The History of Won


The History of Won-Buddhism (Wonbulgyo Kyosa)

Part 3. Fruition of the Sacred Work

Chapter 3. The Basis of the World of Il-Won Buddhism

2. Praying for the Prosperous Future of Won-Buddhism and Seeking Ways for Overseas Propagation

From January 27th, of the fortieth year of Won-Buddhism (1955), by the instruction of Head Dharma Master Chŏngsan, the grand prayer meetings, to entreat for world peace and a prosperous future for Won-Buddhism, began on a regular basis throughout the Order. Since the time of the Nine Members` supplication that resulted in dharma Confirmation, the new Order prayed for the happiness of humanity and a prosperous future for Won-Buddhism. Entreating for world peace was done during the course of a regular dharma meeting held on the first of every month. Upon receiving information that the World Conference of Believers of the Buddhist Faith, would start to meet for a grand prayer meeting to entreat for world peace on the day of the full moon of each month, the Order began to hold its grand prayer meeting on the same day as the world`s other Buddhist denominations did. This was done in order "to join our energies in this endeavor and thus to befit the Il-Won".
The regular grand prayer meetings that had continued for 17 months until May 14th of the forty-first year of Won- Buddhism (1956), was a grand-scale event, through which the new Order accumulated its energies prior to seeking ways for overseas propagation. At these meetings over 100,000 fellow believers participated.
In January Won-Buddhist year 40 (1955), the new Order sent Pak Gwangjeon, the dean of Won-kwang College, on an observation trip to the West to inspect the western religions, culture, and education, as well as to look for an opportunity to propagate the teachings of the Buddha overseas. At the meeting of the Association of Ordained Clergy that year, the pipal tree and the lotus were selected to be the tree and flower of the Order. That same year, Won-kwang College established the Won-Buddhism Research Society.
In October Won-Buddhist year 43 (1958), Doctor Richard A. Guard, an American Buddhist scholar and a special advisor to the Asia Foundation, visited the General Headquarters, and gave a lecture entitled "The Prospects for Korean Buddhism". Meanwhile in November, Pak Gwangjeon, was sent to the World Conference of Believers of the Buddhist Faith to represent the Order. The conference was held in Thailand. In November Won-Buddhist year 45 (1960), the Research Society for Overseas Propagation (with Pak Gwangjeon as the president) was inaugurated and was entrusted with the task of translating the Books of the Order. This task was undertaken by Jeongwhasa. Later, it was reorganized as the Research Institute of Overseas Propagation (with Jeon Palgeun as the director). In affiliation with Won-kwang College, it began to publish "Won-Buddhism", an English periodical aimed at overseas propagation.