The History of Won-Buddhism (Wonbulgyo Kyosa)
Part 2. Founding of the Order
Chapter 2. Procurement of the New System
3. Ceremonial Reform and the Four Commemorative Occasions
Deploring the overly complicated and troublesome ceremonial conventions of the time that placed many restrictions on people`s lives, caused needless waste of money, and therefore hindered social development, Sot`aesan established the new system of rites and rituals in February Won-Buddhist year 11 (1926). 1) With regard to the rites and rituals of birth, he decreed the items of heedfulness for an expectant mother and the household members before and after the conception, how to name a newborn and how to record the birth, and how monetary gifts are to be used for the child`s education. 2) With regard to the rite of passage, he decreed how a coming-of age ceremony was to be performed and the method of treatment of a person who has reached adulthood. 3) With regard to the rites and rituals of matrimony, he decreed the installation of a matchmaking agency, the engagement procedure, the new order of marriage ceremony, and the use of the money saved for public service work. 4) With regard to funeral rites, he decreed that a simple ribbon should be worn as a sign of mourning for 49 days the longest; that a funeral procession should be conducted according to the new order of a processional ceremony; that the money saved should be used for public service work; that the traditional custom of geomancy (in which the geography is believed to determine the prosperity of one`s offspring)should be abandoned and instead the method of ancestral memorial tower in a memorial park should be employed. 5) As for the rites and rituals for an anniversary of someone`s death, he decreed that all of the deceased`s biological children and sworn-children should become the bereaved hosts; that the anniversary should be celebrated according to the new order of the ceremony; and that the money saved should be used for public service work. He instructed that those who could comprehend these new ceremonial conventions implement them first.
In the same year (Won-Buddhist year 11, 1926), Sot`aesan issued the new order`s four commemorative occasions: 1) the joint birthday commemoration, which was intended to collectively celebrate the birth of the new order and the birth of all believers as a whole on a specific day; 2) the holiday commemoration, which was intended to jointly celebrate various conventional holidays on a specific day at the temple; 3) the joint ancestral commemoration, which was intended to collectively perform the anniversary ceremony for all the predecessors who had preceded the parents on a specific day; 4) the change-of-the-year commemoration, which was intended to jointly celebrate the new year at the temple. The purpose of implementing such decrees was to use the money saved towards public service work and also to alleviate each individual`s economic burden. He instructed that those who could comprehend these new ceremonial conventions implement them first.
After the new ceremonial protocols were issued, the rites and rituals of birth were first performed when the grandson of No Deoksongok (Kim Yeongbong) of Jinan and the third son of Sot`aesan (Park Kwangjin) were born. The new rites and rituals of matrimony were first performed, when the first son of Kim Kwangseon (Kim Hongcheol) of Yeonggwang and the first daughter of Kim Taesangok (Yi Bo-eunghwa) as well as the second son of Song Byeokjo (Song Doseong) and the first daughter of Sot`aesan (Park Gilseon) were joined in matrimony. The rites and rituals of a funeral were first performed, when Seo Dongpung had passed away, and the rites and rituals of a death anniversary, when the anniversary ceremony for the father of Jeon Eumkwang was conducted. As for the protocols for the four commemorative occasions, the congregation at each temple took the initiative in implementing the prescribed provisions. Together they became sacred pioneers in the great task of constructing the new world when the sentiments of the people were still deeply bound by troublesome rules and inefficient ways of doing things.