The History of Won


The History of Won-Buddhism (Wonbulgyo Kyosa)

Part 3. Fruition of the Sacred Work

Chapter 1. Continuing the Sacred Work of Sot`aesan

2. Conference for the Continuance of the Sacred Work of the First Term

On April 26th, of the thirty-eighth year of Won-Buddhism (1953), the Conference for the Continuance of the Sacred Work of the First Term was held. Since the Conference was delayed for a year from its original date, for various reasons, it was a meaningful day of commemoration in which the achievements of the new Order during its first term were recognized and, at the same time, the start of the second term was celebrated. The Conference was held at the renovated Won-Kwang University Square. A central member of the Head Circle Council, Yu Heo-il, commenced the meeting with an opening address. There were over 5,000 congregants in attendance. This was followed by the Head Dharma Master`s address of appreciation, and a commemorative address by Yi Kongju, the president of the Association. The believers` records of performance in study and work during the first term were announced along with the presentation of report cards. Following the congratulatory addresses, by key political figures, three cheers for Won-Buddhism were exclaimed! On this joyous note the Conference came to a close.
That afternoon, for the very first time, the Orders of Lotus [Yeonhwa-Jang] were presented to Kim Yeongsin and Jo Jeonkwon in the first conferment ceremony. At the meeting of the General Assembly held the following day, Head Dharma Master Chŏngsan was reappointed and through the first general election, the reorganization of the membership to the Head Circle Council was conducted. Kim Daegeo was elected the Chief Administrator, and Yi Kongju was elected the Director of the Judicial Bureau, to whom the management of the Order in its second term was entrusted. That year, the Order decided that the years would be designated and recorded as "Wonki" (the Won-Buddhist Year). Furthermore the newly established ancestral memorial service [Dae-Jae] protocols were implemented. The sacred tower dedicated to Sot`aesan was erected. Thereby, the first series of projects to continue the sacred work of Sot`aesan, into which both the laity and the ordained put their hearts and souls, in spite of financial crisis during the War, came to an end.
As for the record of performance achieved by the believers in study and work as a whole, out of 1,754 congregants who attained quasi-grade 5 or above, 258 were Jeonmu-Chulshin and 1,496 were Keojin-Chuljin (non-clerical believers highly learned and exemplary in practice who have greatly contributed to the work of the Order). Among the 258 Jeonmu-Chulshin, 8 received quasi-special grade, 17 received first grade, 20 received quasi-grade 1, 6 received grade 2, 40 received quasi-grade 2, 28 received grade 3, 48 received quasi-grade 3, 31 received grade 4, 31 received quasi-grade 4, 10 received grade 5, 13 received quasi-grade 5, and 6 were reserved for further observation. Out of the 1,496 Keojin-Chuljin, 1 received quasi-special grade, 3 received grade 1, 6 received quasi-grade 1, 8 received grade 2, 16 received quasi-grade 2, 23 received grade 3, 78 received quasi-grade 3, 51 received grade 4, 179 received quasi-grade 4, 211 received grade 5, 881 received quasi-grade 5, 39 were given special recognition.
The Jeonmu-Chulshin who received quasi-special grade included Yi Kongju, Song Doseong, Kim Kwangseon, Kim Kicheon, Yi Dong-an, Yi Dongjinhwa, O Changgeon, and Yi Jaecheol. The Keojin-Chuljin who received quasi-special grade was Hwang Jeongsinhang. In terms of dharma title, those with the dharma title of Jeong-Sa or higher included Song Doseong, who had attained the title of Won-Jeong-Sa. Kim Kwangseon, Kim Kicheon, Yi Dong-an, O Changgeon, Yi Jaecheol, Pak Secheol, Yi Ineuhwa, and Seo Dongpung, also received the title of Jeong-Sa.
After a summary was given on the record of performance in study and work, Head Dharma Master Chŏngsan spoke: "Although much effort was put into ensuring fairness, how can we hope for everyone`s hidden merit in study and in work to be brought to full light? Therefore, those who leave genuine assessment up to truth, which knows no margin of error, and use the grades given this time around to set the standard in their own minds to further put forth their efforts into accumulating merits in the days to come, are our true brethren and genuine persons of high merit. The departed spirits who performed better than recognized by means of their ranks and grades will have a clear conscience when honored and memorialized in the shrine of eternal commemoration [Yeong-Mo-Jeon] in the future, while those who performed less than recognized will, no doubt, be ashamed to be undeservedly treated in such an honorable manner."