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

4. The First Organization of T`an (Group, 組團) and Training

In order to teach and edify all people of the world in the new future, Sot`aesan devised a method of organizing practitioners. The essence of this method was to train all people under the teaching of one master in an equal and rapid manner, regardless of location.
More specifically, a T`an (unit) consists of nine people and one of whom is the leader (단장) who will teach and guide the T`an`s practice and religious affairs. When nine religious units are organized,the nine leaders of nine units will make another, higher-level Tan with a leader who will teach and guide them. The leaders should be reorganized by applying the order of twenty-eight stars (二十八宿: 角亢氐房心尾箕斗牛女虛危室壁奎數胃 昴畢觜參井鬼柳星張翼軫). Then, even though the number of people reaches the hundreds of thousands, they will still be guided. The organization is very simple, yet greatly adequate because of the merits always given to the nine people.
According to their vow and practice, Sot`aesan divided the units into a simple hierarchy of four levels or units. The units were as follows: 1) the Supreme Unit (K. Suwi Tan), 2) the Ordinary Unit(K. Pot`ong Tan), 3) The Reverends Unit (K. Chonmuch`ulshin Tan), and 4) The Lay Won Buddhist Unit(K. Kojinch`uljin Tan).
Applying this method, Sot`aesan organized the male Supreme Unit on July 26 of the second year of Won-Buddhism (1917); with Sot`aesan as the leader and the remaining eight members comprising the first Supreme Unit of Won- Buddhism. The eight members were Yee Chae-p`ung in the direction of Kon(乾方), Yee In-myong in the direction of Kam(坎方), Kim Song-ku in the direction of Kan(艮方), O Chae-kyom in the direction of Chin(震方), Park Kyong-mun in the direction of Son(巽方), Park Han-sop in the direction of Lee, Ryu Song-kug in the direction of Kon, Kim Song-sop in the direction of T`ae (兌方). But the position of the center was left empty for a year, until Sot`aesan appointed Song To-kun(宋道君) to the central position.
After organizing the first unit, the faith of the members gradually deepened. However, what his disciples wanted to know was the difficult, mysterious teachings and the unpredictable, mysterious skills. They wanted to achieve this easily, without trying to realize the truth itself or the righteousness of humanity`s moral principles. Therefore, Sot`aesan performed rituals to Heaven in order to bind their minds together, and he advised them in their diligent practice, saying his teachings come from Heaven.
After that Sot`aesan established various dharmas and asked his disciples to gather for dharma meetings on the 1st, 11th, and 21st of each month. At each meeting, he penalized those who failed to follow his instructions. He asked his disciples in advance to check their minds during the previous ten days, placing blue, red, or black dots in the book, "Sungkyeo-myongsirok". His disciples examined the strengthening and weakening of their faith as well as putting the faith into action. They all got a little fearful and also were happy, and their union, faith, and devotion were indescribable.