The History of Won


The History of Won-Buddhism (Wonbulgyo Kyosa)

Part 1. The Dawn of Great Opening

Chapter 1. The New Buddha Land in the East

1. Preface

Master Chŏngsan1), in his preface of Ch`anggonsa2), wrote "History is the mirror of the world, because all creation and destruction, prosperity and decay appear in this history. One who only memorizes names of places, people, or years is not one who knows the real meaning of history. However, a person who understands the general spirit of the time, the thoughts of the main figures, the organization of the dharma system, and the procedure of its activities, is a person who is capable of looking at the real meaning of history. This is a person who reflects the inside and the outside of history like a mirror. Therefore there are several things that our religious order needs to take into consideration: first, we should carefully study and consider the mission of our community; second, we should delve deeply into what kind of sage Sot`aesan was, and gain right understanding of our Order`s dharma; third, we should examine our activities and procedures to assess how we will create better results in the future."
Following Master Chŏngsan`s guideline, this book will give a general description of the history of the Korean peninsula, the teachings of Korea`s spiritual masters, and the Won-Buddhist dharma. Following the general background will be an in-depth look at the Ch`anggonsa. Focus will be placed on several key aspects: 1) The reasons for Sot`aesan`s appearance during this period (Park Chung-bin, 1891-1943) as the new Buddha; 2) the steps to Sot`aesan`s enlightenment; 3) Sot`aesan`s first community development activities, which exemplified his statemanship and his great endeavor to help all living beings, and to cure the world of its many illnesses; 4) the introduction of the religious order to the greater public following the drafting of the Won-Buddhist religious doctrine. Sot`aesan, after fully completing the teachings and systems of Won-Buddhism, entered into nirvana. Master Chŏngsan inherited Sot`aesan`s Dharma Lantern during a time of myriad difficulties and inevitable outcomes. In this History of Won-Buddhism, Master Chŏngsan`s thought and activities will be described. This shall include 1) his contribution to the foundation of Won-Buddhism; 2) his organization and management of the systems of the new religious order; 3) his operation of businesses to aid in the fundamental development of the order; 4) his establishment of structural facilities to achieve our goal; 5) his editing and publishing of the Scriptures of Won-buddhism 6) and finally, his great teaching: The Ethics of Triple Identity (K. Samdong Yully)3).
Furthermore, the History of Won-Buddhism will describe the life and activities of Master Taesan,4)who, in accordance with the Law of Won-Buddhism, inherited the title of Prime Dharma Master after the nirvana of Master Chŏngsan. This book will describe Taesan`s time as Prime Dharma Master, focusing on 1) his utmost effort and cooperation with people for the fruition of the order; 2) his publishing of the Scriptures of Won-Buddhism 3) his Movement for the progression of the people in the Dharma Ranks; 4) his participation in Chonghyop5) 5) the Second Gratitude Requital Project as well as his mission to build a foundation for teaching the dharma overseas 6) his inauguration of the half centennial anniversary of the Order`s foundation; 7) and other notes of general interest.
We will observe the progression of Won-Buddhism by reflecting on the first forty to fifty years. In describing these factual events we will, like a mirror, reflect on the everlasting development of this order, which continues to develop, and advance even into its four or five hundredth year.