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

4. Promulgation of "Won-Buddhism" and Its Constitution

With the country`s liberation, the General Headquarters tentatively decided to have the Order renamed "Won-Buddhism", and drafted anew its constitution while going through the legal formalities to register it as a nonprofit corporation. On January 16th, Won Buddhist year 32 (1947), the registration for Won-Buddhism as a nonprofit corporation (with Yu Heoil as the chairperson of the board of trustees), was authorized and at the general meeting in April, the new name of the Order was officially reported as well. For a year, the constitution was revamped and refined and on April 26th the following year (Won Buddhist year 33, 1948), the Won-Buddhist Constitution was officially passed at the general meeting. On the 27th, the promulgation ceremony for the Order`s new name was held in the great enlightenment hall at the General Headquarters, through which the new Order declared to the world its official name "Won-Buddhism".
Head Dharma Master Chŏngsan explained the meaning of the Order`s new name: "As Won (circle) is the root of all laws of the universe and, at the same time, the essence of all laws of the universe, all teachings of this Order are based on nothing other than Won. As "Buddha" means precisely "to awaken"and refers to the mind, no matter how complete the truth of Won may be and how myriad laws of the universe it may embrace, it would be nothing more than empty reason, if without the mind that awakens to truth. Therefore, the words, "won" and "Buddha", are inseparable, being of one truth."
Meanwhile, the promulgation of the Won-Buddhist Constitution, which consisted of 255 articles in 24 chapters drawn up in 2 parts, was an historical event, and through this the new Order--with its official name and the establishment of a new system--was reborn as a new religion, both in name and in reality. In Part 1, the Administration, which consisted of 138 articles in 15 chapters, formerly established the name of the Order to be Won-Buddhism; the principal object of worship to be the Il-Won-Sang the principal scripture to be the Principal Book of Won-Buddhism; and the leader of the Order to be the Head Dharma Master. It constituted the General Assembly as the highest voting body and the General Headquarters as the highest executive organ. The Board of Administration and the Board of Inspection were placed under the General Headquarters. The Board of Administration consisted of four departments: religious affairs, general affairs, industry, and finance. The Board of Inspection consisted of two departments: the auditing department and library. It also constituted the Head Circle Council as the highest advisory organ to the Head Dharma Master. In Part 2, The System, consisted of 9 chapters: Jeonmu-Chulshin (Ordained Disciples),GeoJin-ChulJin, HuiSa-Wi, Grades in Study, Grades in Work, Dharma Statuses, Fountainhead, Sworn-Families, and Supplementary Provisions. It also included the following provisions: "Determination of dharma statuses shall commence with Sot`aesan. Dharma statuses shall be calculated based on the number of years and each status is reckoned as 36 years" "The shrine of eternal commemoration shall be constructed" "The special memorial service before the shrine of eternal commemoration shall be performed twice a year."
The first General Assembly established through the new Constitution that the Head Dharma Master and the members of the Head Circle Council would remain in office until the year of the first commemorative general meeting. (April,Won- Buddhist year 38) Yu Heo-il was appointed the first Chief Administrator and O Changgeon was appointed as the first Director of the Judicial Bureau. The Chief Administrator automatically took the chair of the General Assembly.