The History of Won


The History of Won-Buddhism (Wonbulgyo Kyosa)

Part 2. Founding of the Order

Chapter 1. Opening the New Order

5. Publishing the First Books and Establishing Temples

Although the Covenant of Purport was temporarily in print (through the help of Seo Jung-an)at the time of the Founding General Meeting, it was deficient in terms of substance. All teaching material at the semi-annual regular training sessions was transcribed. In March Won-Buddhist year 12 (1927), the three books: the Covenant of the Buddhadharma Research Society, the Essential Doctrine of Spiritual Cultivation and Inquiry, and the Covenants of Cooperative Association, were published with the help of Yi Kongju. These first three books of the new order were finally provided to the practitioners.
In the Covenants of the Buddhadharma Research Society, [which was known as the Covenant of Purport], the origin, explanation of the purport, and the articles of the Order were recorded in the first part. The second part was known as the "order of study for a practitioner", which consisted of the Three Principles, the Eight Items, the thirty precepts, the essential discourse on commanding the nature, the dharma instruction of suffering and happiness, and the method of training for lay and ordained practitioners. All 14 items stated detailed rules in order to have the practitioners familiarize themselves with the outline of the doctrinal system of the new order. The Essential Doctrine of Spiritual Cultivation and Inquiry consisted of seven parts: the first and second parts were the Essential Doctrine of Spiritual Quietude, followed by the principle of inquiry, the articles to develop in inquiry, the articles to abandon in inquiry, cases for questioning in each article of inquiry, and the order of progression in study. The Essential Doctrine of Spiritual Cultivation and Inquiry served as the guidebook in the study of spiritual cultivation and the study of inquiry. The Covenants of Cooperative Association, which elucidated the general provisions of the Association, the methods of saving and payment, and so forth, helped the believers improve their way of life.
With regard to the establishment of temples, the completion of the General Headquarters took place at Iksan in the ninth year of Won-Buddhism (1924), and the former Yeong-San-Won was renamed Yeonggwang District. Kim Kicheon was appointed district head and Song Byeokjo was assigned to be the first minister of the temple. The Seokdu Temple in Bongrae Mountain was renamed the Buan Cultivation Center. In July Won-Buddhist year 11 (1926), the Kyeongsung Branch Office was inaugurated when Yi Dongjinhwa donated two wooden-structured thatched houses in Changsin-dong in Seoul, for which Yi Kongju bore the upkeep expenses. Kim Sammaehwa took charge of management of general affairs, and Song Doseong was appointed to be the first Won Buddhist minister of the temple. In March Won-Buddhist year 12 (1927), the Sinheung Branch Office was established in Sinheung, Sincheon-ri, Myoryang- myeon, Yeonggwang-gun. The former body of the Sinheung Branch Office was the Myoryang Credit Union which was organized by Yi Dong-an along with Yi Wancheol and ten others. (Appendix 9) This branch office was established for the purpose of funding their study in March Won-Buddhist year 5 (1920), following Yi Dongan`s becoming a devout follower of Sot`aesan in the early days of the Order. The Union followed the example of the existing Gilryong-ri Association by promoting frugality, thriftiness, and saving, and was later renamed the Sinheung Branch Office. All of its members came to believe in the Buddhadharma Research Society thus all of its properties were incorporated into the assets of the Order. In terms of edification, it received guidance from the Yeonggwang District for some time.