The History of Won-Buddhism (Wonbulgyo Kyosa)
Part 3. Fruition of the Sacred Work
Chapter 5. The Fruits of A Half Century
6. Half Centennial Commemoration Conference
For six days from October 7th, of the fifty-sixth year of Won-Buddhism (1971), the new Order held the Half Centennial Commemoration Conference to reflect on the meaning of the fruit of the 50 years` work, which Sot`aesan had foreshadowed. On the 7th, the Conference, which had been held under the theme proposed by Head Dharma Master Daesan: "Truth is one, the world is one, humanity is of one family, the world is one place of work, let us build the World of Il-Won", proceeded with the exhibition of the articles left by Sot`aesan. This was followed by the ceremony to celebrate the completion of the Shrine of Eternal Commemoration, the memorial tablet enshrinement ceremony, the dedication ceremony, the unveiling of the sacred tower dedicated to Head Master Chŏngsan, and the eve of the Conference celebration. On the 8th, following the Half Centennial Memorial Hall completion ceremony and the Il-Won-Sang enshrinement ceremony, the Half Centennial Commemoration Ceremony was performed in the Won-kwang University Square.
The Ceremony was attended by leading figures in the three branches of the government, religious delegations, the press, and many religious persons from overseas, including the United States, China and Japan. Over 40,000 representatives of the believers from over 200 temples and organizations gathered. After both the opening address by the conference coordinator, Pak Gwangjeon, and the gratitude speech by Head Dharma Master Daesan, the progress report was given and prizes were awarded, followed by congratulatory addresses from the representatives of the political, religious, and overseas religious circles. The four conference resolutions proposed by the Chief Administrator, Yi Wunkwon, were adopted and cheers for Won-Buddhism were recited three times before the conference came to a close.
In the opening address, working towards a new Order for humanity and of humanity was emphasized. In the gratitude speech it was preached that the power of neutralization could be demonstrated through the threefold study the power of moral reform through the fourfold grace and the power of impartiality through practicing the four essentials. The four resolutions adopted in the conference were as follows: In the future, the new Order is to 1) become the host who will take the initiative in attaining world peace, recognizing all religions and the world`s humanity as one; 2) establish the world order through equality without a gap between the wealthy and the poor or racial or ethnic discrimination; 3) achieve a worldwide spiritual movement based on the traditional wisdom of the eternal race; 4) discuss the accommodation of all religions through international organizations of religious cooperation and make religion a part of people`s daily life through faith in a religion based on truth and training in morality based on facts.
After the commemoration ceremony, calisthenics were performed by a grand mass of students attending the middle and high schools operated and managed by the Order. This was followed by lectures on philosophy by scholars from all over the world (Appendix 32). Then, an art festival was held in celebration of the occasion. On the 9th, an athletic meeting and the doctrinal lecture meeting were conducted, followed by the general conference of the religious workers on the 10th, through which discussions were held with regard to the Order`s new directions. Nine resolutions of the religious workers were adopted. On the 12th, there was the unveiling of the sacred monument memorializing Sot`aesan`s great enlightenment. This had been Yi Kongju`s long-desired project that took place in the holy ground of Yeongsan. The Half Centennial Commemoration Conference that lasted for 6 days came to a close. Since then, Won-Buddhism has continued to march forward with new visions for the future, while keeping in mind the virtuous and memorable work of the great teachers and practitioners of the past.