The History of Won


The History of Won-Buddhism (Wonbulgyo Kyosa)

Part 1. The Dawn of Great Opening

Chapter 4. Groundwork for Founding the Order

1. Savings Union

In August of the second year of Won-Buddhism (1917), the Savings Union, under the leadership of Sot`aesan, was established. He said to his disciples, "In order for us to study and practice moral training and to carry out public work, a union has to be established so that a portion of the money can be saved for studying and doing public works. As the groundwork for the establishment of a new religious order, I suggest that a savings union be established to prepare for many future works."
All the members made an effort to abstain from alcohol and smoking, instead saving their money for a larger cause. Furthermore, the members were frugal in terms of their clothing and food. Instead of taking rest during holidays, they would work harder in order to save more money. Their wives also saved small portions of rice, calling it `gratitude rice`. The memorial rite offered to the realm of truth, was also abolished. Sot`aesan, as the head of the union, encouraged all these savings so that within several months, the amount of money accumulated reached 200 Won.
Sot`aesan asked that charcoal be purchased with the savings of his disciples, and the money (400 Won) borrowed from a wealthy person in a neighboring town, and his own personal money (400 Won) that he received by selling off his furniture. Seven to eight months later due to the great demand for charcoal during World War I, the price of charcoal rose significantly and the union accumulated a big fortune within one year. The disciples were extremely happy with the unexpected success and believed that the realm of truth was helping them. They were more encouraged and their faith was strengthened.