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

4. Compilation of the Revised "Book of Ceremonial" and Exemplary Events

Fully realizing the necessity of creating an education program and revised protocols for the newly-developing Order from early on, Head Dharma Master Chŏngsan completed the manuscript for all three parts of the new "Book of Ceremonial" by September of the thirty-sixth year of Won- Buddhism (1951), and published a draft in July of the following year (Won-Buddhist year 37, [1952]).
The newly-compiled Book of Ceremonial consisted of Part 1: Protocols Governing Personal Conduct; Part 2: Protocols Governing Household Affairs, and Part 3: Protocols Governing the Affairs of the Order. Compared to the earlier version, the Protocols Governing Personal Conduct (which consisted of 19 chapters) now had additions such as the rites of the sixtieth birthday and those of Cheon-Do-Jae (Memorial Service for the Departed Spirit`s Journey into Nirvana). Therefore the Protocols Governing Household Affairs was revised and expanded. In Protocols Governing the Affairs of the Order, the rites of Bong-Bul (the enshrinement of Il-Won-Sang, the Dharmakaya Buddha), dharma meetings, Deuk-Do (initiation into the Way), Eun-Bup-Gyeol-Ui(pledging of sworn-family ties), Dae-Sa (inauguration and retirement of incoming and outgoing Head Dharma Masters), Bon-Go (dedication), special Supplication, celebration, Yeong-Mo-Jeon (Shrine of Eternal Commemoration), Dae-Jae (ancestral memorial service), and the Won-Buddhist tenets, were all new additions. Many other protocols were also modified.
In terms of ceremonial functions and etiquette to be observed, the Protocols Governing Personal Conduct became the essential dharma, in which all believers were to cultivate the way they carried themselves. By standardizing the dates of commemoration and the memorial tablets for the spirits of all the successive forefathers after Sot`aesan, the Dae-Jae protocols performed before Yeong-Mo-Jeon (Shrine of Eternal Commemoration) prescribed a joint ancestral memorial service. Hence, on the first day in June of the thirty-eighth year of Won-Buddhism (1953), by performing a summer Dae-Jae (ancestral memorial service) in a collective, the Order began its implementation of the new ancestral memorial service protocols. That afternoon, there was an unveiling of the sacred tower that was erected in dedication to Sot`aesan in Yeongmo-Won (Won-Buddhism Memorial Park).
The Head Dharma Master Chŏngsan wrote a monumental inscription which was engraved in the stone, and for the first time announced to the realm of Truth, the fact that the new Order was the religious order that would work towards the salvation of the new world and that Sot`aesan would be the great teacher of the new era. The last paragraph of the inscription reads: "Alas! The great sage, Sot`aesan was born and raised in a remote and poor village. Although Sot`aesan had no formal education, he attained the ability to understand the fundamental principles on his own; although he had no guidance from a teacher, he was enlightened to the Great Way. Although the country was in great confusion due to erroneous politics, he never hesitated to engage in work. When dealing with an obstinate sentient being, he was possessed of an all-round capability. Although his disposition was as steady as a rock, his compassion was as balmy as the spring weather; although he dealt with matters with broad-mindedness and composure, he was painstakingly attentive to details. While he had revised the old dharma, he further strengthened the great moral cause; while he corrected the wrongs of the time, he was without obstinacy. Although he combined myriad dharmas into one dharma, he clearly elucidated the distinctions. He applied the one truth to myriad dharmas, yet the essence of the one truth was always revealed. By inwardly basing himself on the principle of unsurpassed and marvelous truth and being outwardly conversant with even the branches of all affairs and all things, Sot`aesan opened up the three worlds in the ten directions to the righteous dharma, the Great Path of Il-Won. He is the Buddha of a billion incarnations and the embodiment of all buddhas and sages."
Meanwhile, in Won-Budddhist year 41 (1956), the new Order adopted the event originated by the monthly periodical Won-kwang in July of the previous year (1955). That day commemorated the day the nine original disciples of Sot`aesan left thumb prints of blood although none of their thumbs were cut. It was an event for celebration for the Order that later developed into Dharma Authentication Day, one of the Order`s four greatest occasions for celebration. In August that year (Won- Buddhist year 41 [1956]), the dharma of ancestral tablet arrangement before the Shrine of Eternal Commemoration was partially revised, through which the memorial tablet representing the spirits of those who had attained the title of Jong-Sa [Head Master, recipients of the status of beyond the household or higher in dharma rank or those who had been the Head Dharma Master] was placed in the middle of the shelves directly below Sot`aesan`s tablet. The tablet commemorating those who attained the title of Dae-Bong-Do [recipients of a dharma merit granted to ordained disciples] was positioned to the left of the Jong-Sa tablet and those with the title of Dae-Ho-Bup [recipients of a dharma merit granted to non-clerical believers] were placed to the right. At the general assembly meeting held in April 1957 (Won-Buddhist year 42), the first dharma merit conferment ceremony was performed, through which the Order conferred the title of Jong-Sa on Jusan Song Doseong, the title of Dae-Bong-Do on Palsan Kim Gwangseon and Gutawon Yi Kongju, and the title of Dae-Ho-Bup on Paltawon Hwang Jeongsinhang.
In his address of gratitude, Head Dharma Master Chŏngsan said: "I highly praise these four people, together with all those gathered here, for their performances deserve dharma merits in both study and work. They contributed largely to the development of the Order in its early years. I also believe and hope that all the believers, lay and ordained, male and female, will take this occasion to their hearts to infinitely produce for the Order a great many number of Jong-Sa, Dae-Bong-Do, and Dae-Ho-Bup.