The History of Won


The History of Won-Buddhism (Wonbulgyo Kyosa)

Part 2. Founding of the Order

Chapter 5. Completion of the System of the Order

3. Establishing the Yu-Il Institute

On May 1st, Won-Buddhist year 31 (1946), the year following the country`s independence, the Yu-Il Institute (with Pak Jangsik as the director and Pak Gwangjeon as the deputy director) was established as the Order`s training branch for religious workers. From early on, Sot`aesan hoped to set up an organ specializing in educating and training the congregants to become religious workers and, thus established the Sŏn center at the General Headquarters and the learning center in Yeongsan. However, since these two institutions did not measure up to his expectations, in Won-Buddhist year 25, he tried in every possible way to establish the Yu-Il Institute within the General Headquarters, but was forced to put his plan on hold due to interference by the Japanese authorities. Six years later after the country`s liberation, Sot`aesan`s dying wishes were finally carried out.
The Yu-Il Institute began as a school that provided 3 years of secondary education and 3 years of specialized education, through courses on Won-Buddhism, which included the Principal Book. In addition, general education courses on Buddhism were offered concurrently. In its first year, 46 students, male and female enrolled, for secondary education and 34 students enrolled, male and female, for specialized education. Among them, 31 students received a scholarship from the Order.
Head Dharma Master Chŏngsan delivered a directive speech at the opening ceremony of the first school year: "Know the true meaning of "the one and only" and achieve the one and only objective, the one and only action, and the one and only outcome. The one and only objective is precisely the salvation of all sentient beings and the treatment of the world`s illnesses the one and only action is precisely selfless service to the public; the one and only outcome is precisely the construction of the World of Il-Won. Although at the moment, there are only a few small classrooms with a small number of students, in the days to come, numerous enlightened masters will be produced here which will amply redeem the world."
With this Yu-Il Institute as the parent body, the secondary section later developed into the Won-kwang Middle and High Schools for Boys and Girls and the specialized section, into the Won-kwang University.