The History of Won

Dictionary

The History of Won-Buddhism (Wonbulgyo Kyosa)

Part 2. Founding of the Order

Chapter 2. Procurement of the New System

1. Cooperative Association and the Founding Groups for Industry and Education

In Won-Buddhist year 9 (1924), after the Founding General Meeting, Sot`aesan established the Cooperative Association to take over the affairs of the existing association and procured the system of saving for various funds. These various funds included the districts` fund which is the unified savings of the assets of the General Headquarters and various districts the dues fund which was intended for the payment of dues needed for the upkeep of membership the study fund which was intended for the procurement of training fees for meditative retreats the contributory fund which was intended to be used for commemorative memorial services for the Order`s forefathers the work fund which was intended for various work to be carried out by the membership the scholarship fund which was intended to be used to educate the members` children the living expenses fund which was intended for the livelihood of the membership, and so forth.
While these various funds were invested in real estate and farming as well as the sericultural, pomicultural and horticultural industries and livestock, they were also loaned out to poor members at a low interest rate. At first the Association`s main office was located at the General Headquarters, however since the majority of its business was concentrated in the Yeonggwang area, it relocated toYeonggwang in Won- Buddhist year 12 (1927) and the General Headquarters served as the Associations` branch office in managing its affairs. The Association played the role of a safe for the Order and laid the firm foundations of its financial development in the early days.
Meanwhile, the Agricultural Department, which was originally planned to be one of the seven departments under the General Headquarters, was barely making ends meet. It continued to be meager and stagnant. Its cooperative farm work was being done by only 4 or 5 members even after the Founding General Meeting. In Won-Buddhist year 12 (1927), the founding group for industry was organized at Song Mankyeong`s proposal and O Changgeon and 7 other initiators (Appendix 10) made an appeal to the General Headquarters and the districts that a campaign be launched for procurement of the fund to establish an industry department for the realization of the wholeness of both spirit and flesh. The same year, the founding group for the education department was formed at Song Doseong`s proposal. Yi Dong-an and 6 other initiators (Appendix 11) made an appeal to the General Headquarters and the districts that a campaign be launched for procurement of the fund to establish an education department to train highly skilled people who would work for the benefit of all sentient beings and heal the world.
The initiators as well as all the members of various departments came together in perfect harmony in their endeavor and in the following year (Won-Buddhist year 13 [1928]), the campaigns developed into the Consociation for the Establishment of Agricultural Department and the Consociation for the Establishment of Center for Training Talented Persons. In their strenuous efforts to establish both institutions, the members in Seoul joined forces. Those living in Yeonggwang worked in communal farming, those in Iksan in communal sericulture, and the executive members of each department worked in physical labor and special activities.