The History of Won-Buddhism (Wonbulgyo Kyosa)
Part 2. Founding of the Order
Chapter 3. Forming the System of the Order
2. Publication of the First Books of the Order
Another important task launched by the Order since the first commemorative general meeting (March Won-Buddhist year 13) was editing and compiling the first books and amending and implementing the Rules and Regulations of the Won-Buddhist Order. Although the Covenant of Purport and the Essential Doctrine of Spiritual Cultivation and Inquiry were already in print, there came a point when neither was able to elucidate sufficiently the original principles of the doctrine. Therefore the existing system of organization could not support the increasing number of believers.
In Won-Buddhist year 15 (1930), Sot`aesan instructed a few of his students (Appendix 17) to arrange and edit the principles of the doctrinal system that he had enacted and issued separately in the past. He, then, personally supervised the compilation and publication of one book after another. In July Won-Buddhist year 16 (1931),The Buddhadharma Research Society`s Covenant of Governance and Group Formation was published, followed by the Six Great Essential Principles in April Won-Buddhist year 17 (1932). The revised version of the Rules and Regulations of the Order were published in May Won-Buddhist year 19 (1934), and the Three Essential Principles in December. In April Won-Buddhist year 20 (1935), the Doctrine of Buddhist Reform in Korea, which had been drafted by Sot`aesan in Bongrae Mountain, was published. This was followed in August, by the Book of Ceremonial, the Imperative Items for which the Congregants are to be Aware. The Summarized Report on the Buddhaharma Research Society was published in Won- Buddhist year 21 (1936), and the Buddhist Service to be Conducted by Buddhadharma Research Society in Won- Buddhist year 24 (1939). In Won-Buddhist year 25 (1940), the newly written songs of the Order, songs of the Buddha-praising, and other hymns were introduced. The second 12 years since the founding of the Order truly marked the golden period in the compilation and publication of the early Books.
The Buddhadharma Research Society`s Covenant of Governance and Group Formation stated in the general summary the aspiration for the formation of groups. It elucidated general provisions, the organization of groups based on gender, the organization of the Head Circle Council and the electoral system, the organization of each group, meetings, manners of reward and punishment, and finally clarified detailed regulations, such as the method of examination regarding daily diary-keeping and so forth.
The Six Great Essential Principles outlined the founding slogan of the teaching, the doctrinal chart, and the general summary in the opening pages, and was compiled in the following order: Chapter 1, the Fourfold Grace, the Four Essentials, and the Essential Ways of Human Life; Chapter 2, the Three Principles, the Eight Articles, and the Essential Ways of Practice; Chapter 3, Training; Chapter 4, the Method of Attainment Examination; Chapter 5, the Method of Grading Dharma Rank; and Chapter 6, the Method of Examination for Work. The revised version of the Rules and Regulations of the Order will be dealt in the next section. As the Three Essential Principles were the compilation of the main points of Chapters 1, 2, and 3 of the Six Great Essential Principles, explanations with regard to mental affirmation and supplication were included in the last part of Chapter 1.
The Doctrine of Buddhist Reform in Korea stated an outline of the reform in its introduction, followed by 7 chapters respectively entitled: Korean Society`s View on Buddhadharma in the Past, The Realities of Life of Buddhist Monks in Korea, Wisdom and Ability of Śākyamuni Buddha, From Buddhism of Foreign Origin to Buddhism of Korea, From Buddhism of the Few to Buddhism of the Masses, Unifying the Fragmented Subjects of Edification, and From Worshiping the Buddha-Image to Worship of the Il-Won-Sang [Image of One Circle]. It carried the dharma of faith in the Il-Won-Sang and the method of practice of the Il-Won-Sang for the first time. The Book of Ceremonies stated an outline of the newly-established system of rites and rituals and was arranged in the following order: Part 1, The Rites and Rituals of Birth; Part 2, The Rites of Passage; Part 3, The Rites and Rituals of Matrimony; Part 4, The Rites and Rituals of a Funeral; Part 5, The Rites and Rituals of a Death Anniversary; Part 6, The Rites and Rituals of Funerals for the Persons of Merit; Part 7, The Protocols for the Four Commemorative Occasions; Part 8, The Rites and Rituals of Dharma Rank Advancement; and Part 9, The Rites and Rituals of Dharma Preaching. As for the Imperative Items for which the Congregants are to be Aware, the Summarized Report on Buddhadharma Research Society, and the Buddhist Service to be conducted by Buddhadharma Research Society, small handbooks were created with excerpts from the various Books.