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The Doctrinal Books of Won-Buddhism (Wonbulgyo Kyosŏ) _ First Edition(2016) / Third Printing(2018)


English Edition (First Edition, 2016 / Third Printing, 2018) / Pages: 1004 / Hardcover

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Won Symbol  DETAILS  Thin Line


The Scriptures of Won-Buddhism (Venerable Sotaesan)

The Dharma Discourses of Cardinal Master Chŏngsan (Venerable  Chŏngsan)

The Essential Scriptures of the Buddha and Patriarchs

* Tranlated by the Commitee for the Authorized Translations of Won Buddhist Scriptures


English Edition


Hardcover Binding, 1004 Pages


Department of International Affairs of Won Buddhist Headquarters


April, 2016 (First Edition) / December, 2018 (Third Printing)




5.2 (W) * 7.3 (H) * 1.6 (D), inches

Won Symbol  DESCRIPTION  Thin Line

The Principal Book of Won Buddhism :

The Principal Book of Won Buddhism is the Won Buddhist Canon. It is the primary scripture written by Founding Master Sotaesan. Within its pages the fundamental Won Buddhist teaching is elucidated in a simple and easy fashion.

The Scripture of The Founding Master :

The collected discourses of Sotaesan expound the Won Buddhist dharma in real situations so that it can be be applied in actual situations of daily life.

The Dharma Discourses of Cardinal Master Chŏngsan(Chŏngsan chongsa pŏbŏ) :

The Dharma Discourses of Cardinal Master Chŏngsan collects the teach- ings of Sot’aesan’s successor, Chŏngsan, the second prime dharma master of the Won-Buddhist order. The Discourses are broadly divided into two parts: the Canon of Secular Life, in ten chapters, and the Dharma Discourses proper, in fifteen chapters. The collected words of Chongsan show the way to attain blessings and wisdom in everyday life and how to realize Buddhahood.

The Essential Scriptures of the Buddha and Patriarchs :

The Essential Scriptures of the Buddha and Patriarchs(Pulcho yogyŏng) is an anthology of eight scriptures, treatises, and verses from the mainstream Buddhist tradition, which were especially influential in helping Sot’aesan interpret and frame his unique insights, insights that would eventually evolve into the doctrines of Won-Buddhism.



Won-Buddhism (Korean, Wŏnbulgyo) is a compound word that expresses truth, enlightenment, and teaching. Won(lit. “circle”) symbolizes ultimate truth. Bul(lit. “Buddha”) means the enlightenment to that truth, and Gyothe teaching of that truth. Therefore, Won-Buddhism is a religion that offers a path that leads people to become enlightened to a truth that can then be taught for the benefit of others.

In order to become enlightened to truth, Won-Buddhism teaches us how to use our minds [maŭm, sim]. Our lives and this world are all thought to be the manifestations of our minds, so knowing how to use our minds is key to leading happy and productive lives. Won-Buddhism also teaches the source of blessings and how to create them. That source is the Dharmakāya (Truth) Buddha, or the Fourfold Grace. All things are the manifestation of the Dharmakāya Buddha, and merits arise when we repay our debt to the Buddha and all things by showing gratitude. Won-Buddhism thus teaches how to integrate spiritual practice into our everyday lives.

Adherents of Won-Buddhism believe in, awake to, and practice the truth of Il-Won-Sang, the One Circle Image, which Won-Buddhism uses as the symbol of the Dharmakāya Buddha. Won-Buddhism sought to restructure the traditional teachings of mainstream Korean Buddhism in order to make them applicable to people of all walks of life, not simply to monks and nuns living ensconced in monasteries. After he attained enlightenment, the Founding Master of Won-Buddhism, Sot’aesan, Pak Chung-bin (18911943), became concerned about a world in which the human spirit was weakened and enslaved by the material. He proceeded to develop a new religion uniquely applicable to the needs of modern secular society. Consequently, Won– Buddhism was founded to lead all sentient beings, who are drowning in the sea of suffering, to a vast and immeasurable paradise by leading them through the gates of faith in a religion based on truth, and by training in a morality based on facts.

