The History of Won


The History of Won-Buddhism (Wonbulgyo Kyosa)

Part 1. The Dawn of Great Opening

Chapter 3. Sot`aesan`s Statecraft of Saving all living beings and Curing the World

1. The Origin of Sot`aesan`s Dharma

Following his enlightenment, and while recalling the process of his enlightenment, he surmised that "It is difficult to know the process [of enlightenment]. Generally speaking, there was a great assistance of Saun (K. Fourfold Grace) in the process of my practice and enlightenment."
Sot`aesan thought again, "There are three major religions in Asia: Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism. Recently, several new religions have emerged in Korea. Although there are a few religions, I have not examined their doctrines in detail. Therefore, I will refer to their Scriptures and make a comparison with my own attainment of the Truth. "He asked his neighbors to obtain various books and read them in their entirety.
The religious texts that Sot`aesan read were as follows: the Four Classics and the Hyokyong (C. Hsiaoching: Filial Piety) of Confucianism; The Diamond Sutra (K.Kumgang-panya-paramil-gyong C. Chin kang pan jo po lo mi ching S. Vajracchedika-prajnaparamita-sutra), the Sonyo (Essentials of Ch`an), the Pulgyo taejon (Great Canon of Buddhism), the P`alsang-nok (Eight Aspects of the Buddha`s Life) of Buddhism; the Umbugyong (C. Yun-fu Ching), the Okch`ugyong (C. Yu-shu Ching) of Taoism; the Tonggyong Taejon (Great Canon of Eastern Learning) and the Kasa (Hymns) of Ch`ondogyo; and the Old and New Testaments of Christianity.25) Sot`aesan discovered that he had a particularly good understanding of The Diamond Sutra because it had once come to him in a dream.
After his extensive reading of these Scriptures, Sot`aesan said, "That which I have known has already been known by the ancient sages. "He continued, "Because all the meanings of the Scriptures are generally proper, there is little that should be cast away. However, there are different degrees of depth to be found in the Truth. The Buddha Dharma is unsurpassed in showing the fundamental Truth, and Śākyamuni Buddha is truly the sage of all sages. "He stated, "Though I have attained the Way [supreme enlightenment] without any teacher`s guidance, I have, upon reflecting on many points, realized that my former aspiration and the course of my ascetic practice for attaining the Way coincide with what Śākyamuni Buddha did and said. Hence, I choose Śākyamuni Buddha as the origin of my enlightenment. "Then, he firmly concluded, "When I open a religious order in the future, for the main tenets of its doctrine, I will establish a perfect and complete oneness with the Buddha Dharma."