The History of Won


The History of Won-Buddhism (Wonbulgyo Kyosa)

Part 3. Fruition of the Sacred Work

Chapter 5. The Fruits of A Half Century

1. Affirmation of the New Order and Preparations for the Half Century

From the very beginning, it was Sot`aesan`s intention to establish a new Order with its origin in the Buddha`s teaching and the doctrines of all other religions incorporated into its creed to create a harmonious religion. This purpose became clearer when the new Order promulgated "Won-Buddhism" as its official name in Won-Buddhist year 33 (1948), and stipulated in the Won-Buddhist Constitutuion that Sot`aesan was the founder. Through the outline of the Won-Buddhist teaching in the Principal Book, the new Book of Ceremonial, and the Sacred Monument dedicated to Sot`aesan, this purpose was further affirmed to the world.
However, while the Order was yet to be fully recognized by the country and society, the May Sixteenth Revolution broke out in Won-Buddhist year 46 (1961), after which the Order was required by decree to re-register all its institutions and organizations with the new government. In August, the following year, the revolutionary government enforced the Buddhist Property Management Statute (designed to end the factional rivalry among the Buddhist denominations) on the new Order, and demanded re-registration. Hence, the four members of the committee (Appendix 31) submitted a petition to the authorities concerning and directly arranging a compromise, thus making clear the new Order`s position. The result was that the Order was given a government reply based on the resolution by the Religious Deliberation Council, which ruled on November 22nd, of the forty-seventh year of Won-Buddhism (1962) that the "Won-Buddhist order is not an organization required to apply for the Buddhist Property Management Statute in view of the circumstances surrounding its establishment, its present situation, and its true nature." Moreover, in the government-issued document dated November, of the fifty-third year of Won-Buddhism (1968), the position of the new Order was again declared and made clear.
In October Won-Buddhist year 48 (1963), the Head Circle Council decided that the 55th anniversary celebration event would take place in Won-Buddhist year 56 (1971). At the meeting of the Administrative Committee that followed, 20 research committee members were selected to be entrusted with the task of outlining the work promotion program. In April Won-Buddhist year (1964), at the meeting of the General Assembly, the Half Centennial Commemoration Project Committee (with Pak Gwangjeong as the chairperson and Jeong Gwnaghun as the executive officer) was inaugurated. Its objectives included the construction of a memorial hall, the Shrine of Eternal Commemoration [Yeong-Mo-Jeon], the sacred tower dedicated to Head Dharma Master Chŏngsan, the expansion of the Shrine of Eternal Commemoration and the General Headquarters` sites, the expansion and solemnification of the sacred ground of Yeongsan, an English translation of the Won-Buddhist Scripture (The Principal Book of Won-Buddhism and Dae-Jong-Gyeong [the Analects of Sot`aesan]), the publication of the commemorative writings, and preparations for the commemorative events.
In April Won-Buddhist year 51 (1966), there was a partial reorganization of the executives of the Half Centennial Commemorative Project Committee (with Kim Jeongnam as the executive officer), and from Won-Buddhist year 54 (1969), the expansion of the Shrine of Eternal Commemoration and the General Headquarters` sites and the new construction of the Head Dharma Master`s office proceeded, followed by the construction of the Half Centennial Memorial Hall, the Shrine of Eternal commemoration [Yeong-Mo-Jeon], and the sacred tower dedicated to Head Dharma Master Chŏngsan. The editing of the Half Centennial Commemorative Writings and the English translation of the Won-Buddhist Scripture also followed. In April Won Buddhist year 55 (1970), the Administrative Committee added to its list of commemorative projects the construction of a memorial hall in Seoul. The construction began in October that year in Namhan River, but this created a lot of trials for all Won-Buddhists and a committee to control the situation was organized. In March Won-Buddhist year 56 (1971), the Administrative Committee and the Head Circle Council agreed to hold the commemoration conference in October of that year.