Sot’aesan, the Founding Master of Won– Buddhism, was born into a peasant family on May 5, 1891, in Yŏnggwang, South Chŏlla Province, (South) Korea. From the age of seven, he began to explore his deeply felt questions about the nature of the universe and human life. Following his initial aspiration to pursue the Way, he performed acts of asceticism for some twenty years without the guidance of a religious mentor. Finally, in 1916, he attained great enlightenment at the age of twenty-five, which is recognized as the first year of the Won-Buddhist Era. After studying widely the scriptures of all the various religions known in Korea at that time, he realized that Śākyamuni Buddha deserved to be recognized as the sage of sages. Identifying Śākyamuni and his teachings as his ‘original guide,’ Sot’aesan established the Society for the Study of the Buddhadharma (Pulpŏp Yŏn’guhoe), which later comes to be known as Won-Buddhism.

Won-Buddhism starts with Master Sot’aesan’s great enlightenment and aspires to guide the world toward a new kind of awakened civilization. In the Founding Master revised conception of the Buddha- dharma, the extraordinary material advancements that his era was experiencing would now be matched by a similarly profound strengthening of the spirit. As he said in the founding motto of Won-Buddhism:

With this Great Opening of matter,

Let there be a Great Opening of spirit.

As the leader of Won-Buddhism for twenty-eight years, during the dark historical period of the Japanese colonial occupation of Korea and World War II, he built a strong foundation for Won-Buddhism through the three main undertakings of the Order: edification, education, and charity.

On June 1, 1943, Sot’aesan entered into nirvāṇa at the age of fifty-three after he transmitted the verse of Truth to his disciples:

Being into nonbeing and nonbeing into being,

Turning and turningin the ultimate,

Being and nonbeing are both void,

Yet this void is complete.

His successor, Chŏngsan, Song Kyu (1900-1962). served as the second prime dharma master of theWon-Buddhist Order. He played a crucial role in systematizing the teachings and institutions of the new Order and in enhancing the reputation of Sot’aesan within contemporary religious circles. Chŏngsancollabo- rated with Sot’aesan and his followers in compiling the master’steachings and worked with the master’s early disciples to regularize Won-Buddhist practice, to establish the Won-Buddhist ecclesiastical organization, and to write the history of the new religious Order. Chŏngsan summarized his teachings using the rubric of theEthics of the Threefold Unity (Samdong yulli): the fundamental unity of all religious principles in the Il-Won(one circle); the interconnectedness of all human beings in the same vital force; and the oneness of all enterprises in their goal to make the world a better place to live. This rubric was so central to Chŏngsan’sinterpretation of Won-Buddhism that it constituted his deathbed teaching to his disciples.

Chŏngsan was, in turn, succeeded as prime dharma master by Taesan, Kim Taegŏ (19141988), Chwasan, Yi Kwangjŏng (b. 1936), and the current fifth prime dharma master, Kyŏngsan, Chang Ŭngch’ŏl (b. 1940).

Contents and English Translation of The Doctrinal Books of Won-Buddhism

The Doctrinal Books of Won-Buddhismis the major anthology of Won-Buddhism scriptural materials. It is comprised of four lengthy collections:

1. The Principal Book of Won-Buddhism(Wŏnbulgyo Chŏngjŏn).

2. The Scripture of the Founding Master (Taejonggyŏng).

3. The Dharma Discourses of Cardinal Master Chŏngsan(Chŏngsan chongsa pŏbŏ).

4. The Essential Scriptures of the Buddha and Patriarchs(Pulcho yogyŏng).

The contents of, and translation procedures adopted for, each of these collections follow.

1. The Principal Book of Won-Buddhism(Wŏnbulgyo Chŏngjŏnoffers a précis of the foundational doctrines and practices of Won-Buddhism as outlined by its founder, Sot’aesan.

2. The Scripture of the Founding Master (Taejonggyŏngis a collection of Sot’aesan’s instructions and discussions over the course of his twenty-eight-year teaching career.

