sin to saintliness, saintliness to the holy spirit, and the holy spirit to life eternal.
    Talmud, Aboda Zara 20b (Judaism)
This Atman, resplendent and pure, whom sinless disciples behold residing within the body, is attained by unceasing practice of truthfulness, austerity, right knowledge and continence.
    Mundaka Upanishad 3.1.5 (Hinduism)
Make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these things are yours and abound, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    2 Peter 1.5-8
Maintaining your self-cultivation for a long time will gradually lead to a congenial spirit; a congenial spirit will find one tender, generous, amiable, and agreeable. Anyone who hopes for this must eliminate his ill feelings and break up his anger, and be free of the adversity which invites opposition and attracts indignation. Personal and thorough investigation for a long time will gradually lead to the clarification of principle; perfect understanding will find one able to passively influence others without openly criticizing them. Anyone who heeds this will be well-informed and influential, and free of the worry of rising up in contention and being rejected.
    Even more must we actively observe the principles of things and deeply investigate our basic feelings; personally experience these things through your own faculties, carefully think about them through time—do these things and you will be free of the errors of bias and deceit. It is important that in all matters you always check your power of learning. If there should be any hindrances or irregularities probe deeply until you discover the malady and then root it out.
    Chu Hsi (Confucianism)
“Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it had not much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil; and when the sun rose it was scorched, and since it had no root it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”…
    And he said to [his disciples], “Do you not understand this parable? The sower sows the word. And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown; when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word which is sown in them. And these in like manner are the ones sown upon rocky ground, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; and they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. And others are the ones sown among thorns; they are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world, and the delight in riches, and the desire for other things, enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. But those that were sown upon the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” \
    Mark 4.3-20

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