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

5. Pobui-taejon and the Period of Foundation

Starting from the second year of Won-Buddhism (1917) Sot`aesan dictated many aphorisms and poetical compositions to, Kim Songsop. This collection was later edited with the title, Pobui-taejon (The Great Canon of the Essence of Laws). According to the biographer, the messages contained in the collection were so profound that Sot`aesan`s disciples could not fully decipher their meanings. Although the meaning of the writings may have seemed obscure to his followers there were several main gists that Sot`aesan wanted to highlight. First, he wanted to emphasize that the vein of true dharma, which had disappeared for a while, would appear again; that the general trend of the world was such that when unreasonable times were gone, reasonable times were sure to come; and that a new religious order would be established.
The members rejoiced after reciting the aphorisms and the recitation proved to be a great help in strengthening their faith in his teaching. However, after Sot`aesan finished drafting the doctrine for the Order he instructed it to be buried, believing that it would not be suitable as the definite doctrine for delivering countless sentient beings. The first section of the introduction and eleven stanzas were memorized by some of his disciples and recorded.
In the third year of Won-Buddhism (1918) Sot`aesan proclaimed his timetable for establishing the new religious order. The history of the order was to be marked by the number of generations starting with 1916, the year of his enlightenment, as the first year of the order`s era and each generation consisting of thirty-six years thereafter. The first generation of establishment would consist of three periods of twelve years each. The first twelve years would be for establishing the spiritual and financial foundation of the order and for meeting people who had an affinity with the order`s foundation. The following twelve years would be for formulating the doctrine and editing the teaching materials. The final twelve years would be for cultivating men and women of ability who would then spread the law and propagate the law.