The Words of Rev Sun Myung Moon from 1980

The Meaning Of The Full Bow

Reverend Sun Myung Moon
Excerpted from "The Founding of Ocean Church"
October 1, 1980
Morning Garden, Gloucester, MA

Sometimes you might wonder abut some of our church customs, such as bowing down. You might say to yourself, "Why do we do that?" Even though it has been a custom in many parts of the world for thousands of years, it becomes easier to understand why we also practice the full bow if you hear a full explanation of it. First, it is a very symbolic act. You bow down with four limbs, meaning that you are standing on the four-position foundation. This bow also reflects the proper subject and object relationship, because, as you bow, you move from high to low, which symbolizes the vertical relationship between heaven and earth.

To bow, you stand naturally, not in a stiff way, with one foot slightly ahead of the other. The right foot symbolizes man and the left foot symbolizes woman. The right foot should go slightly ahead of the left, symbolizing also the subject and object relationship between man and woman. Then, as you bow, all parts of the body come closer together, and this symbolizes how the four-position foundation becomes one.

The head symbolizes God, and both arms symbolize man and woman and the relationship that they have. The feet represent earth. So, when we raise our arms to touch our head, this shows the subject and object becoming one with each other and one with God, then coming down to be one with the earth. Even the face symbolizes this whole relationship. The eyes symbolize God, the nose symbolizes man and woman -- one but with two parts -- and the mouth symbolizes earth. The eyes look out and see; this represents heaven. 'Me torso, the body symbolizes the universe.

In other words, the universe stands on the foundation of the four-position relationship. It's very appropriate to greet and respect God, and those who represent God, in this way. In Korea, this custom has existed for thousands of years. However, we do it, not because of the Korean custom, but because it coincides with the Principle. This is the way children greet their parents every day, every morning.

When you see children, especially still within the womb, you see them clutching their fingers together and making a fist. Why? The thumb symbolizes God, and the fingers symbolize the four-position foundation which surrounds it. If you look at that and really notice how the body reflects everything in the universe, you can see that of all the greetings that are given in every country around the world, this one is the most comprehensive and most meaningful. It is the most proper way to show respect because it reminds us in a very meaningful way of who we truly are in front of God and in front of one another. In your own centers and where you work on your missions, do you keep the Sunday morning pledge service? This is also very important to do each week, each month, and each year. At these times, the man and wife, if they are blessed, should bow down in an easterly direction, because that is where the sun rises and this too symbolizes God. The North is another direction you can bow towards because the highest point, the North Pole, is in that direction. Also, the North Star, which has been the guiding point for mankind throughout history, is in the northern sky.

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