The History of Won


The History of Won-Buddhism (Wonbulgyo Kyosa)

Part 2. Founding of the Order

Chapter 1. Opening the New Order

2. Deciding upon the Site for the General Headquarters and Its Construction

After the Founding General Meeting, Sot`aesan, accompanied by delegates of various regions, personally made a tour around Iri and its vicinity to select the site for the construction of the General Headquarters before finally settling on Sinryong-ri, Bukil-myeon, Iksan-gun in Jeolabuk-do. Seo Jung-an, the chairperson, donated money to purchase the lot (over 1.35 acres) and to partially cover the construction cost (over 600 Korean Won) and the congregants from various areas contributed substantial amounts of money (nearly 800 Korean Won).
A special meeting of the leading members was held in September, through which a resolution for the construction of the main building of the General Headquarters was passed. The construction was launched immediately following the meeting. In spite of the bitter cold winter, over ten dedicated Jeonmu-Chulshin [ordained disciples] and special sponsors helped to establish the Headquarters. In November, two units of wood-structured thatched roof homes with a total of 17 rooms were completed, which marked the first construction of the General Headquarters for the new order. Moreover it was the special occasion to introduce the sign, "Buddhadharma Research Society" to the world.
In the year of the Founding General Meeting (Won- Buddhist year 9 [1924]), the number of believers from various areas, including Yeongsan, Sinheung, Kimje, Jeonju, Buan, Seoul, and Jinan, totaled 130; 60 of which were male and 70 female. Thirteen of them, including Kim Gwangseon, were Jeonmu-Chulshins [ordained disciples] (Appendix 7) from Yeonggwang and Iksan. With regard to the organization of the departments, due to the insufficient number of staff and poor conditions, only three departments out of sevenwere formally in operation. The departments were as follows: the Department of General Affairs (with O Changki as department head and Song Doseong as secretary), the Department of Religious Affairs (with Song Mankyeong as department head), and the Department of Cooperative Association (with Jeon Eumkwang as secretary). The order`s assets included the rice field gained from the embankment in Jeonggwanpyeong and a few buildings in Yeongsan, Sinheung, Buan, and Iksan. The rice field was yet to be completely detoxified and thus generated very little profit. Therefore, although the system of a new order had been set in place, the means of operation of the General Headquarters and the livelihood of the Jeonmu-Chulshin seemed to be a long way off.