The History of Won


The History of Won-Buddhism (Wonbulgyo Kyosa)

Part 3. Fruition of the Sacred Work

Chapter 2. Establishment of the Institutions Working Toward the Objectives

2. Furtherance of Educative Work and the Won-kwang School Group

For 5 years since the establishment of the Yurim Institute, in the midst of undergoing many hardships, the new Order steadily acted to advance the status of Yurim Institute`s school of secondary grade to the status of a middle school, and the Institute`s school of special grade to that of a college. In June Won-Buddhist year 36 (1951), an authorization was obtained to establish Won-kwang Middle School in Iri, followed by an authorization to build Won-kwang College to the east of the General Headquarters, in September that same year. Pak Jangsik was appointed the first principal of the Middle School and Pak Kwangjeon, the first dean of the College. From Yeongsan Seminary, in the early days, through institutions at the General Headquarters and night schools at temples in various regions, which included the General Headquarters, to the national script training centers and Hakrim education after the country`s liberation, the educative work of the new Order developed into a full-fledged educative system that combined the founding spirit of the new Order and the educational philosophy to ultimately form the Won- kwang School Group.
Won-kwang College started out as a junior college specializing in Won-Buddhism, and was located inside the General Headquarters compound as part of the continuance of the sacred work of the first term, until the site for the school was secured. The construction of the school building was first launched in July Won-Buddhist year 37 (1952), and the school was raised to the status of a 4-year college specializing in Won-Buddhism and Korean literature in January Won- Buddhist year 38 (1953). This was followed by the completion of the first main building in March of that year and the completion of the library in Won-Buddhist year 39 (1954), to which the collection of books housed in the General Headquarters Library was relinquished. Thereafter, the establishment of new departments as well as extension work to the main building followed every year. In Won-Buddhist year 52 (1967), a graduate school was established, and in December Won-Buddhist year 56 (1971), the College was raised to the status of a university. Won-kwang University, not only contributed to society and the nation through university education, but it also produced numerous religious workers for the new Order through the department of Won-Buddhism. The Won-Buddhism Research Society and Research Institute of Religious Issues, the auxiliary organs of the University, made substantial contributions to the establishment of Won-Buddhist Studies of the new Order and a comparative study of Won-Buddhism and other religions.
The site for Won-kwang Middle School was secured in October of the thirty-seventh year of Won-Buddhism (1952), and the high school was established in February of Won- Buddhist year 39 (1954). In April of that year, the first school building was completed, followed by the second building in May Won-Buddhist year 40 (1955). In September of that year and in September of the following year, the extension works to the building were conducted, after which the school for girls was separately operated in April of the forty-second year of Won-Buddhism (1957). In June of Won-Buddhisty year 50 (1965), theconstruction of the third building began and in April of Won-Buddhist year 51 (1966), Jeong Gwanghun was appointed the school`s second principal.
Won-kwang Middle and High School for Girls opened in April of Won-Buddhist year 41 (1956), as a girls` institute (with Pak Jangsik as the director) affiliated with Won-kwang University. It first conducted its classes in the auditorium at Bohwawon in Iksan, but later relocated to Won-kwang Middle School in April of Won-Buddhist year 42 (1957), where it took in more female middle school students. In February Won-Buddhist year 45 (1969), it obtained authorization to establish a middle school and a vocational high school for girls, for which Jeong Seongsuk was appointed as the first principal. The financial support from Beop-Eun Foundation and various temples, secured the site and buildings, thus allowing the school to finally become independent.
The Won-kwang Institute was established, in Won-Buddhist year 37 (1952), as an affiliation of the Doyang District. It was transformed into the Doyang Civil Education High School, and then to the Haeryong Agricultural Technology School, which served as the basis for the establishment of the Haeryong Middle School as part of the Order`s half centennial commemorative work. The Won-kwang Civil Education High School was established as an educational institution inside Bohwawon in Iksan in Won-Buddhist year 40. This High School continued with the General Headquarters` tradition of night school, since the 20`s, and it also contributed substantially to the modernization of the General Headquarters and training of the religious workers.