The History of Won


The History of Won-Buddhism (Wonbulgyo Kyosa)

Part 3. Fruition of the Sacred Work

Chapter 4. Moving Forward with the Fruition of the Sacred Work

1. The Passing of Chŏngsan and the Succession of Daesan as the Head Dharma Master

Head Dharma Master Chŏngsan passed away on January 24th, Won-Buddhist year 47 (1962). For 19 years, he held three terms as Order`s Head Dharma Master, after succeeding Sot`aesan. During which time, he completed the organizational system of the Order, led the continuance of Sot`aesan`s sacred work, established institutions working toward the objectives, and thus, solidified the grounds for building the World of Il-Won. During his period as Head Dharma Master, there were many challenges such as the Japanese oppression, the chaotic state of affairs at the initial stage of the country`s founding, and the Order`s financial hardships. In his latter years, while Master Chŏngsan was recuperating from his illness, he applied all his energies to supervising the compilation of the Books of the Order until January of that year. On January 22nd, he taught the Three Principles of Ethics to the public. His memorable teaching is the transmission verse, "with unitary truth as within a single fence, as with one family within one household, as with co-workers at a single work site, let us construct the world Il-Won." After sharing this great teaching with posterity, Master Chŏngsan passed away on January 24th. He died at the age of sixty-three and lived a life as a Kyomunim for 45 years.
Immediately after Master Chŏngsan`s passing, the chief administrator, Yi Wancheol, temporarily took charge as the acting Head Dharma Master. He quickly called a joint meeting of the Head Circle Council and the executive officers. Master Chŏngsan`s dharma status was raised to the position of the Greatly Enlightened Tathagata. The funeral committee (with Pak Gwangjeon as the chairperson) was formed soon thereafter. On the morning of the 28th, the final farewell ceremony was performed at the Wonkwang University Square, followed by the cremation ceremony at Iri Crematorium. After which, the holy remains were stored in the General Headquarters. The mourners at the General Headquarters and throughout the provincial districts, simultaneously observed the commemoration ceremony [Bong-Do-Sik] as well as memorial services, the first through to the final, which were performed to pray for Head Dharma Master Chŏngsan`s entrance into Nirvana.
The meeting of the Head Circle Council was held after the funeral ceremonies on January 31st. Dharma Master Daesan Kim Daegeo, the male central member of the Head Circle Council at the time, was elected to be the succeeding Head Dharma Master. On February 23rd, through the General Assembly`s official procedure, the inauguration ceremony for the incoming Head Dharma Master was held in the great enlightenment hall at the General Headquarters.
Head Dharma Master Daesan was born in Jwapo-ri, Seongsu-myeon, Jinan-gun, in Jeolabuk-do on March 16th by the lunar calendar, in the year 2 before Won-Buddhism (1914). He was the oldest of the five children of Yeonsan Kim Ino and Bongtawon Ahn Kyeongsin. Since early childhood, others recognized his valiant spirit and magnanimous disposition, and predicted that he would become a man of great value. At age 11, he followed his grandmother to Manduk Mountain and became a devout believer in Sot`aesan. By age 16, he joined the Order, and studied at the General Headquarters for three years. During which time, he formed close father-and-son ties with Sot`aesan. For the following seven years, he successively filled the secretarial post at the departments of general affairs, cooperative association, public service, education, and religious affairs, while also serving Sot`aesan for 5 years as he would his father. From Won- Buddhist year (1937), he was successively appointed as the head of various departments, such as the Department of General Affairs, the Department of Religious Affairs, the Department of Inspection, and the head minister, doubling as the minister officiating the services at the General Headquarters. In Won-Buddhist year (1943), he became a member of the Head Circle Council through a by-election, and was appointed the head of the Seoul Branch Office of the General Headquarters in Won-Buddhist year 31 (1946). He then contributed to the development of the Order for the next three years. It was a tumultuous time fraught with difficulties immediately following the country`s liberation. Since his appointment as the head of the Seoul Branch Office, he arranged materials for the compliation of the Dae-Jong-Geong [The Analects of Sot`aesan], while regaining his health in places such as Wonpyeong, the General Headquarters, Jinyeong, Dadae and so forth. In Won-Budddhist year 37 (1952), he was elected the Center of the Head Circle Council and received the dharma title "Daesan". He was also elected as the Chief Administrator. In Won-Buddhist year 44 (1959), although he was elected as the director of theCentral Sŏn Center, he established the foundations for the Jeongkwanpyeong re-embankment and the development of the sacred ground, while recuperating in Yeongsan. From Won-Buddhist year 46, while drafting teaching materials in Haseom and Sindo, he was specially instructed, by Head Dharma Master Chŏngsan, to fill the post of the chief editor for Jeonghwasa, and following Chŏngsan`s demise, was elected to be the succeeding Head Dharma Master.
Meanwhile, at this time, each department of the General Headquarters underwent personnel changes, as the result of which, Pak Gwangjeon was elected to fill the position of the male central member of the Head Circle Council. Pak Jangsik was appointed as the Chief Administrator, and Yi Wancheol was appointed the Director of the Judicial Bureau. Mun Donghyeon was appointed the chairperson for the General Assembly.