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

4. Prayer of the Nine Disciples

In March of the fourth year of Won-Buddhism (1919) with the embankment project almost completed, Sot`aesan said to his nine disciples, "At present, materialism has an increasing influence in the world today, while the minds of human beings are becoming weak. In these circumstances, individuals, homes, societies and nations are not able to maintain equilibrium and must remain in endless suffering. Can we who have made up our minds to help other people neglect this situation? We know of saints and sages who, with utmost sincerity, gave prayers for all living beings and received a response from the realm of Truth. Now I suggest that this is the time for us to pray incessantly to Heaven and Earth until the realm of Truth responds to our prayers. Then people can be the masters of material things, instead of being tempted by them. Your mind is equivalent to the mind of the realm of Truth your virtue will meet with the virtue of Heaven and Earth when the last bit of self-centered desire has left your mind. Everything will then turn out successfully, as you desired. You should be aware of the fact that you possess the ability to impress the will of Heaven and at the same time should always be aware of your own responsibility to save all sentient beings." The nine disciples felt great honour and happiness and asked for guidance from Sot`aesan.
Beginning in April 1919, they offered prayers three days of the month (the 6th, 16th, 26th) with ten days of ablutions in between the prayer days as directed by their master. They purified their minds and hearts and observed the precepts more rigorously. On the prayer day, they all gathered in the dharma room of the nine room house and received instructions from Sot`aesan, and then departed to their designated prayer sites.
The prayer was offered at night from 10:00 to 12:00 and afterwards everyone returned to the dharma room. Each member was given a watch so that he could synchronize the prayer time. Each of the nine disciples was assigned a mountaintop as the site of prayer with the one in the center surrounded by eight others. Prayers consisted of each member setting up a flag of the union at their respective locations, preparing incense and a bowl of clear water, bowing and confessing, reading the prayer, and reciting a mantra.