The History of Won-Buddhism (Wonbulgyo Kyosa)
Part 1. The Dawn of Great Opening
Chapter 1. The New Buddha Land in the East
5. The Time of Great Change
When Sot`aesan came to this world, it was a period of great change never before known in human history. Externally to Korea, beginning from the late 19th century, military imperialism of powerful countries spread widely, finally resulting in world war. Furthermore, the rapid development of scientific civilization led to the weakening of the human spirit. The introduction of Western material "civilization" into Korean culure resulted in moral corruption and social turmoil. It had a devastating impact on Koreans and many suffered from the loss of their possessions. People also suffered under the Korean government`s unreasonable discriminative system and its severe suppression.
Sot`aesan, deploring this crucial crisis of the time, declared "Owing to the development of scientific civilization, the power of material things has grown stronger, but the power of the human spirit, while making use of this materialism, has grown weaker. Consequently, human beings have been forced to follow the rules of materialism`s power. Human beings are inevitably enslaved to the power of material things. So how can one be sure that human beings will ever cease to suffer in the bitter seas of misery? "Thus Sot`aesan concluded, "From now on, we will build a new world from an old world."