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

5. The Blood Seal on White Paper and the Holy Event of Dharma Authentication

On August 21, in the fourth year of Won-Buddhism (1919) Sot`aesan said to the members, "The devotion with which you have been offering prayers is truly praiseworthy. To reflect on my own experience, however, it is not sincere enough to move the will of the realm of Truth. It is because there is some egoistic element left in your mind. If annihilating your ego can propagate the correct dharma, would you carry it out?" To this, the nine disciples said in unison, "Yes, we will do it." Sot`aesan continued more solemnly, "There is an old saying, `One sacrifices oneself in order to preserve one`s integrity.` There were some who performed miracles by following this principle. How could the numinous spirits of Heaven and Earth not be affected if you gave your life for the well-being of all sentient beings? In the near future, a great Way with correct dharma will be established in the world and the disturbed mind of mankind will be corrected thereby, contributing to the blessings of sentient beings. If so, then you will be the saviors of the world, and the hidden merit of yours will be eternal. Hence, you must show your views on this matter from your true hearts."
The nine disciples were downcast for a while but in the end agreed with their whole heart that they would sacrifice their lives. With great admiration, Sot`aesan told them to carry out the sacrifice at their designated prayer site the next prayer day after ten days of ablutions.
On August 21, the nine disciples gathered in the dharma room, and Sot`aesan ordered them to arrange a bowl of clear water and daggers on the table. On the table there was a white sheet of paper on which was written, "Sacrifice with no Regret" and Sot`aesan ordered them to press their bare thumbs under their name as a form of signature. Then they were asked to prostrate and offer a silent confession on their determination to sacrifice their lives on behalf of all sentient beings. Sot`aesan examined the paper and saw that the places where they had pressed their bare thumbs had turned into nine fingerprints in blood. Showing the paper to them, Sot`aesan said, "Take a look at this paper and see it as evidence of your single heart." And with that he burnt the paper and consecrated it to the realm of Truth. He then ordered his disciples to go to their prayer site. However, soon after they stepped out of the dharma room, Sot`aesan called them back, saying that he had one more thing to tell them. He said, "The numinous spirits of heaven and earth have already responded to your mind, and a planning in the realm of dharma has been completed; hence success of our plan has been assured by this. You have consecrated yourselves to the world. Although the disciples understood Sot`aesan, their excitement could not be calmed. After 11:00 at night, Sot`aesan ordered the nine members to go together to the top of the central mountain and return after offering prayers. Upon saying this, Sot`aesan assigned dharma names and dharma titles to his nine disciples, saying "The individual with the secular name has died. Now I give you a new name. With this universal dharma name your new life will begin in which you will deliver many sentient beings." The nine disciples continued their prayer even after the event until Sot`aesan ordered them to stop in October of that year. The prayers of the nine members and the holy event of dharma authentication were the spiritual foundation of selfless service for the public well-being, which strengthened the followers` faith, solidarity, and public spirit for the founding of the new religious order.