The first English version of these two collections was published in 1981, and was followed in 1988 by a completely revised Second Edition, translated by the Reverend Chon Pal Khn. Each filled an urgent need of its day in disseminating Won-Buddhism throughout the world. Prime Dharma Master Chwasan, however, believed there was a need for a new English version that would more accurately render the meaning of the original texts and that could serve as a reference for future translations into other languages. In January, 1996, the 56th extraordinary session of the Supreme Dharma Council adopted ‘The Basic Guidelines for Translating the Scriptures into English,’ and subsequently the Committee for the Authorized Translation of the Chŏngjŏn into English was established. It held its first meeting in October, 1997, and, after examining the various extant versions, recommended a completely new rendering of the text. With the approval of the Prime Dharma Master’s Office and the chair of the Editorial Supervision Committee of the Supreme Dharma Council, the Committee then started work on this new translation. After three years of work, the result was the publication and first printing in May, 2001, of the Korean-English bilingual edition, The Principal Book ofWon-Buddhism.

It was then decided to continue on to undertake an entirely new translation of The Scripture of the Founding Master. After much preliminary work, collaborative sessions of the Committee for the Authorized Translation of the Taejonggyŏnginto English began in earnest in August, 2003. The committee completed its task in September, 2006.

The Committee for the Authorized Translation of these two texts went through some changes in its membership, but the following persons participated from beginning to end:

Robert Evans Buswell, Jr., distinguished professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and a specialist in Korean Buddhism;

Choi Hui-gong (Usan), professor (now emeritus) of mechanical engineering at Korea University and a senior lay minister of Won-Buddhism; and

Paik Nak-chung, professor (now emeritus) of English literature at Seoul National University and renowned literary critic and public intellectual;

Rev. Park Sŏng-gi(Yaksan), a Won-Buddhist minister who had previously taught at the Won Institute of Graduate Studies in Glenside, Pennsylvania.

Christina Lee Buswell, a Korean-American scholar of Korean religions who studied at Stony Brook University, Columbia University, and Dongguk University, joined the above four individuals to form the Committee for the Authorized Translation of the Taejonggyŏnginto English.

During its work on the Taejonggyŏng, the translation committee was assisted by Rev. Kim Hyoch’ŏl from the Department of International Affairs.

The translation procedure adopted by the respective committees was for Robert Buswell (in the case ofThe Principal Book of WonBuddhism) and Christina Lee Buswell and Robert Buswell (in the case of The Scripture of the Founding Master) to prepare working drafts of the translations. All the committee members then met together for extended sessions over several years, where they engaged in intensive deliberations and discussions of virtually every line of the text in order to arrive at the final renderings. The published translations continued to be reviewed by numerous persons, including elders of the WonBuddhist Order, officers of its International Department, scholars at the Institute for the Research and Translation of the Scriptures at Wonkwang University, professors at the WonInstitute of Graduate Studies in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and dedicated Western adherents of Won-Buddhism. This latest edition of these two texts therefore reflects this ongoing process of review and refinement.

3. The Dharma Discourses of Cardinal Master Chŏngsan(Chŏngsan chongsa pŏbŏcollects the teach- ings of Sot’aesan’s successor, Chŏngsan, the second prime dharma master of the Won-Buddhist order. The Discoursesare broadly divided into two parts: the Canon of Secular Life, in ten chapters, and the Dharma Discourses proper, in fifteen chapters.

The English translation of The Dharma Discourses of Cardinal Master Chŏngsanwas the product of over six years of work by the English Translation Team of the Committee for the Authorized Translation of Won-Buddhist Scriptures, which once again included Christina Lee Buswell;Robert Evans Buswell, Jr.; Choi Hui-gong (Usan); Paik Nak-chung; and Rev. Park Sŏng-gi(Yaksan). Work on this authorized translation began in September, 2009, and continued through November, 2015. Christina Lee Buswell and Robert Buswell prepared working drafts of the translation, which were checked and revised by all the committee members. The entire group then met together for extended sessions over several years in order to arrive at the final rendering. The translation team was assisted by Rev. Ryu Jungdo from the Department of International Affairs, the chief staff administrator of the project, who over the course of the committee’s work grew into a valued collaborator.

