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

5. Constructing the Half Centennial Memorial Hall, the Shrine of Eternal Commemoration and the Sacred Tower Dedicated to Head Master Chŏngsan

In October Won-Buddhist year 56 (1971), prior to the Half Centennial Commemoration Conference, the Half Centennial Memorial Hall was completed. The Memorial Hall was equipped with the grand-sized Il-Won-Sang mounted on the front wall. A few rooms on the ground floor and the third floor were to be used for the order`s major events; the rooms were used as the offices for different departments.
Furthermore, the Shrine of Eternal Commemoration was also completed around this time. It had been 22 years since it was decreed by the Won-Buddhist Constitution. The Shrine of Eternal Commemoration, whose cornerstone had been laid below the pine forest in Yeongmo-Won (Won-Buddhism Memorial Park), had its memorial tablets positioned according to the specifications in the new Book of Ceremonial. In the main section, the tablet commemorating Sot`aesan was placed in the center of the top shelf and the tablet memorializing the spirits of those who had attained 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) was positioned in the center of the middle shelf. Placed directly to the left of the Jong-Sa tablet was the tablet representing the spirits of those who had attained the title of Dae-Bong-Do (recipients of a dharma merit granted to ordained disciples) and directly to the right, the tablet memorializing the spirits of those had received the title of Dae-Ho-Bup (recipients of a dharma merit granted to non-clerical believers). To the left of the Dae-Bong-Do tablet, the tablet representing the spirits of Jeonmu-Chulshin (ordained disciples) of all classes and that memorializing the spirits of regular ordained disciples were placed. To the right of the Dae-Ho-Bup tablet, the tablet commemorating the spirits of Keojin-Chuljin (non-clerical believers highly learned and exemplary in practice, who have greatly contributed to the work of the Order) of all classes and that memorializing the spirits of regular lay believers were positioned. In the left section, the tablet dedicated to all classes of Hee-Sa-Wui (status granted to the parents of the worthies with the dharma rank of Dharma Strong and Mara Defeated or higher) was placed on the upper shelf and that to ordinary parents and forefathers was positioned on the lower shelf. In the right section, the tablet for ancient sages was placed on the upper shelf and that for all living beings was placed on the lower shelf. Thereby, all sages and all living beings in the three worlds in the ten directions, with Sot`aesan and all the ancestors after him as the center, were collectively represented to be memorialized. At the time, the number of ancestors whose tablets were placed in the main section of the Shrine reached over 700.
Moreover, the sacred tower dedicated to Head Master Chŏngsan was erected next to the Shrine of Eternal Commemoration. The tower was constructed on top of a foundation platform made of granite. Three rectangular stones were placed in such a way that it created rectangular-shaped layers of stones. Inside are the remains of Head Master Chŏngsan. The inscriptions were engraved in the front and the back of the layers of stones, which was topped by the stone seat in the shape of lotus and the spherical stone. The remains of Head Master Chŏngsan, which had been temporarily placed in Songdae for 9 years since the Head Master`s passing, were finally enshrined inside the sacred tower.
The inscription on the Tower written by Head Dharma Master Daesan read: "When Head Master Chŏngsan was endlessly serving Sot`aesan and putting into practice the task of redeeming all sentient beings and healing the world, his faith was always firm and consistent while his aspiration and planning penetrated the whole universe. He carried on and manifested the Great Path, surmounting all the difficulties of his time, while embracing all living beings in his nurturing bosom of great loving-kindness and compassion, even in the midst of the panic-stricken world and its people. Toward the world which had been longing for a new order, he raised his voice high for the Great Way, leading to the construction of the World of Il-Won. To the generation of disciples to follow, who will admire and revere their forefathers unobtrusively, Sot`aesan is heaven and the sun while Head Master Chŏngsan is earth and the moon. Sot`aesan is our father who gave birth to our spirits, while Head Master Chŏngsan is our mother who raised our spirits."