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
3. Moving Forward with the Three Objectives of Edification and the Campaign to Advance the Dharma Status
Since Won-Buddhist year 48 (1963), prior to the commemorative conference to celebrate the half centennial anniversary of the founding of the Order, and in order to bring the 50 years` work to full fruition, the new Order established and promoted the three objectives of edification: to guide people into the Won-Buddhist faith, to increase the number of edification groups, and to establish affiliate temples. To increase the number of edification groups meant to urge all believers to carry out the Four Duties by further promoting the ten-member grouping system of administration and edification. Also, one edification group was to establish more than one new edification group. To establish affiliate temples meant to have one temple establish more than one new temple so that by having each temple set up new affiliate temples, the Great Path of Il-Won would be extended all around the country and the world.
By having the three objectives conducted as an annual program and awarding prizes after collecting statistical figures, successful results were produced every year starting from the first year. By Won-Buddhist year 56 (1971), 86,014 believers, 1,687 edification groups, and 108 temples were created. This marked a major turning point for the expansion of the Order`s religious influence prior to the 50 years` fruition conference.
Meanwhile, in October Won-Buddhist year 49, the Head Circle Council decided to confer 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] on Samsan Kim Kicheon and the title of Dae-Bong-Do [recipients of a dharma merit granted to ordained disciples] on Dosan Yi Dong-an, Sasan O Changgeon, Ilsan Yi Jaecheol, Gongsan Song Hyehwan, and Yuktawon Yi Dongjinhwa. In October the following year, Eungsan Yi Wancheol also received the title of Dae-Bong-Do. It was the new Order`s second conferment of dharma merit.
To insure genuine substantiality of the 50 years` fruition, Head Dharma Master Daesan advocated the campaign to advance the dharma statuses of all believers. With the Head Circle Council`s support, he began the preliminary dharma status assessment of all believers for five months starting from November, Won-Buddhist year 50 (1965). As a result, with the status of quasi-Jeong-Sa or above deferred, 124 people were evaluated as kyo-Jeong, 470 as quasi-Kyo-Jeong, 1,638 as Kyo-Seon, 2,824 as quasi-Kyo-Seon which totaled 5,056 people.
Since then, as a preparatory step to advancing dharma status, events were conducted such as special supplication, household enshrinement of the Il-Won-Sang, practicing the doctrines, implementing the doctrines, self-assessment, and assessment by the districts. The guidelines for dharma status assessment was adopted by the Head Circle Council in March Won-Buddhist year 55 (1970). By selecting people to take charge of the assessment by the districts and after a close examination, which was followed by the Head Circle Council`s review and the Head Dharma Master`s appraisal, the dharma statuses of all believers was determined to sum up the Order`s 50 year history on March 20th. As a result, with the status of Jeong-Sa or above deferred, 22 people were evaluated as quasi-Jeong-Sa, 503 as Kyo-Jeong, 826 as quasi-Kyo-Jeong, 3,167 as Kyo-Seon, 5,326 as quasi-Kyo-Seon, to make up the total number of people who were of the status quasi-Kyo-Seon or above and up to quasi-Jeong-Sa reach 9,844 out of 600,000 believers.
In September Won-Buddhist year 55 (1979), following the dharma status assessment, the believers` levels of ability to train in the doctrines was evaluated. This study was conducted in order to further improve the study environment through the believers` correct understanding of the doctrines and the promotion of practicing the faith. There was also an attempt to organize ordained clergy edification groups.