4. The Essential Scriptures of the Buddha and Patriarchs(Pulcho yogyŏngis an anthology of eight scriptures, treatises, and verses from the mainstream Buddhist tradition, which were especially influential in helping Sot’aesan interpret and frame his unique insights, insights that would eventually evolve into the doctrines of Won-Buddhism. All these texts are composed in literary Chinese and are either Chinese translations of earlier Indian Buddhist scriptures or original writings by Chinese and Korean authors associated with the Sŏn (Chinese, Chan; Japanese, Zen) tradition:

1. The Diamond Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra.

2. The Prajñāpāramitā Heart Sūtra.

3. The Sūtra in Forty-Two Sections.

4. Sūtra on the Five Types of Merit Enjoyed by the Sage.

5. Sūtra on the Differences in the Karmic Recompenses of Action.

6. Secrets on Cultivating the Mind.

7. Verses to the Ten Oxherding Pictures.

8. Text on Seated Meditation by the Master of Rest and Repose Hermitage.

Between February, 2015, and May, 2016, all eight texts were newly translated directly from the literary Chinese by Professor Robert E. Buswell, Jr. of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and the draft translations reviewed by Ms. Christina Lee Buswell, Professor Choi Hui-gong (Usan), Professor Paik Nak-chung, Rev. Park Sŏng-gi (Yaksan), and Rev. Ryu Jungdo. This is the first time this collection has been included in an English edition of Won-Buddhist materials.

Taken together, The Doctrinal Books of Won-Buddhismoffer an extensive set of scriptural materials regarding the teachings, practices, and institutions of the Won-Buddhist religion. Deriving as this new edition does from the unprecedented collaboration of experts in different fields under Fifth Prime Dharma Master Kyŏngsan’s steadfast support and drawing on the merit of innumerable persons, both lay and ordained, in Korea and abroad, this new authorized English translation should help Won-Buddhism fulfill its destiny as a major world religion.

Committee for the Authorized Translation of Won-Buddhist Scriptures

April 2016 (101 W.E.)

Won Symbol  ABOUT THE AUTHOR  Thin Line

Venerable Sotaesan, the Founding Master of Won Buddhism

Park, Joongbin (1891~1943), better known as Sotaesan, was born the son of peasants on May 5, 1891 in Korea. His spiritual journey started with questions about natural phenomenon and human relationships. His determination to find answers to these questions eventually led to his great awakening on April 28, 1916.

At the age of 26 on April 28, 1916, he attained enlightenment after twenty years of seeking the truth and declared: “All things are of a single body and nature; all dharmas are of a single root source. In this regard, the Way (Tao) that is free from arising nor ceasing and the principle of the retribution and response of cause and effect, being mutually grounded on each other, have formed a clear and rounded framework.”

He offered visions and hopes for a future society of popularized Buddhist practice and living, and he made efforts for practical application, popularization, and modernization of Buddha Dharma under the founding motto: “As material civilization develops, cultivate spiritual civilization accordingly.”

As the spiritual leader of Won Buddhism for 28 years, including the dark period of World War II, he built a strong spiritual and material foundation of Won Buddhism from the three main undertakings of the order: edification, education, and charity.

He lived as an enlightened sage and completed the basic doctrine of Il Won Sang, the Dharmakaya Buddha, the Fourfold Grace, and The Threefold Study.

On June 1, 1943, he entered into Nirvana at the age of 53 after he transmitted the verse of Truth to his disciples: “Being into nonbeing and nonbeing into being, Turning and turning— in the ultimate, Being and nonbeing are both void, yet this void is also complete.”


Venerable Chŏngsan

Venerable Chŏngsan (Song, Kyu, 1900~1962) was the second Head Dharma Master of Won Buddhism and the first successor of the Founding Master Sotaesan. He was viewed as the Dharma mother with great compassion in the Won Buddhist order. He contributed greatly to drafting the first doctrine.

He suggested the four visions and tried to realize them: the preparation of teaching material, the establishment of organizations, the cooperation of the state administration and religion, understanding the essentials and nourishing the root.

He often said, “Be a master of the new world through utilizing mind practice actively in everyday life.” He proclaimed and taught, “the Ethics of Triple Identity(Samdongyulli)” which means that the world is one family who are living under the one truth.  

The Dharma Words of Master Chŏngsan was published in 1972 (Won Buddhist era 57) as one of the Scriptures and read frequently by Won Buddhist along with The Scriptures of The Founding Master.

