The History of Won


The History of Won-Buddhism (Wonbulgyo Kyosa)

Part 2. Founding of the Order

Chapter 3. Forming the System of the Order

4. Enshrining the Il-Won-Sang [One-Circle Image] and Training the Kyo-Mu [Won-Buddhist Ministers]

In April Won-Buddhist year 20 (1935), the great enlightenment hall in the General Headquarters in Iksan was completed and in front of its altar, the Il-Won-Sang, (the symbol of the Truth Buddha), was formally enshrined. This marked another significant event through which the new Order established a system of faith and formalized a complete system of a religion. Although Sot`aesan introduced the importance of the Great Path of Il-Won, used words such as Wonki and Il-Won, drew the image of Il-Won, and consistently elaborated the system of belief that the fourfold grace was Il-Won, it was not until this enshrinement that he finally established the Il-Won-Sang as the object of faith.
Sot`aesan instructed the Il-Won-Sang to be enshrined at the altar of the Choryang Temple in September (Won- Buddhist year 21 [1936]), the Great Enlightenment Hall in Yeongsan and Sinheung Temple in December, and Yongsin Temple and Wonpyeong Temple in March (Won-Buddhist year 22 [1937]). Additionally, he also instructed the Il-Won-Sang to be enshrined at all other existing temples, while further elucidating the fundamental meaning of Il-Won through his dharma preaching and dharma instructions. At the winter regular training in November Won-Buddhist year 23 (1938), he formally established and promulgated the dharma of Il-Won-Sang enshrinement and issued the Il-Won-Sang Vow of Mind Buddha. By then, the Il-Won-Sang had become the object of faith and the model of practice and was considered the most fundamental tenet of the new Order. It was strongly encouraged that enshrinement take place, not only in temples, but also at the homes of the believers. The number of Il-Won-Sang enshrinements, in various parts of the country by Won-Buddhist year 25 (1940), reached 180 in households in 13 districts.
Meanwhile, on November 21st, Won-Buddhist year 23 (1938), a short-term training course for the ordained clergy (with Yu Heo-il as the director) was held for the first time, in which all ordained clergy from various districts gathered to the General Headquarters for 40 days of doctrinal training personally administered by Sot`aesan through his dharma preaching. It was the first training for the ordained clergy of the new Order. The increase in the number of temples since the founding of the Order entailed an increase in the number of ordained clergy, but the clergy at the time were dispatched to take charge of field edification without going through a certain period of training. This left the implementation of unified edification with much to be desired. It was then that the clergy understood the tenets anew and trained themselves with all the laws of the Order, through which a new framework for the systematized edification of the masses took shape.
In order to actively promote the implementation of each believer`s duty to propagate the new Order (which instructed each believer to undertake the task of guiding at least 9 non-believers to join the Order), the Propagation Department was established under the Department of Religious Affairs in Won- Buddhist year 21 (1936). This department encouraged the lay congregants to engage themselves in missionary activities. By the end of Won-Buddhist year 23 (1938), the number of believers who had faithfully carried out the duty of propagation reached 96 throughout the country, including Pak Sasihwa who led 364 non-believers to join the Order.