The History of Won


The History of Won-Buddhism (Wonbulgyo Kyosa)

Part 1. The Dawn of Great Opening

Chapter 5. Drafting the Teaching

2. Dharma Meeting at Bongnae Mountain and the Draft of Il-won-sang

Sot`aesan searched for a place to retreat and rest; a place where he could prepare for the beginning of a new religious order. Thus in March of the fourth year of Won-Buddhism (1919), accompanied by O Chang-gon, he visited Wolmyongam at Bongae mountain, where he stayed for ten days before returning to Kilyong-ni. In July, he sent Song Kyu Wolmyongam to find a place to stay. In October, Sot`aesan entrusted the matters of the association to several members and left for Wonmyongam with the plan to do spiritual cultivation for a few years. Song Kyu, who had been waiting for him, was delighted at his arrival, and Paek Hank-myong, abbot of Wolmyongam, received him warmly. The motives behind Sot`aesan`s entering the mountain was to take a rest after several years of hard work, draft the doctrine for the upcoming religious order, and avoid attention from the public during turbulent times.
In 1919, Sot`aesan searched for a place where he could rest. One day he visited Kumsan temple in Kimje county and stayed there for a while. He drew a circle on the door lintel of the room where he stayed. It was the first time he had expressed his thought on Il-won-sang as the central tenet of the doctrine.
While Sot`aesan was staying at Wolmyongam, Song Chol-pyok and others came and expressed their wish to wait on him. In December of the fourth year of Won-Buddhism (1919), Sot`aesan moved to a thatched hut next to Silsangsa, in the center of Bongnae mountain, where he devoted himself to mental and physical repose while living in poverty with a few disciples (Song Kyu, Song To-song, and O Chang-gon). With the turn of the New Year, 1920, the number of his followers coming from several districts (Youngkwang, Kimje, Chonju) increased, and Sot`aesan was moved by their devotion. He welcomed them and preached sermons to them in the morning and evening. Most of his sermons focused on the method of spiritual cultivation by observing the mind as well as the method of seeing into one`s own nature and realizing Buddahood.