Won Symbol  CONTENTS  Thin Line

The Principal Book of Won-Buddhism

Part OneGeneral Introduction

Chapter One: The Founding Motive of the Teaching – 3

Chapter Two: An Out line of the Teaching – 3

Part Two: Doctrine

Chapter One: The Il-Won-Sang –  6

Chapter Two: The Fourfold Grace – 11

Chapter Three:The Four Essentials – 25

Chapter Four: The Threefold Study – 32

Chapter Five: The Eight Articles – 38

Chapter Six: The Essential Ways of Human Life and of Practice – 39

Chapter Seven: The Four Great Principles – 40

Part ThreePractice

Chapter One: The Essential Dharmas of Daily Practice – 42

Chapter Two: Fixed-Term Training and Daily Training – 43

Chapter Three: The Dharma of Reciting the Buddha’s Name –  48

Chapter Four: TheDharma of Seated Meditation – 52

Chapter Five: Essential ases for Questioning – 58

Chapter Six: The Dharma of Keeping Diary – 60

Chapter Seven: The Dharma of Timeless Sŏn – 63

Chapter Eight: The Instruction on Repentance – 67

Chapter Nine: Silent Declaration(Simgoand Formal Prayer(Kido) – 71

Chapter Ten: The Dharma of Making Buddha Offerings – 73

Chapter Eleven: The Precepts – 75

Chapter Twelve: The Essential Discourse on Commanding the Nature – 76

Chapter Thirteen: The First Dharma Words – 78

Chapter Fourteen: The Dharma Instruction on Suffering and Happiness – 81

Chapter Fifteen: An Ill Society and Its Treatment – 82

Chapter Sixteen: The Dharma of the Wholeness of Both Spirit and Flesh – 83

Chapter Seventeen: Stages of Dharma Rank – 84

. The Scripture of the Founding Master

Chapter One: Prefatory – 91

Chapter Two: Doctrine – 111

Chapter Three: Practice – 146

Chapter Four: The Way of Humanity – 198

Chapter Five: Cause and Effect – 240

Chapter Six: Doubts Clarified – 260

Chapter Seven: The Principle of the Nature – 290

Chapter Eight: Buddhahood – 304

Chapter Nine: Sending on Spirits in Transition – 322

Chapter Ten: Belief and Dedication – 349

Chapter Eleven: Maxims – 361

Chapter Twelve: Exemplary Acts – 373

Chapter Thirteen: On the Order – 399

Chapter Fourteen: Prospects – 435

Chapter Fifteen: Entrusting – 462


The Dharma Discourses of Cardinal Master Chŏngsan

. The Canon of Secular Life

Chapter One: Prolegomenon – 483

Chapter Two: Education – 484

Chapter Three: The Family – 489

Chapter Four: Religious Faith – 493

Chapter Five: Society – 495

Chapter Six: The Nation – 499

Chapter Seven: The World – 502

Chapter Eight: Repose – 503

Chapter Nine: Nirvāṇa – 506

Chapter Ten: General Conclusion – 510

. Dharma Discourses

Chapter One: His Affinities with the Founding Master – 515

Chapter Two: The Way of Propriety – 527

Chapter Three: On Korea’s National Prospects – 546

Chapter Four: Vision and Plans – 568

Chapter Five: Foundational Principles – 595

Chapter Six: Exposition of Scriptures – 625

Chapter Seven: Exhortations to Practiceof the Way – 666

Chapter Eight: Responses to Occasions – 694

Chapter Nine: Attending to the Fundamentals – 717

Chapter Ten: Being Assiduous and Sincere – 748

Chapter Eleven: Dharma Admonitions – 762

Chapter Twelve: The Way of Public-Spiritedness – 777

Chapter Thirteen: The Fortune of the Way –  810

Chapter Fourteen: Birth and Death – 832

Chapter Fifteen: Entrustments – 852

The Essential Scriptures of the Buddha and Patriarchs

. The Diamond Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra – 871

. The Prajñāpāramitā Heart Sūtra – 898

. The Sūtra in Forty-Two Sections – 900

. Sūtra on the Five Types of Merit Enjoyed by the Sage – 916

. Sūtra on the Differences in the Karmic Recompenses of Action – 920

. Secrets on Cultivating the Mind – 946

. Verses to the Ten Oxherding Pictures – 983

. Text on Seated Meditation by the Master of Rest and Repose Hermitage –  987

Homepage to The Scriptures of Won Buddhism :

The official multilingual webpage for the Scriptures of Won Buddhism. This webpage provides the officially approved versions or best translated versions of the six main scriptures of Won Buddhism in eleven languges.

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